2010-05-27 40 -111

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Thu 27 May 2010 in 40,-111:
40.1332887, -111.4123639

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Across a furrowed field in a canyon off route 6. There were two points which were both easily accessible today. Because they were both relatively close, I had to go for broke. One was located in the Tooele Graticule and the other in the Salt Lake City Graticule. They were in very different locations geographically as well. One was located in the foothills of the mountains, looking out on a desolate plain of sagebrush. The nearest tree was 30 miles distant. The other was located in a small canyon of Route Six. The well-tended dirt track leading up to the site led through some of the most fantastic terrain I had ever encountered. The trees and the greenery were beautiful, reminding me at times more of the East Coast than the desolate Utah wilderness.

It took me only four hours to visit both. I traveled almost 200 miles and was sore by the end of the day. But it was worth it. The long road trips across empty valleys were worth it. The sites were amazing, and I was able to learn interesting facts about history and meet a helpful but backwoods farmer with a good-natured attitude.

Following is the second leg of the journey.


The second leg was a bit more tedious than the first. Leaving the first point, I had to drive through another an hours worth of desert to rejoin civilization. At least it was a different piece of desert from the first, and in the last twenty minutes the scenery was improved upon by the addition of stunted Juniper trees, but it was nonetheless tedious.

I reached the Freeway eventually, and went a couple miles north before leaving it again to venture into a different kind of wilderness. This one was not the flat and featureless waste to which I had grown accustomed, but rather was mountainous, green, and beautiful. For those of you outside of Utah who know what green is, don't be concerned that this greenery usurps your own. Utah is still a desert, but she can still put forth her share of green mountain slopes when the mood strikes her.

To reach my second point of the day, I had to travel up Spanish Fork canyon. I did this for several miles, and a few miles later, finding the turnoff, I turned into a smaller canyon. This one was more beautiful than the first, if only for the sweeping green fields which rose up the mountains, decorated with the occasional sprinkling of large pine and a few deciduous trees. After another few miles, I turned off of this smaller canyon into one even smaller, following a dirt track into the heart of the mountain.

To say it was fantastic would be an understatement. The fields and the trees and the rings of mysterious mysterious stones, as well as the occasional natural theater, put me in mind of European back country. I never had expected to find a place in Utah which transported me from the drab grays and browns into something more more lucid and stunning. The scenery was so fantastic that had one of Doyle's fairies or one of Tolkien's numerous imaginary creatures been somehow spotted cavorting along the bubbling brook, I would have accepted the whole thing as being no more fantastic that had it been to my eye previous to the encounter. Yet such creatures did not appear, and my eye had to be satisfied with the occasional dog or camping trailer parked in one of the numberless green swards.

After some time, which might have been much longer than it at first seemed, I came to a large and furrowed field on the side of the road. The point, according to my GPS, was in the hills above the field, and I dutifully pulled to the side of the dirt track and hopped the barbed wire fence to cross the field. I had scarcely done so, however, when I was seized upon by some evil premonition, and, hurriedly checking all of my pocked, I found that the key to my vitally important car was nowhere to be found.

I ran back down the sloped field and leaped over the fence, hoping I had not had the foresight to lock my car. I did. Trying to be calm, I searched the road along which I had walked, hoping to find it. I searched especially hard in the place when I had jumped the fence, thinking that if it had fallen out of my pocked anywhere, it must have been there. I was not looking long, however, when a tractor came rumbling by on the field opposite the fence. Stopping the vehicle, a younger man with the traditional button shirt and backwoods appearance got out and started being neighborly.

He asked what I had lost, and I described it to him. He started to help me look, and after a few minutes he said in a strong Utah accent, "You've got yourself in quite a pickle there, son." Word for word that's what he said. I agreed, and we continued looking. A few minutes later, after talking a bit about what I was doing and what he was doing and about how if I didn't find the key he was more than willing to take me into town seeing as the reception here was very poor and my phone wouldn't work, he said it again. Not the same words but close enough. This process was repeated several times after which he said his characteristic phrase and got back in his tractor and took off into the distance. I neglected to take a picture of this helpful stranger, but I will always remember the pickle that I had apparently gotten myself into and his characterization of the situation.

A few minutes after he had left, I remembered that my GPS had been on up until the point I had lost the key. Excited now, I went back to my car to fetch it from where I had left it on the roof, and then retraced my exact steps, following the course on the GPS. It worked. I found my key lying in the field at the exact spot where I had noticed it missing. Perhaps that was why I had noticed it, maybe I had a connection with this key and we were meant to be together. I felt it fall in the same way a wife whose husband is away at war feels her loved one take a bullet if they are close enough. Maybe equating myself to a windowed wife isn't the best way to describe the situation, but it was something akin to it. The key was warning me.

The last couple hundred feet were easy, I climbed a hill, ran across the field, and in a small open space beyond its borders I found the point. It was a great place to take pictures as well, and I took several. I wanted to remember this place. Even though I had to quickly leave, I stayed long enough to take enough pictures to remind me of the magic of that canyon, and when I get the chance, I want to go back.

Mabeuf earned the Multihash Achievement
by reaching the (40, -111) and (40, -112) geohashes on 2010-05-27.