My housemate went to Maui for a week.
For some strange reason, I offered to take care of her dog while she was gone. Before you think I’m completely off my rocker, I must explain that on a a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being cutest, this dog (a 5-yr old red heeler named Sadie) probably rates about a 9. And then, besides the cuteness factor, I figured she would help me break my horrible habit of staying late at work during the week.
On Sunday, I took her for walk in Emigration Canyon. Have you ever been on one of those trails that is just barely wide enough for one person? This was one of those, and we headed off through the fall foliage for parts unknown. Fall is a pretty short season in Utah. Most of the trees and shrubs had shed their leaves so the the color palette was quite bland – red, tan and more tan on all sides, but the views were still spectacular. It was quite easy to see anything that did not “belong” to this landscape.
We followed one trail for awhile and then doubled back towards the parking lot. On the way out, I learned that the trail we had been walking on was one of the ‘original’ trails used by Mormon pioneers who ended up settling the Salt Lake City area. It had also been used by the Donner Party (of Donner Pass fame), Pony Express riders and gold prospectors on their way to CA. That was a sobering thought. After all those years, the trail still looked the same!
On a personal level, I was awed. I could hardly imagine what it must have been like to travel on such a trail and not know there was a Starbucks or McDonalds up ahead somewhere. Even though I rarely patronize either of these businesses, I still gain a bit of comfort to know I will eventually see them somewhere along the way when I’m traveling . I think people from that era were wired much differently than we are nowadays.
When we emerged from our trail, I wasn’t quite ready to quit for the night. I found another trail head and charged up the hill. After about 100 yards we met the first human being I had seen all afternoon – an affable man wearing a bright orange vest and cradling a gun in his arms. That sent a shock wave through my consciousness. Oh yes, this is fall. We are in the wilderness. This is deer hunting season., and it is near twilight. Something told me perhaps this is not the best time to be charging through the underbrush enjoying the out-of-doors.
I called to Sadie. She gladly obeyed me, and we called it a day.