Moab in Early Spring

by | Apr 1, 2023 | Travel

  We were fortunate enough to get some blue sky and sunshine in red rock country down in Moab over the spring break.  It was breathtakingly gorgeous, impressive, and just what was needed.  We even took our shoes off and walked along the immense slick rock, as we grounded into the healing frequencies of the earth by placing our feet directly on her.  I joked about being like a spider that goes out to a point on the earth and shoots out a spinneret to catch the electromagnetic waves that flow across the earth, only to float far away.  I definitely felt like I tapped into some grounding frequencies while I was there.  We hiked throughout Arches national park in Devil’s Garden, Eye of the Whale and more while enjoying the many magnificent rock formations, contours, and striking arches.   Though we enjoyed it immensely, we know that Edward Abbey is rolling in his grave at the commercialization and crowds that populate the, would-be, solace of the deserts, especially at Arches National Park.  It is true that it was surprisingly crowded.  But not as crowded as it will be later in the warmer, peak season. 

   We also went to Fisher Towers, just beyond the Castle Rock area which is not in a national park, but busy non the less, though not quite as busy as Arches.  The rock at Fisher Towers is a rich chocolate color with fantastic spires that “tower” along the path.  It was early spring with just the beginnings of greening of grass, shrubs, and Ephedra.  These greening plants were dazzling as emeralds against the red rock and a sight for sore eyes longing for the green of spring!  I broke off a small segment of Ephedra and chewed it like a true desert cowgirl as I hiked along the red rock playground.

  We saw a headless goddess rock formation, but she was still beautiful and big as ever!  We also saw a couple of Mountain bluebirds and a jack rabbit with huge ears!   There was one point when we went off trail a little.  But on our return to the trail, we retraced our footsteps and walked directly in the places we had stepped previously to be as unobtrusive as possible on the natural terrain.

   I mostly noticed the sensual rolling rock formations sweeping the countryside on this journey, however I did manage to sketch a few desert plants as well.  Prickly pear, Pinyon pine, and yucca were frequent friends along the path.  I love the thick pads of prickly pear dotted with menacing spines that not only protect it from being eaten by thirsty wildlife, but also provide shade for the cactus and even trap air by reducing air flow around the cactus which breaks up air flow, therefore reduces evaporation.  The trapped air around it creates a buffer zone with slightly more moist air.

  Interestingly, the spines of the cactus, the shape of the needles of the pinyon, and the shape of the leaves of the yucca are all similarly slender and pointy.  Apparently, being slender and pointy has its place in the desert for the plant kingdom. 

  The Pinyon pine needles expertly reduce water loss through their shape as well as their waxy coating.  The toughness of the pine needle also deters animals from eating it.

  Yucca leaves are thick and have a waxy coating which also conserve water by reducing transpiration.  The leaves also direct any moisture from the environment down into the plant’s roots due to the angle and concave shape.

  Additionally, the yucca is loaded with linear fibers running up and down the length of the leaves, which when processed, can be used as rope, nets, baskets and more.

   We also walked along the mighty Colorado River surrounded by steep canyon walls and rolling along in murky shades of browns and greens. It is easy for me to respect something so magnificent as the Colorado River.  This is one of the most allocated rivers in the U.S. with seven states drawing water from it, along with the imposing dams which prevent the Colorado River from reaching the sea.  It is confusing to me how something so magnificent could ever be coerced, mistreated and disrespected to this degree.  Why would anyone ever think that they have a better idea of where to send a river and then to impose their will on the flow of a river?  Nature has been around for billions of years and has a lot to teach us about flow, patterns, cycles, and to integrate growth with development, while also creating conditions conducive to life.  Are we really going to argue with the wisdom of nature’s track record? 

   How can we tap into the wisdom of the river even when it comes to making decisions about how we plan to interact with it, allocate it, dam it, and use it?

   How can we transform our relationship with our rivers?