Yesterday’s ride still etched in the brain. The raw desolation of it. I’ve never met a lonelier place. The sheer emptiness of all that land. Rock mountains and endless fields of brush. Dry, empty, empty land. Not one tree for a hindred miles. And these rock hard mountains, indifferent to the travails of the little humans scratching by far below.

Oh the things we’ve seen. Huge mountains, flat angled tops, sailing across infinite valleys. We crest a rise and see before us the long and straight road stretching clear across the next valley, mountains corralling us Westward.

Finally we reach the end of that endless valley, crest another rise and the cliched road appears again stretching across yet another valley of sage brush and dust dry dirt, stretching until it disappears into a point at the limits of our vision.

It’s horrifying, this desperate, desolate place. Five days walk to anywhere. I twist the throttle harder, to try to outrun the void. Is this what I dream if? Is this my fantasy of wilderness come true? I pine for humanity, for any signs of human life in this other world. I am innards uneasy in this foreign and hostile land. But then again I might could get used to it. Settle in to that’s shoulder of that red rock mountain until the sen e is common and true. As I think on it today I want to go back. To try again. To camp smack in the middle of that stretch of emptiness. Sixty miles from any man. I recall gazing ahead across yet another endless valley to a mountain unlike the others. It was brilliant white, limestone perhaps, naked to its peak save one line of pines across its nose, so that it appeared as if the captain’s helm aboard a great land ship. And adding to the bizarre scene was the land that rose in front of the white mountain and then dropped off behind. As if we were reaching The edge of the world. On the other side if that rise, beyond he gleaming mountain anything seemed possible. A great shear wall and then nothing but sky below. The mythical edge of the earth. On a gleaming city miles below I stopped to comprehend what k was seeing. Samantha sped ahead and I was left there, alone. And that’s when it hit me, the shear desolation of this place. A wholly unfamiliar landscape. I felt uneasy, lost, overwhelmed by it’s majesty and it’s foreignness. It was as if all of my fears, the specter of loneliness, the inevitable death were realized in this landscape. This one place emitted my sours and nighttime horrors in it’s barren rock castle crags, and dusty death dry basins.

I restarted the bike and held her wide open, blasting across the emptiness to rejoin Samantha happily motoring across the valley floor. Pig tips flying, the cheerful fat round rubber of her back tire like a balloon bouncing her long the sun soaked road.

We pulled over for a lunch of raisins and pumpkin seeds. She sat on a lone rock and I sat between her legs. She giggled and fed me raising while dropping pumpkin seeds in my hair. We were in the middle d a vast and empty basin. It was silent, there was a little chill to the air. “Just forty miles to go,” she said. Soon we woul be in baker. A two block town on the edge of nowhere and the gateway to the Great Basin National Park.

That night we discovered the T & D Restaurant and drank whiskey with a bearded and bespectacled Alan, director of the Honor’s Profeam at a Utah University and his Copernicus director of the outdoor’s program. They were planning a trip to the park. We swapped sailing storied and they wanted to hear all about out adventure. Alan said he loved the desert and planned to walk across it, which I think more noble an honest than riding a dirtbike across it and said so.

Afterwards we rode around the abandoned town and took some firewood from a pile and left $5.00 in the metal pipe and went back to our campsite for a roaring fire and two leftover coronas we carted from Kanosh.

We snuggled by the warm blaze and chatted too loudly about nothing until the fire flickered and we crawled in to our warm tent. Another day done on the miraculous Trans America Trail.











2 thoughts on “Desolation On The Open Range

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