A Desert Oasis

There is magic hidden in the desert oasis. The Henries faded in the rear view mirror, an isolated mountain range as tall as 11,522 ft, towering over the lower desert plateau. A network of deep rutted canyons and winding washes, carved scars on the desert surface, zigzagging their way down to the very edges of the Waterpocket Fold, around and down feeding into Lake Powell.

 


We have driven around this lake many times, from the Northern edge of Lake Powell on the Utah side, to the southern edge in Northern Arizona. We have gazed down from a canyon’s edge into the depths of the blue green waters. We have had a morning soak on a sandy beach. But had not yet experienced the best way to explore this desert oasis, by water. We stepped onto the boat, our eyes re-adjusting from the red sandstone to the tranquil haze of the turquoise blue.

Our newest and most treasured friend at this work experience, Captain Jeremy, greeted us with enthusiasm. We took off, the water trembling in our wake, gliding exuberantly past the red sandstone rockfaces. Entering into a cool, quieted cove, shaded by a sediment streaked rock wall. Such sweet relief to relax our sun baked skin in the shade. The boys took a dip, jumping off the back of the boat, disappearing into the blue. I dipped my feet into the cold calming bliss, admiring the view.

Along we cruised, making our way to Moki canyon. The steep sheer walls narrowed in around us as we meandered through. The water so clear, you could see the fish swimming around beneath. We reached the dead end of the canyon sitting idly for a while. Listening to the silence and the sound of flowing water. Admiring the shimmering hues of blue glistening beneath the evening sun.

Along we glided again, winding our way through the beautiful Forgotten canyon. The great walls of the canyon enveloping us. We passed through with the calmest wake, moving through light and shadow as the sun disappeared and reappeared with each curve the water carved. We, such tiny fragile beings, floating agilely with the force of nature. Playing hide and seek with the sun, feeling blissfully fulfilled with the suns rays falling through my fingers. We floated in silence, our eyes seeking every contrast, highlight and crevice of our surroundings. Bewitched by the waters cool touch, enchanted by the vividness of scenery. We swayed in the stillness, the boat bobbing ever so gently, watching as the sun descended behind the canyon walls. -T

As we twisted through the meandering canyon, slowly churning the smooth, clear water into a rippling sheen of ancient glass, we softly floated, contemplating the breadth of this magical oasis. Around each bend another towering sandstone wall came into view; every turn becoming more narrow and enchanting. I was mesmerized, enraptured, inspired. I felt an overwhelming sense of pureness flood through me. It engulfed me. It overtook me. Silently trolling through the water, lost in a bewildering environment.

Moments passed in a blur as the shapeshifting terrain distorted my perception. Seated at the front of the bow, lazily lingering on a thread of silence, I felt a tinge of transparency radiate through my soul. Bouncing off the clear blue lake, ricocheting off the burnt orange and washed out faded tan formations, I could see so much more than a desert oasis. I could see our world enriched by time, constantly changing identity but always remaining of the same elements. Just moved, turned, twisted, reordered and reshaped. Like myself, constantly adapting to an ever changing environment and mindset. Particles and minerals spread out through the universe in this single vessel, in time reordered back into an infinitesimal arrangement of chemicals and atoms.

The extent of our existence spread out across the Colorado Plateau. Constantly, constantly we become smaller through knowledge and experience. Constantly more humble as we stretch further into the unknown, or otherwise further into desolation. But it isn’t desolation. We find a magical paradise hidden like a gem not yet discovered and exploited. The more we seek out the remote and rugged, the more we appreciate the resolve. The more heart we gain. The more truth we unveil.

And beyond all of it, we find others who relish in the same virtue. Seeking and searching for beauty so far from the clutches of society. We find that we are not as alone in the world as we once thought. Funny, it seems, to travel to the vast, wasteland deserts of America where the population is dogmatically assured to the preservation of recreational solitude and freedom of expression who collaborate, initiate, replicate the pure essence of self-driven happiness. Who embrace the one and only constant in this world, change. We live, stay and then move on, sifting through this world as a universal collection of matter. Like Glen Canyon; created by the Earth, carved by time, shaped by humanity and then inevitably changed again by time. A beautiful blip of existence.

This entire area, once an inland sea during the late Cretaceous period, filled with life and vegetation. Standing back, facing the Henries, looking out at the vast expanse of the high desert we see the dried up crackling sandstones sea bed for hundreds of miles round. Sifting through the ancient dirt, fossils through time unearthed and examined. In a million years Lake Powell drained and the face of Utah once again dramatically distorted, the finger-like scars of this area will showcase another segment in the wondrous history of the Earth. In the deep canyons, or maybe then another flat, silted barren landscape others may find fossilized props and propellers, fragmented pontoons and crumbled dust of concrete that once blocked the natural flow of the Colorado.

In the present this alien landscape is home. A summer of adventure and exploration. Of enchanting beauty in a backdrop usually seen behind closed doors at sixty miles per hour with blasted air conditioning. A time to slow down, get out, and seek something new and unique. Lakes, canyons, desert, arches, bridges, mountains, and more. Yes, this is Life Elevated. -G

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