Above Navajo Lake

The gnarly bristlecone stands mighty on the rocky ledge beneath tremendous, galactic clouds. The clouds are merging into a great mother ship descending upon the high country. Beneath the ridge grow vast isolated groves of Aspen, patched with sprawling open meadows; the rest of the landscape is covered in old timber, and within certain areas, has been attacked by the bark beetle. If you visit places like Brian Head, twenty miles east, it looks like a cemetary of trees. Down the backside of this ridge, nestled in a small mountain valley is the natural forming, Navajo Lake. It?s a slender, long-tall lake and its waters are a green and turquoise blue. The lake is fed by natural springs, and is a result of recent volcanic activity. There are hundreds of acres of lava flows covering the top of Cedar Mountain, and they were active as recent as 1,100 years ago.There hasn?t been any activity since. Navajo Lake is one of the quietest and most peaceful spots in Southern Utah. There?s a trail that starts from the lake and comes up to the top of this ridge. I followed it up here this morning, and it heads to Cascade Falls about two miles from here. Cascade falls is a mysterious place. The cave where the water comes out loses more oxygen the further back you go.

It is peaceful and tranquil up here. Translucent clouds grow darker. There?s a few stray bolts of lightning. Thunder echoes off in the distance. The land below the ridge continues for 30 miles, all the way down to Zion?s National Park, and I can see the large sandstone towers in the top area of the park. Beyond them, I can see Mount Trumbell, clear off in the Arizona Strip Wilderness. The clouds are growing dark, and they are mystifying and beautiful. There?s nothing more powerful then a thunder storm passing over the high plateau.

The wind wails through the primitive needles of the bristlecone. It?s a torrent of mesmerizing sound, almost like a roaring river, but it is miraculous! Nature is quiet, but when the wild grows audibly loud, it becomes more quiet with mystery. There is feelings that the Earth creates that I cannot describe. There is an essence of beauty that I can never put down. This is one of my secret spots, where the pines can howl all day long. It is a place that I can find beauty away from the doghouse of civilization. My perception of civilization may somewhat be a delusion too, but I don?t see the wilderness as pristine, like some environmentalists would like to believe. This land has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years, maybe millions of years. I think of all the people that have gone before me, and their history is the most amazing part of this country. I think of the Southern Piaute, and their ancestors. I think of the Freemont and ?Anasazi???, or Puebloan Ancestors that lived in this country. When I visit an archeology site, or come across a rock art panel, I don?t forget to show respect. The human history of the land is so rich, and there is so much to learn about that I can barely understand it in its entirety. I’ve tried to imagine what life must of been like, ten thousand years before Columbus set foot in the so-called New World. The ancestors are still here, they are everywhere, because I never feel alone in the desert, or up in the mountains. The voice of the past is out here, in the sprawling hills, in the basin valleys, and everywhere in between!

I don?t want to go back to the city. I want to pitch a tent out here and become a recluse. The city is a strange place that makes me too comfortable, but separates me from the elements. Stay in the city too long, and you forget what the wild sounds like. The wilderness will outlast human creation. It was here before us and it will be here after we become extinct. The mountain is a refuge, and a true friend. Most of my human friends have come and gone with their own agendas. The wilderness has been a friend to lean upon, to depend on. It keeps me moving along. The only thing that stands between my wilderness and me, are those yahoos that destroy beauty.

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