The stone that sits up on the very top of the mountain’s mighty face
does it think that it’s more important than the stones that forms the base.
Birthday Girl (Em), No Pants Bandit (Anne), Crypto (Proctor), and I Tetris style packed the back of NPBs Jeep, Snow White, and drove West, chasing the sunset. We bid farewell to our Confectioner Sugared Peaks and descended through the layers of earth.
We witnessed the story of Time, and it was awesome. I was awed at how the rocks changed, melding, layering, each giving way to the next. Sometimes I-70 was buttressed by two very distinct masses. Jagged silver grey meets smooth matted brown. Through blasted tunnels, down to where the flat lands were cracked and pushed up against and away from one another. A thousand feet high, Walls of fluted cliff and sediment created a pipe organ on which prairie winds hum their tune.
We descended into the earth, into Glenwood Canyon. Down here the rock was crushed by the weight of all that was above it, fractured into perfect, dark bricks. The sunlight left us and desert spaces yawned in barren darkness. We pulled into Moab, UT and Crypto navigated us down a back canyon along the Colorado River.
The Big Trees is how you know you’ve arrived at Moonflower Canyon Campground. Road weary we loaded up gear and followed a wide, dry stream-bed past the light of campfires. At the very back of the canyon, we set up camp. Not a tactically strategic situation should zombies or Guerillas attack but hey, this is America and we were tired.
The next morning we explored our new habitat. Some scrambling, cliff hugging, prayer whispering, and we were in the seat of the chair, if you will. The cliff above still blocked the sun, a sheer face swooped into the Sandpaper smooth rock flows where we stood. And that melted over the ledge below us. The drop brought distant formations forward, an optical lasso.
The face of this rock changes constantly and slowly, recreates itself. The ecology of the area is delicate so we were careful on the shallow sandpits which cultivated tiny life. Lizards, disguised as sun bleached branches scampered across aged cones of Cryptobiotica. Intricate waterflow patterns weave and swirl across the broad rock surfaces, maintained by the demanding hand of exposure.
The bare rock face called and we answered. Circling around above camp, we hoped to follow the horseshoe cleft and drop down off the other side. Deep in the curve of the back wall, we discovered a natural amphitheater. Box seats had been hollowed into the walls and we shouted exchanges with our selves who were up behind the boulder. Or across the canyon, or down below. Distinct sentences would come back around those ancient walls and I wondered what other secrets have rounded that curve across the eons.
We came out to the far end of the horseshoe, into the sunlight where the wide river flowed below, miles stretched and a toy size Dr. Seuss land of rocks cavorted in the distance. Unfortunately we got cliffed out and had to come all the way back around to descend.
What to do with the afternoon? Visit the Arches of course.