Posted by: lornasass | May 26, 2009

UTAH UP CLOSE: TREE BARKS

The Sweetie and I are just back from 9 days in Utah, traveling from Logan where I taught three pressure cooking classes at Love to Cook, a store that made me want to buy every kitchen gadget ever invented.  We then headed down south through Capitol Reef to Bryce and Zion, clocking over 1,000 miles by the time we took the red-eye out of Las Vegas.

I took over 1,000 photos, more than 1 for each mile we drove.  I had hoped to blog daily from the road but we had difficulty getting fast internet connections, and I’m now trying to figure out how to convey the huge and astonishing beauty we witnessed.

Yes, there are some ugly strip malls and the usual round of fast-food restaurants.  In fact, it’s pretty hard to eat healthfully in that state.  But my overwhelming feeling is gratitude and relief that there are still vast stretches of pristine, protected land as far as the eye can see. I did my best to capture some of the huge mountains, canyons, and mesas for which Utah is famous, but will start by sharing a few close-ups of tree barks that caught my eye.

First an observation from DESERT SOLITAIRE by the great writer and conservationist Edward Abbey, describing what he experienced in Utah’s Arches National Park:

The odor of burning juniper is the sweetest fragrance on the face of the earth, in my honest judgment; I doubt if all the smoking censers of Dante’s paradise could equal it. One breath of juniper smoke, like the perfume of sagebrush after rain, evokes in magical catalysis, like certain music, the space and light  and clarity and piercing strangeness of the American West.  Long may it burn.

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