Gateway, Summer, 2019, FINAL


liophiles browsing their way through a

bookstore. Or, at least my wife and I do.

Our daughter, invigorated by the adventure,

rushes ahead down the trail, then

back to us. She points out every plant

and rock she finds interesting, which is

most of them, and explains to us what it

is she found interesting about them. My

heart nearly bursts with joy as I watch

her actively engage with her beautiful


One of the big reasons why we have

taken this roadtrip is to introduce our inquisitive

daughter to our beautiful world,

and encourage her natural curiosity. My

wife and I are very pleased to watch it


We stop at half a dozen viewpoints

during our all-too-brief visit to Deadhorse

Point, but our roadtrip is coming to

an end and our day’s itinerary is packed.

We get back in our van and continue our

roadtrip, driving south through Moab

and eventually on to Monument Valley

with several stops at roadside attractions

and scenic overlooks we pass along the


One of the most scenic sections of

24 Gateway to Canyon Country

our drive, in a day filled with scenic sections,

is that from Moab to Bluff. I just

love those long views across the farmland

of Blanding and Bluff with the

snow-capped mountains in the distance.

The bottom of every canyon, wash and

gully we pass along our river is ablaze

with golden-leafed Cottonwood trees.

Seen from above, the Colorado Plateau

must look like Kintsugi pottery.

We stop at Forrest Gump Hill and

take the obligatory picture, then push on

to Monument Valley where we spend the

last two hours of daylight at the Mittens


After dinner at a restaurant appropriately

named The View, which is situated

so diners can look out on the Mittens, we

return to our Wandervan and drive on a

little farther into the darkening dusk.

As I drive I reflect on what an amazingly

beautiful day it has been! We woke

up on the banks of the Colorado River,

watched the day come alive at Deadhorse

Point, goofed off at various roadside

attractions, and finished by watching

the sun set in Monument Valley. Not

too shabby.

If Woody Guthrie had made the drive

we made today it would have inspired an

album of anthems.

I grew up in Orangeville, Utah, which

is on the northern end of the Colorado

Plateau, which has terrain similar in

a lot of ways to that of Page. Big cliff

walls, gorgeous sunsets. I spent another

eight years as a river guide in the Grand

Canyon, where, from April to October

I was lucky enough to witness flowers

bloom and die in the spring, then bloom

and die again after the monsoon season.

I slept on my raft and watched the constellations

change hour by hour as well

as month by month. I should be immune

to long views over farmland, flowery

meadows, the sun setting on cliff walls.

But I’m not.

What a beautiful, amazing place we

live in. America is so beautiful, and –

in my opinion – the Colorado Plateau

is the most beautiful place inside it –and

that’s saying a lot considering we live

in a country that also includes Yosemite,

Yellowstone, the Everglades, Glacier,

Montana, Utah.

One of the best things about living in

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