Years ago when my legs were younger I went for hikes and pushed my body, as hard as possible. Age has proven that Nature is the winner and I now try to understand my relationship to the land. My last day in St.George, before returning to Nevada and a flight home had me searching for that illusive hike, when I felt one with Nature. I was studying the hikes of Snow Canyon State Park, a 7,400 acre expanse tucked amid lava flows and soaring sandstone cliffs in a strikingly colorful and fragile desert environment. Here, there are more than 38 miles of hiking trails where one can marvel at majestic views, subtle inter-plays of light and shadows and colors dancing across the canyon walls. Researching, I found the Whiterocks Amphitheatre and Nature blessed me with a show !
After spending days in travel to Moab and the Arches Natural Conservation Area my hunger for the peace of hiking was not satisfied. In the Arches, I had found stunning geography but also hordes of tourism. Heading back to Zion park, outside of St. George, I had found the roadway system under attack from road workers and improvements. Snow Canyon State Park was found, after some net research. Maybe Nature always saves the best for the last.
The Whiterocks Trail-Amphitheater called out as an alternative. It did not disappoint in the least. This is a four mile hike deemed to be moderate. I always wonder who decides the criteria for easy,. moderate and hard. To me the hike was quite easy and fully interesting. The more interesting the hike, the easier it becomes.
One’s pace can be relatively steady and at its constant features are some rock slopes as well as uneven surfaces. Perhaps that is the allure of a good hike? The trail passes through the red, white and black geologic colors of the park before climbing and leading to a natural sandstone amphitheater.
At the amphitheater one climbs the summit walls on rock that reminds me of of gentle waves at a country lake, coming ashore. At times the slope is interesting and one finds themselves constantly searching for the easiest was up and up and higher. As one rises to the upper levels the surrounding landscape keeps being revealed.
Looking high to the summit I could see two hikers, a man and a woman who emerged and slowly made their way down towards me. They were the only evidence of humanity except for the tiny cars passing on the far away highway. There was no wind, the sun was hot and it was easy to become a speck of dust. A nice feeling. Talking to the young couple on the side of the canyon walls was like a church service. And, they blessed me by taking my photo, to remember, for me.
A few minutes later, I sat in solitude ,on the rock waves, high above humanity, I realized that solitude was the drawing card that has brought me to Utah on three occasions. Utah and its canyons and parks have become a drug to me. The spectacular scenery as far as the eye can see is healing. The canyons are ego busters that allow you to walk in Nature with a capital “N”.
Snow Canyon State Park was a new monument, erected to my memories. On the way out I passed a 33 unit campground that seemed to be perfect as a place to pitch a tent and establish headquarters. The locations was spectacular and it sure knew how to call to me and spell my name.
Now, I have another item on my already overflowing bucket list. Truth is, the natural world is pretty stupendous and my time is so short. Yes, I do want to return!