Frigid cold crept into my bag and under the collar of the down sweater I was sleeping in. I thought about wedging myself into my Trophy Husband’s bag. I was uninvited, but I knew I'd be welcome. I just couldn’t bring myself to emerge into the cold outside my bag even for a few seconds. I found my fleece hat and went back to sleep until daybreak.
We drank rapidly cooling coffee in the redrock dust and shadows of the canyon bottom and watched the east-facing rim for the first rays of light. From inside canyons, it always feels like sunrise lingers just above the cliff edge, waiting for the perfect moment to touch the rock.
Once it finally commits to that first caress, it washes down the walls quickly. Warmth takes longer to follow the light in winter.
After washing up with water that was a few degrees warmer than ice, we drove out of the canyon into warm sunshine and found a hike with nice views. Badlands and redrock, and desert colors and silence.
The landscape here reminds me of indigenous mythologies. And of the Mars research station not far from where we hiked.
After lunch, we drove some more and found a short, quiet stretch of asphalt to ride near Capitol Reef National Park. We chugged up the short 10% hill and found that the residents of Notom, UT have provided historical data. Including their own song!
The monoliths are anthropologically fascinating.
Here's the historical narrative with a nod to the non-specific Native Americans who left a shit-ton of their material culture for the pioneers to scatter/collect/discard/etc. I'm interested in how the "writings on the canyon walls and on large black basalt rocks" compare to the information on the Notom monoliths. Did they leave their songs too?
It's also interesting to consider why the Durfey clan decided that Notom needed monoliths (out in the middle of nowhere...) and chose what information to include. More significantly, what information to exclude. The notations of the LDS church offices reflect the importance this still holds in the local culture today.
Here's the Durfey lineage and list of family war veterans:
And the song! The tribalism totally cracks me up. They're very specific about who is a member of the Notom tribe. Great if you're from anywhere in Wayne County, but fuck you if you're from anywhere else:
I am Other, obviously, but not by much. My dad's family homesteaded just on the other side of the Wayne County line.
That's okay, Notom. I hear that you farmers in Wayne County are wasteful irrigators. They say you'll run culinary water on your crops all day long, even if they're already waterlogged.
(paraphrasing:) "Go down there to Wayne County, and you'll see 'em runnin' water all day. Why the ground's so wet it can't take any more water! But any day you go down to Loa, or Bicknell, they got them pumps a'runnin' as far as a man can see across the valley...."
On our way to Torrey, UT, where I want to live even though it's in Wayne County, we stopped in Capitol Reef National Park to watch a desert bighorn ram and chase the setting sun through Grand Wash. It was absolutely gorgeous. We began and ended the day in different desert canyons, and rode our bikes in between. Not a bad way to hang out together!