Ranger Kathryn's Arches

August 17, 2012

Smoke, Accident, Buck

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 6:42 pm

Today’s theme: The trip you set out on may not be the one you get.

Wildfire smoke obscures our views lately in Canyonlands. This view is from the Green River Overlook.

When you come to Canyonlands National Park expecting to see canyon vistas, thick smoke is not a welcome sight. I feel an unsettling disorientation because our nearby mountain ranges are completely invisible. Wildfires in Idaho and northern California are to blame, and the particulars of the wind currents are carrying smoke directly to us. Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands is visited primarily for its panoramic grandeur, but visibility yesterday was the poorest I’ve seen in three years. No relief is in sight until next week; we absorb visitors’ disappointment and apologize for natural phenomena with a shrug and a compassionate smile.

The ambulance arrives from 36 miles away to transport an injured motorcycle rider.

When your rented Harley T-bones a car, you downgrade to an ambulance ride and your 3-week tour around the great Southwest takes a disappointing twist. I got on scene minutes after this collision and the unfortunate rider had a 3.5-inch gash in his forehead that laid it open to the bone, in addition to a turkey-egg lump on his head and a broken clavicle. (Yes, he knows a helmet would have spared him the 43 stitches and the egg.) He’ll be returning home with permanent souvenirs of a trip that changed in an eye-blink.
When a mule deer runs out in front of your rental car after sunset, and the legal 45 mph is too fast for you to stop, both its life and yours are changed in that moment. This poor fellow with velvety antlers had a couple broken legs and needed to be put down. Next day he was tossed over a huge cliff and left for a vulture feast. The visitors from Belgium were distressed, but unhurt.

Leave a comment about a time your trip contained a surprise event that changed everything.

In a roadside ditch, Mr Velvet’s last hour.

1 Comment »

  1. Ours was a suicidal deer which jumped straight out of a ditch into our path in Montana – not at dusk, full daylight. The good news was we were going fast enough that it died instantly, and popped up and over the roof after sliding most of the way across the roof; otherwise, we’d have had it through the windshield. The other good thing was that my husband kept the car straight and upright; the state trooper who arrived said most people automatically swerve and we would have overturned badly, given the layout of the road section. We got a rental car and had to move from camping to a hotel, while our car was patched up enough to get us home. While we were both OK, apart from some hysterics, etc., the impact (and being rear-ended in the new vehicle less than 2 months later) contributed to herniated neck disks a year later.

    Comment by Andrea — August 17, 2012 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

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