Ruminations From the Western Slope

Ruminations From the Western Slope
Colorado River near Moab, Utah

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Last fall when I decided to develop a coping strategy to get me through the winter doldrums, I had no idea that I would be subjected to the seventh coldest winter in the history of the western slope. It began with a record-breaking snowfall on December 7 (a day that will live in weather infamy), followed by a brutal cold snap for ten more weeks and a stubborn inversion layer that stayed firmly ensconced in the Grand Valley.

What was my coping strategy, you might ask? In a nutshell, it was trip planning. I was determined to break away from winter’s grip in the early spring and head for the deserts of southern California. That involved a bit of research, lots of reading, and best of all, a chance to look longingly at lots of sunny photographs of dry, open terrain. I pored over all those evocative names like the Calico Mountains, Kelso Dunes, the Antelope Valley. And I charted out a course that would take me to places such as Valley of Fire, Afton Canyon, Saddleback Butte, the Carrizo Plain and, last but not least, Death Valley.

The colder it got outside, the more I perused my map collection inside. I read The California Deserts by Bruce M. Pavlik all the way through, and I looked back at my collection of desert slides and photographs. And, I must say, it did help a bit though I could never have anticipated how deeply this winter would hang in there.

Another important aspect of the journey for me is the fact that I am traveling solo. A chance to catch up on quiet time, be more reflective, and to concentrate on my photography. As I get older, it seems more important to be able to still be independent, camping out with just the basics, keeping a loose agenda, and seeing just where my comfort zone has moved to over the years. So I hope to challenge myself just a bit.

So here I am on the brink of departure. Yesterday it snowed here. Rain is expected through Thursday. I hit the road on Saturday. Through it all, I hope to write about the enlightening moments, and to photograph the sublime scenery of the southern deserts. So stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment