the utah thing started with desert solitaire, edward abbey’s book about wild places and humanity. my ex-partner, the american, gave me a copy when we were first in love, and after we broke up we decided to rendezvous in salt lake city for a week of adventure. our first night in town, someone stole his hunting knife while we cooked dinner in the hostel. we left the next morning, taking the bus to a spot just south of provo and then walking out to the highway. it was sunday: the minivans and suvs flew past us non-stop, but every seat was filled. after spending the night sleeping near a gravel pit, we managed to hitch five good rides (all stories in themselves), and were suddenly in moab.
i love utah.
i’m thinking about the desert, and trying to remember what it felt like to be so hot, to have so much sun that you’d actually avoid it. that first visit to utah, it was november and though the days were warm and sunny, it rained at night and i bought a sweater at the mormon-run version of value village. the second trip, when i drove down with another partner-at-the-time, it was june and we baked to the degree that it actually limited our activities: hiking could only be done from 3 pm to 7 pm, between the lessening of the heat and the arrival of darkness, and anything else had to be in close proximity to either ample water or air conditioning. luckily we found the creek that the bike punks in slc had told us about, and the moab library was not only cool, it has won awards for being an amazing small-town facility.
if you and i are in love with each other, chances are we’ll go to utah at some point or another.