Fear and Loathing during the time of plague


Annie at Muley Point

“Strange days indeed. So peculiar mama.”

This phrase from the man that sung “All we need is love” keep reverberating in my mind. Right now, the world needs A LOT of love. And medical supplies……..

The view of Monument Valley from Muley Point. It was windy as hell.

In the first days when this global pandemic stuff started to get serious I had a “f*ck it! I’m out!” moment. I couldn’t find a can of beans to save my life anywhere, so what the f**k was I doing staying? There was talk of a statewide stay at home order. I knew that if I didn’t leave right there and then I could be locked the f*ck down and not able to get out…….To hell with that. I’ve always hated being told what to do anyways and I’ve never really cared for our government or organized religion. The opiate of the masses in my humble opinion.

S**t is getting weird. And I was thinking it’s going to get a lot weirder before it’s over. My hopes of moving “home” to the island have been put on hold for a little while. Moving cross country might not be the greatest idea right now!

SO, I grabbed my last roll of toilet paper, jumped in Annie, and blew on out of the taco stand I call home. I headed west, into the canyon country of southeast Utah. Nobody out there. No way to get infected if there are no people. I’d run out of hand sanitizer, and only ever wore masks doing kinky s**t anyways. I wanted to get as far away from civilization as I could possibly get. Hunker down, disappear, ride this s**t out for a little while and hope I don’t develop a cough…….I needed to try to figure out my next move. I have no f***ing clue what it is, and neither does anyone else right now, so I guess I’m not alone. Strength in numbers right? As long as we are six feet apart and no more than 10 strong! Strange days indeed……. So peculiar…….I knew I could disappear until my food and water ran out. At least a week. Maybe two? I had four cans of tuna, two oranges and a bag of smoked almonds. I was ALL GOOD……..Maybe I could find more supplies in Utah? The Mormons have been preparing for this s**t for DECADES! Maybe there was toilet paper, eggs and ramen noodle to be had out there? No way to know except go!

It was 3 PM when I hit the road. Only stopping for gas and a Red Bull because I knew I was racing darkness. Since I’ve been sober I’ve developed a new addiction. CAFFEINE! YAY! I was Muley Point bound. Cedar Mesa. Utah. If I’m gonna choke on my own phlegm, I want to die with a view of one of the seven wonders of the world. This place is GORGEOUS!

The road is kind of sketch.

After rolling through Bluff and past Valley of the Gods I started up the infamous Moki Dugway.

I stopped and tagged the sign with the “livinbeforedyin.com” sticker……might as well leave my mark to be remembered by!

The Moki Dugway is a steep road with switchbacks that traverses a vertical cliff. It is a section of Highway 261 but was originally a mining road that was constructed in the 1950’s to transport uranium ore from the “Happy Jack” mine in Fry Canyon to the processing mill in Mexican Hat, Utah. This is the area where the uranium for the first atomic bomb came from. The stuff that flattened Hiroshima and Nagasaki and ended World War II. Utah added it to their highway system in 1957. The Dugway is a scenic byway and part of “the Trail of the Ancients” because of the high concentration of ancient Pueblo ruins on Cedar Mesa above.

Headed up the Dugway. It’s narrow and steep. Hope nobody is coming down!

At the top of the Dugway I took an immediate left and drove about four or five miles out to Muley Point. I arrived shortly before dark and took a stroll out to the edge of the cliff band……

The massive cliffs offer an expansive view!

Muley Point is a remote cliff and very scenic vista. It offers a panoramic view of the desert landscapes of Arizona’s Monument Valley and Utah’s Valley of the Gods in the distance while the San Juan River lies in the canyon below.

The goosenecks of the San Juan River from the cliffs edge. You can see Monument Valley in the distance

I never saw a soul the entire time I was there. During this time of ” social distancing” I figured I was being a good American by heading out there. This place is about as distant as you can get from people and I would much rather have been here than stuck inside the house…….

Amazing Sunsets

I started a fire and relaxed under the stars. I was pretty content. Safe from the plague for now………

That night I slept hard. The next morning I planned to visit a ruin about 25 miles north I had wanted to see for a long time. The famous “House on Fire” ruin. It’s only a granary perched high on a cliff wall where the Indians stored corn. But at one special moment during the day it becomes something absolutely amazing and awe inspiring!

When I awoke the following morning I knew I needed to head north to make the mile hike in and make it in time for the lighting to be right. I wanted the proverbial “Money Shot” and that only happens between 10 and 11 AM when the sun hits the bottom and bounces off the canyon walls just right. By noon the light hits the wall directly and washes out the “flames.” Seeing as I didn’t have a “Fluffer” with me there would be no second takes……. Timing was of the essence and I’ve wanted to see this place for a decade or more…….Definitely ” Bucket List” s**t!

About a mile up the terra cotta colored Mule Canyon sits the ruin. I walked up the canyon imagining myself following the footsteps of the ancient people who resided here from 700 to 2500 years ago. The sweet smell of juniper cedar and pinion pine filled the air. I could see hawks and possibly an eagle gliding overhead in the still, crisp morning . I had the canyon to myself. This is a special place. A little eerie. Quiet and calm. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I felt at peace for the first time since all this craziness started……..

When the lighting is perfect it looks like flames are shooting out the windows and climbing up the overhanging cliff ceiling.
Same photo with a different filter.
From this angle you can see what actually makes the “flames.” It’s the flakes of multi colored rock on the roof of the cave.
While waiting for the light to be “perfect” I explored the area surrounding the ruin and high under another overhang I spotted these ancient hand prints……..

2 thoughts on “Fear and Loathing during the time of plague

  1. good eye to find the hand prints, one of our favorite places. there are lots more ruins up the canyon to look for. great boon docking on up the road past the trail head to north mule canyon where there are also lots of ruins in north mule canyon

    Like

    1. They closed San Juan County to all Non-residents for now. It’s a bummer but I totally get why! The desert is my happy place also!

      Like

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