Over the last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about the desert. For some reason the deserts of Utah have a certain romantic draw for me. They are both stark and dramatic, empty, yet never barren. They can be deadly cold or fatally hot. They look simple from afar, but a closer inspection reveals an unending labrynth of canyons, washes, caves, and cliffs. Moab sits in a unique spot, where high alpine mountains sit isolated and surrounded by a sieging desert. Yet they combine to create a picture not seen in many places in the world. The Kokopelli Trail traverses over both of these stark differences as it climbs into the high mountains, only to plunge into the cauldron of the low desert.
My 2006 season began, and will end in the desert. And while I have not been back to it since the KTR, my heart has never been far from it. For every inch of beauty that the Alpine singletrack contains, there are acres of mystery in the desert. I don’t know what the draw is, or where it came from. But as a kid I loved no place like I loved Mesa Verde. Perhaps the Anasazi still dwell in the cliff walls and roam the high mesa tops. Or, more accuratly, perhaps we just follow in thier footsteps. Carving a life, or at least a ride, out of an area much of the world passes off as a wasteland.
Whatever the reason, I am excited to breathe in the cool fall air of the Utah desert once again. I look forward to fighting the sand in the shadow of the rockies. While this upcoming race only offers an opportunity to see a small circle of this desert, it still holds a certain magic. Hundreds of like-minded people can conjure up the ingredients for a long strange trip. When it happens in the desert, that strangeness is only magnified.
So here is to the sand, the sagebrush, the rock ledges and dry stream beds. Here is to the first star of night, and first light of morning. Here is to all those who are making the fall pilgrimage to the desert mecca of Moab. May you find what you are looking for.