Notes from Westwater

On February 6, 2021, Ted, Oggie, and I drove down Highway 276, turned onto the Red Canyon road, passed the Red House dugout where Red House Annie once lived, and headed north up a rocky track toward a mesa with no name, a large plateau not far from the Tables of the Sun. The Red Canyon area, rich...
On January 10 I hiked up to the Westwater tower and then down to a lower trail, thinking Oggie was right behind me. Once I was down, I decided to take a shortcut to the north so I could see the Abajos covered with snow against the brilliant blue sky. When I finally paused to examine a tiny pinyon...
With the coqui frogs still singing, Ned Smith, Kirk Mosley, Ted, and I, left the house in Bayamón, Puerto Rico at 6:30 Tuesday morning and followed Ron Batt in his battered blue van to Maunabo and our first project. Ron founded the Halos and Hearts Organization to help reroof homes devastated by...
In September 2017, Hurricane Irma, a category-five storm, skimmed by Puerto Rico on the north, causing three deaths and widespread power outage. Two weeks later on September 20, Hurricane Maria rammed the island, crumpling the entire power grid and blowing frame houses off their foundations....
A few months ago, I told Ted I was addicted to Fable Valley, which we’ve returned to three times this fall. Since my confession, I’ve discovered that an addiction to nature is healthy for us. In the book, The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, Florence Williams...
Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words. And some of the words are theirs. (Norman Maclean, A River...
On September 15, Oggie and I stopped at our usual resting place about halfway around our Westwater route. Oggie had previously dug a hole under a rock overhang where she liked to cool off while I poured her some water and took a drink myself. This time, after she rose to drink, I heard a squeak and...
“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls” – Aesop In recent months, I’ve been reading and purging old journals. I made it to September 2000 where I paused. In one of the folders, I found notes scribbled on a tiny pad documenting a best friend’s funeral in Edmond, OK. In the eighth grade, still...
A few weeks ago Oggie and I went off trail in Westwater and descended down the canyon toward the stream. Oggie stopped to rest in the shade, so I paused beside her, absentmindedly staring into the branches of a pinyon tree. A dark shape caught my attention, and as I focused on it, I could make out...
A few weeks ago, with an arch in Deep Canyon as our destination, Ted, Oggie, and I drove across the Causeway to Elk Ridge. A friend had described the arch’s location, so Ted pulled off the road at the designated spot, and we donned our backpacks and hats and started down the steep decline. Some...

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