“…I can foresee myself returning here for season after season, year after year, indefinitely.” –Edward Abbey, in Desert Solitaire
You’re either a re-visitor, or you’re not. Edward Abbey was a re-visitor. He returned to Utah’s deserts season after season to work as a park ranger at Arches National Monument, before it turned into “Arches Natural Money-mint,” as Abbey calls it in his Desert Solitaire polemic on industrial tourism. I’m a re-visitor, too, meaning that every once in a while a place gets stuck in my consciousness, and then I dream of returning to it again, and again, and again. There’s Trof, my favorite diner in Manchester, England. Otto, my favorite pizza joint where I hang out with my sister in New York City. Mount Sanitas, my favorite hike/trail run in Boulder. MBC, my favorite micro brasserie in Chamonix, France. And then, on a much grander scale, there’s Utah’s canyon country.
I first drove through southern Utah in the summer of 2003, when I took a van trip from Colorado to California. At the advice of a friend, I exited off of I-70 onto Utah State Route 128 at Cisco. Cisco to Moab on SR-128 is one of the most spectacular stretches of road I’ve ever traveled, only because it winds through some of the most wowing landscape I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Last weekend, I got the itch for a trip and went out to Moab on a whim. The sunset was just lighting up the red rocks as I rolled past the Fisher Towers. I got out of my car, took a deep breath and thought, yeah: this is the America I happy to return to again and again.