The bleached antler here, shed years ago by a black-tailed buck, was already white when I chanced upon it, and has remained so on a shelf in the barn. Though deer traffic is heavy through our woods, this is the only specimen I’ve found, and thus a rarity. Handling it again today, I was reminded of the diversity of natural structures that we take for granted, or that go unnoticed, in our short time among them.
Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet. —Roger Miller
The day after hiking to Monarch Cave, Ulrich and I drove north and west to access a hiking trail into one of the small canyons in the Butler Wash area. The weather, as it had at Monarch, threatened, but held off until we’d returned to the truck.
Whether it’s juniper trees huddled on a ledge, or a crow and its shadow sailing on an updraft, life inside Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly must be resilient to endure and flourish in the unforgiving desert environment.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well. —Antoine de Saint-Exupery
After our rewarding stopover in Delta, Ulrich and I angled southeast, to Capitol Reef National Park and Cathedral Valley.
We made an early start from Duke’s Campground in Hanksville the next morning, driving west on State Route 24 to Cathedral Valley Road, near Caineville. We weren’t making the entire loop tour, only the fifteen or so miles out to The Temples of the Sun and Moon, but it was slow-going due to frequent World Class Washboarding. I parked near the Temples barely five minutes before direct sunlight began spilling into the valley.
Befitting its name, the valley was q-u-i-e-t, and it was all ours. Shouldering our tripods, we wandered pleasantly until the light lost its edge and shadows began to recede. I cooked bacon and scrambled eggs and potatoes for breakfast then, and was cleaning dishes when the first Jeep tour arrived.
The washboards felt even worse on the return leg, so I took it easy and stopped several times for pictures. Back in Hanksville, we ate lunch at Blondie’s before continuing south on Highway 95.