March 11 2019
It wasnt supposed to start like this, but what good stories ever do? My journey from there to here has run its course and I’m in the parking lot of Devils Garden Trailhead with my sister, ready to begin. We’re beginning a day early because of a poor weather outlook over the next couple of days and want to enjoy what’s left of the sunshine. As we make our way through the crowds there’s low level social anxiety brewing in me, and we quickly get lost in the maze of boulders. Which, oddly enough, is just the medicine I needed. Getting lost–that’s the reason I’m here in southern Utah.
Soon he reach the end of the trail and it’s time to make our own way down three tiers of small cliffs and into the valley beyond. In the late afternoon sun, all the shrub plants look silver and the distant La Salle mountains are a deep gun metal grey with cloud halos. Mel and I walk side by side along a jeep road and over a small pass. The hills are covered with fragile cryptobiotic soil, which is an essential living part of the desert ecosystem that we mustn’t trample, so its sunset by the time we spy a tiny patch of flat sand in a dry water course.
Admittedly, I dont feel as if I’ve found my thru hiker identity yet out here, unlike other long trails where I manage to soak into that second self as if I’ve never left.