Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 3: Baker to Zion NP (#4)

Day 3: Baker to Zion NP (#4)

Big cities are chaotic. And chaos for humans - who have experience from their ancestors - is the last step before conflict. So, in the park, every kind of visual contradiction has been eliminated.
John Hench

Pictures: Baker sunrise, Kolob Canyon: Taylor Creak Hike

For those of you pining for desolate beauty, the Silver Jack Motel, café, various lots in Baker, can all be yours for $250k and assumption of loans (amount not indicated in the flyer). Negotiate, this guy used to live in SF and must be pretty desperate to get his old life back by now, after 6+ years in Baker.

Breakfast: Blue Chair Red raspberry/strawberry ($12 at bay area farmers market, and from this morning’s toast with coffee – made in the room – worth it). Followed by Grape Nuts (the Safeway private label Crunchy Nuts, for accuracy purposes) and apples.

Book Review: Nicholson Baker, The Anthologist, a novel, available in Kindle edition. First person narrative of a poetry (and poet) wonk who is having a mid-life crisis. Insights to the grammar of poetry and summary review of famous (and not-so famous) poets of the last 150 years. Fascinating if you know a little about poetry and poets (that’s me, emphasis on little), and about average on the mid-life crisis. If you know a lot about poetry grammar, could be the only fiction book that ever touches on your depth of knowledge!

Today we gain by THB’s inadequate planning. This is NOT a 6.5 hour drive from Baker to Zion NP, it is really only 3 hours to the northern part of Zion, Kolob Canyon, and even with forgetting that we lose an hour crossing into Utah (basically, 3 minutes after leaving Baker), we are at Zion at noon. Thus we decide to hike today, formerly known as an off day, and head out on the Taylor Creek hike.

Okay, now we’re in deep, really deep. THB can no longer describe with any degree of accuracy the immense beauty and physicality of the surroundings. The pictures we take ain’t professional, the’re just shots we find fascinating while touring or hiking. You, I guarantee it, can do better with a few seconds of searching the world-wide-web.

So, we come to a decision: no pics unless we’re there and somehow interacting (i.e., hiking). You’ll have to take our word for it (THB’s word), it is worth a detour. Plan and execute your plan. Now…

And, the picture of the two of yesterday and today just happened to be at the turnaround point of the hikes. The money shot, where other people are around congratulating each other for getting here.

Back to the hike: lunch briefly at beginning on leftovers (free!) and DB has her fave: PB&BlueChairJam and banana. This hike crosses back and forth, back and forth, back and forth over Taylor Creek (a trickle) and heads up between two immense red cliffs of Kolob Canyon. We found this hike through one of the three volumes of Photographing the Southwest by Laurent Martres (another reco of a friend who advised us that this guy not only took great pictures, he tells you how to get there to see the great sights/sites even if you don’t take pictures!).

It’s hot (80+), some of the trail is sandy, and on the way in you get non-stop immensity of grandeur and beauty. On the way out your back is to the scenery, it is downhill, and you go out faster. Totals: 6 miles (always round up) and about 3.5 hours (always round down). Then you finish the vista viewing by driving another 4 miles up the road to something overwhelming: giant red rock canyon cliffs.

Another hour and we’re in the Zion most people know, one night at the lodge (we’re staying three nights outside the park at another recommended spot, the Desert Pearl). An early dinner of talipia, veggies with beans and rice, beer, wine, a drink, salad bar, gazpacho, $73.

210 miles in the car, and a thousand years ago when we must have been in Zion, we’ve forgotten how impressive this place is.

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