Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Behold! The Grandeur!

I went camping.

If you want to make my brain malfunction, tell me that this happened three months ago. Three months! That's a fiscal quarter. It feels like it's been a couple weeks is all. I only looked at these pictures for the first time a couple days ago. I cannot believe how fast time is going. If anyone knows a way to slow it down, let me know. I am being serious.

Anyway, camping. This was a weekend back in May. I grabbed a sleeping bag, filled up a satchel with underpants and Elin, Becky, and I loaded into my rugged Scion and headed for the deserts of Zion National Park. In the last ten years I've been camping exactly twice before this. 50% of those times were with Elin and Becky, so they're like, my camp buddies or something. I actually enjoy camping. I just never do it because of circumstances.

We got on the road quick and finally stopped in Beaver for a controversy-free Sit Down Breakfast at the El Bambi Cafe.

The El Bambi reminded me a lot of a cafe/truck stop in a small town. I felt like people there were looking at us. Maybe it was because my car didn't fit in.

Also I ordered "buckets and gravy" and the lady had to correct me and tell me they're called "biscuits and gravy." Like I know anything about such low-brow cuisine.

Outside of St. George is the ghost of a mining town called Silver Reef.

There's an old ore bin there where reefs of silver would reef along ever so reefingly.

Lots of un-mortared sandstone structures still stand among weeds and rusted equipment.

"Falling Junk" would have sounded weird.

Thing about Silver Reef is that brand new rich-guy houses are being built right up to the edge of it. Like this one with the weird princess tower.

Zion is one of the five great National Parks in the state. I've never been before. I was completely unprepared for how amazing it would be.

I can't stress this enough: Zion is an awe-inspiring wonder. As soon as I got into the park my jaw slackened and my eyeballs got hit by lightning.

I'm probably the last person in Utah to have visited Zion, but on the off chance you haven't been, go there, now. Or wait until the weather cools down.

After quickly setting up our tent, we went for a hike.

Hiking can be very dangerous. For one thing, you could fall. Worse than that, you could look really foolish when falling. Worse still, coins could come out of your ass.

It's deserty and also woodsy so you can't lose.

The sandstone mountains stand tall in a way that my feeble mind couldn't even comprehend, vanishing into the sky.
Near the top of one of the trails it was time for one of my much sought after lectures on grandeur, and how you should sometimes turn off your ipod and listen to the sounds of nature. If you ever get the opportunity to hear one of these lectures you should jump at the chance.

There are many places where water literally falls down a mountain. I think Zion is the only place where this happens.

I took a dip in this pond. It was shallow so I had to do a lot of rolling around in order to get fully damp.

More falling water.

A woman shouted to her children, "this is like Disneyland!" I think it's better than Disneyland, because it's actual.

I bet Elin and Becky were glad to have me along, so they could take all in and really understand the grandeur. Unlike past times they may have been, where they probably thought "It's like Disneyland."

I'm weirded out by deers. I don't know what they are. Horses? Rabbits? Walking Kangaroos?

A river.

I think I was most stunned by The Court of the Patriarchs.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
This led to an Old Testament Q&A with the girls that eventually led to my conversion to Judaism.

I was being kind of a brat about having to watch the Jazz/Lakers playoff game so we went into the town of Springdale and found a sports bar overrun with fat hockey fans. I don't want to talk about the result of the Jazz game. It still hurts. Then we wandered Springdale for a while. O, the times we had!

The next morning we shook the rocks from our underpants and packed up the tent.

Okay fine, our tent was a hotel. A nice one.

One more hike before heading back.

Running parallel to this is the Watching the Watchman Trail.

I'm not completely certain, but I think we went to the very top of that mountain.

Depth perception is messed up here but I wanted to show how far we've come. On this trail, and in life.

The Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel connects the West and East sections of the park. It's over a mile long and looks like this inside.

