Friday, February 14, 2014

Vastness Of The Desert

By the time I had walked with Kory and followed immediately by a long drive and frequent stops during our long circumnavigation of Cedar Butte (previous blog post), our dogs' enthusiasm for adventure was beginning to wane.
In truth I was getting a little tired as well, and as we headed still further away from Atomic City and closer to Big Butte, I wasn't sure exactly how far we would get.
LC and I had decided that we would turn around when we had both had enough.
One more quiet adventure that both he and I were determined to just take as it came..............
We got to the back of Big Butte and decided that that was far enough.
If we had continued driving we would have eventually found our way to the entrance of the rutted out and steep gravel road that would have taken us up and into the "belly of the beast".
Instead, I snapped a few quick pictures of the back side of the butte, turned to snap a few more quick pictures of far away mountains and close away road, and we turned back the way we had come..............
LC and i have passed by this side road perhaps 10 times since we arrived in Idaho at the end of July last year.
Always the road has been given nothing more than a passing glance as we drove by it.
Always we were more focused on the butte itself.  
We always seemed to be driving to the butte or driving around the butte or planning to drive part of the road leading up to the top of the butte or searching out alternate (climbable) paths to the top of the butte or even planning on hiking the butte.
Always something.
And so this road got barely noticed.  Until this trip.
When we turned the truck around, drove away from Big Butte and began to head back the way we had come, I had expected that we would drive all the way home without stopping.
Unexpectedly LC turned onto this completely snow covered side road, and very quickly we began to climb.
The narrow road was steep.  Steeper than it looked far below.
Ruts were covered with slush and ice and snow, and LC worked to not only keep the truck on the trail but also to  keep the truck from skidding down into a large trench to his left.................
My first view of the world from the top of this road, as I climbed out of the truck.............
The road had been slicker and steeper than we realized but the view from the top was stunning and the effort to get up there was worth it.
From this elevated vantage point I could see multiple roads leading off in multiple directions.
They were all snow covered and easier to see than they are in the summer and fall when the world looks monochromatically beige.
Mesmerized by the alien desert world, I looked down at Kory and realized that she was as enthralled with the world far below us as well.
She makes me smile.
As I turned around I looked deeper into the canyon, wondering what it looked like back there.
I assumed that it was a box canyon - a dead end - but again I wondered if there was a walkable/climbable route to make it to the top.
From where I stood it looked as though it might be doable, but on this day I didn't walk back there to find out for sure.
LC's back was sore again (that's what he gets for digging up a few piece of rusty junk from up on Cedar Butte).  Kory was on leash.  The snow was deep and hid rocky ground underneath.  We were all getting tired and were still an hour away from the house.
Another day I would like to head back there though...........just to satisfy mild curiosity..............
Views from our high vantage point.
30 miles away in this direction, sits Blackfoot................
The morning had started with me and Kory walking on BLM land just outside of town.
Many hours later we found ourselves standing on a slushy and snowy trail on the side of Big Butte, looking out over an entire, empty world.
It had been a great trip.
But now it was time to go home.................

The vastness of the desert frightened her. Everything looked too far away, even the couldless sky. There was nowhere you could hide in such emptiness...............James Carlos Blake, The Rules of Wolfe 

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