Notes from Westwater

Years ago, in the middle of a severe Utah drought, I wrote a prayer for San Juan rain modeled after William Lindsay White’s prayer first printed in the Emporia Gazette in 1935. In his petition, he writes, in part, “O Lord, in thy mercy grant us rain, and by that we don’t mean a shower. “O Lord...
Last November Ted, Oggie, and I drove to Beef Basin hoping to find a petroglyph panel which was an extraordinary collage of ancient images. Beef Basin is an earthen bowl with Canyonlands to the north, Sweet Alice Hills to the south, Horse Mountain to the east, and the Henry and Boulder Mountains...
On May 30, 1879, a tornado unexpectedly touched down in Ottawa County, KS and traveled along the Solomon River, sucking up water, mud, and trees. Then, it careened across farmland, smashing buildings and killing people and livestock. I imagine Harry Vossman had gone to the field to tend the young...
Oggie is a rescued dog, so her precise breed and age are unknown, but the Ogden rescue agency thought she was about eight months old when we adopted her. This summer she’ll be turning nine. Without a doubt, she’s slowing down. A 45-minute hike in the canyon has turned into an hour-and-a-half amble...
I was 12 when my mom, little brother, and I moved into my great-grandparents’ farmhouse in north central Kansas. Even though I’d always wanted to live in the country, the move from town to the old farmhouse terrified me. Without city streetlights, the nights were so dark I couldn’t see my hand in...
When we were in St. George at the end of February, I walked around the block in my mother-in-law’s neighborhood. Birds sang their spring mating songs on branches laced with delicate green. Daffodils, looking like old-fashioned telephones, and purple crocuses bloomed. After the frigid winter, the...
Every year for Valentine’s Day I give my hubby a weekend trip. This year he chose Green River and the San Rafael Desert with prehistoric and historic quests in mind. Those goals came from the book Hiking, Biking, and Exploring Canyonlands National Park and Vicinity, by Mike Kelsey. Because of...
On February 6, 2021, Ted, Oggie, and I drove down Highway 276, turned onto the Red Canyon road, passed the Red House dugout where Red House Annie once lived, and headed north up a rocky track toward a mesa with no name, a large plateau not far from the Tables of the Sun. The Red Canyon area, rich...
On January 10 I hiked up to the Westwater tower and then down to a lower trail, thinking Oggie was right behind me. Once I was down, I decided to take a shortcut to the north so I could see the Abajos covered with snow against the brilliant blue sky. When I finally paused to examine a tiny pinyon...
With the coqui frogs still singing, Ned Smith, Kirk Mosley, Ted, and I, left the house in Bayamón, Puerto Rico at 6:30 Tuesday morning and followed Ron Batt in his battered blue van to Maunabo and our first project. Ron founded the Halos and Hearts Organization to help reroof homes devastated by...

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