When you get to the other side of the park everything looks completely different. Much more wavy and dune-like. Yellow, instead of red.

Then back through the tunnel because you have to get home in time for Mother's Day Dinner.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Have you seen my wife, Mr. Jones?


We'll get to it in a minute. So, I've been bad at blogging this year. Are blogs out? I kind of think blogs are out. It's all about twitter and facebook these days. Quick hits. Cobra strikes. Kapow!

But I'm still taking lots of pictures, because if I don't take lots of pictures it's like nothing ever really happened. Oh the places I've been! I have a huge backlog of blogworthy adventures that I've got to get to. So now for the good news.

I don't have a job!

Wait, that's terrible news. Really bad news. Really bad. Scary. Do you have one? If so, do you have a spare? I could use it.

Point is, I have free time so maybe I'll blog some more often. Or maybe I won't. I said that last time I was jobless, and it didn't really happen. So who can you trust? That's a rhetorical question.

So have you been thinking about that picture above? Did you guess that it's a woolly mammoth? If you did, you're right.

This is at the Fairview Museum, in Fairview, Utah, which is down in Sanpete County which might be the best county. It's better than Juab, and way better than Utah County, obviously. Actually I think most of my readers are in Utah County. Utah County is great!

If I remember the story right, someone was bulldozing around a lake and moved some sand around and then beheld this Woolly Mammoth skeleton. These things are tusky. I bet it would be pretty scary to run into one.

The Fairview Museum is a catch all. You've got that mammoth, and then you've got this tiger sculpture.

And then all manner of stuffed things. Like people.

I just noticed that the guy is wearing a Frito-Lay hat. That's funny.

Also stuffed birds.

And stuffed critters.

The nice ladies that volunteer there were working on a quilt. One of them won the National Museum Volunteer of the Year Award in 1993.

This picture was taken from the second floor, the art gallery. Most artists there worked in the medium of "Abraham Lincoln."

There's a second building with less dead creatures and more art and historical stuff and junk.

I think this was sculpted by one of the famous Utah sculptors. Maybe Avard Fairbanks? Mahonri Young? Maybe it was neither of them.

More death imagery.

There was a room dedicated to miniatures, and they were actually pretty impressive. Way better than the "under the sea" diorama I did in 4th grade.

There were also a lot of maxiatures. Mannequins and life-sized scenes depicting... old times.

Suggested tattoos.
Primitive robot head.

Some sort of political statement?

One of the things I liked the most were all the old photographs collected at the museum. This one is interesting because I think that kid is too young to manage a baseball team. Must be one of those stat geeks.

A long drive through a desolate canyon would take us into Carbon County and the lost city of Scofield.

Strange thing is it's really not that desolate, but on that Saturday in April it felt like the loneliest road in America. There are a few summer camps and recreation spots up there and evidence that people still work there, but it really felt like the middle of nowhere.

Coal mining is still a big deal apparently, despite... the incident.

The fields were covered in impossibly bright and pristine snow. It felt like the birthplace of grandeur.

Aside from the Desert Pirate encampment near Delta, this is the eeriest ghost-ish town I've ever been too.

Everything was broken and even the party ice didn't make me want to party.

The weird thing, there's a still evidence of life in Scofield. Many houses had new trucks in the driveway and satellite dishes on the roof. But we didn't see a single human or any movement the whole time we were there. Were they peering at us through shuttered windows?

Scofield is the kind of place where if you have garbage, just leave it there.

Finally, FINALLY, the Mayor of Scofield came out to greet us.

So here's what happened. May 1, 1900, 10:28am. One spark, 199 lives extinguished. The coal mine known as Winter Quarters #4 exploded, killing 100 men instantly. The other 99 died in the toxic gas cloud that filled the air after the blast. At the time, the worst coal mining disaster in U.S. history.

Most of them are buried in the Scofield cemetery, marked by matching wooden headstones.

Anyway, fun! Let's go get pizza.