Bunches of shots from our desert crossing!
Wendover, NV and Salt Flats
For a city guy, all deserts are inherently bizarre. Imagine vast tracks of nearly useless space blanketed in a deeply oppressive heat. The familiarity of the road provides a feeling of safety, but it's hard to believe that this is a safe place. I didn't take a whole lot of pictures in Nevada, because most of the terrain looks pretty similar.
Wendover we've already discussed...
The Bonneville Salt Flats are unique. I wish I could convey how silent and vast the space is, how it feels like you are standing still while driving at high speeds. It's so bright there that you can't take your sunglasses off, and the wind is hot, though we got there in the morning. There is no life.
The salt flats are over 50 miles wide at the crossing.
Salt Lake City
There aren't a whole lot of pictures of SLC, but we did walk around the Temple grounds of the Mormon church, as well as go through their pioneer museum. Crazy stuff.
- The Temple isn't opulent in the style of other religion's holy sites, but we were blown away by the size and lushness of the gardens in the middle of desert.
- I had NO idea how much the Mormon church sought to build a colony out in Utah, and what steps they took to ensure their collective success. Brigham Young set up church based corporations and really stressed the pioneer ideology of building a paradise out in the waste. I guess that explains the gardens.
- Mormons are REALLY into America.
- There are Mormon settlements all up and down the Western slope of the Rockies.
Southern Utah, Moab, Arches National Park
The thing about the desert is that it is an inherently dangerous place. Take away the roads and small towns and ranger stations in Moab, and you have a terrain that will kill the unwary through heat and dehydration.
I'm almost sad that this area has become so tame, because it seems to detract from its majesty. Still, it doesn't take much to stand in the heat, sweating, and looking over the great distances to realize that this place doesn't need you, it doesn't want you, and it will be perfectly fine without you.
Seeing the mesas and the arches gives you a real sense of geological time. These rocks are fluid and changing, albeit at a rate nearly incomprehensible to us. Likewise, we are so short-lived that this place seems eternal.