Ranger Kathryn's Arches

October 4, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 10:39 pm
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Having just unloaded my life’s belongings into my new house, girlfriend Lauren and I headed to the canyon rim on a 3.6-mile hike. I was grateful for her help moving, as I was recovering from a viral illness and didn’t have all my strength back yet. No matter how minimalist one is, suitcases and boxes still get heavy.

In the 40 minutes it took to reach Murphy Point, we tackled a wide range of pertinent topics: grad school, love, job searches, personal idiosyncrasies, future dreams, and why men are the way they are. The last was the easiest.

Looking down a couple thousand feet from the mesa top at Island in the Sky District, Canyonlands NP

Of a sudden, without warning, we found ourselves standing at the precipice. A gouge in the earth stepped down a thousand feet to the handsome White Rim, then another thousand to the Green River. Two mountain ranges, the Abajos and the Henrys, presented themselves for our orientation and delight. Not a sound — and I mean not a single sound — distracted us.

In the effortless understanding between good friends, there was no need to talk. The magnificent vista commanded all our senses. Sprawled on the October-warmed rock for an extended time, Lauren eventually found simple/profound words to break the silence: “It’s calming.” Her summation confirmed the wellspring of peace that I felt last year at Canyonlands. Wide open spaces, horizons eighty miles rather than four miles off, big views… these calm the savage beast, the tumultuous mind, the searching heart.

I am glad to be back.

October 2, 2011

Arches 249 signing off

I’ve grown quite attached to my NPS ‘family’ here at Arches National Park, and am especially fond of doing the Fiery Furnace tours a few times weekly, but the time has come to move up to the Canyonlands National Park mesa-top. I’m closing the Arches chapter tantalized by sweet memories of my summer at Island in the Sky District (Canyonlands) last year. There will be some notable changes in my routine as I gain the extra couple thousand feet of elevation tomorrow.

I foresee quietness. Sleeping under the stars. Freedom from train/semi sounds. Isolation — 45 minutes from anywhere. Fewer visitors. Fewer staff. Bigger sunsets. Autumn arriving sooner than down in the valley. Solitude. Lots of books getting read. And…

…lack of cell phone service. For better or worse, AT&T towers don’t operate up there. This may delightfully deepen my contemplative tendencies.

... for this one. How can I lose?!?

Trading this national park...

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