Saturday, March 15, 2008

Coyote Symphony

Water carved this singular amphitheater from petrified sand dune formations rising nearly 2500 feet from the Earth's surface. Then, as if to punctuate the already intense visual effect, the Author of this beauty poured some lava over the East edge of its canyon wall, covering red and white layers of sandstone with black basalt. The lava flowed south through the deep canyon floor and continued out the mouth of the canyon, finally stopping in present-day Ivins and Santa Clara. Discovered by the world, and in danger of being loved to death, Snow Canyon is now in the iron grip of State Park culture. It has become a haven for tourists and nature lovers who don't mind paying a fee to be mother-henned through a controlled experience. Its pretty enough that even I will occasionally ride through her bottoms--dutifully staying on the trail and paying the entrance fee.

Not this trip. When you go with the Rocky Mountain Mule Association, it is the ultimate ATV ride. The rougher it is, the more they enjoy it--guy and gal alike. We spent two days on the rugged upper platform that looks over Snow Canyon from above. Petrified dunes and ledges theme this landscape, and they didn't see a set they didn't like. Like mountain goats, the mules negotiate this stuff with grip and confidence. I had seen pictures before, now I have the perfect knowledge that comes from trying it. Mona Molly was a little hesitant to play in the ledges by herself, but she was perfectly willing to follow the more experienced mules.

My boys came along on the Mustangs. Two-year-old BarbWire was on her second ride and Justin agreed to take the honors. The Mustangs didn't cliff dive like the mules, but they covered some rough country with nerves of steel and perfect foot-work. Randy Johnson brought his winning barrel horse and was expertly careful about the country he traversed.

The stars shone clear and bright Friday night. Frost settled on our bed rolls as we lay curled around the flickering warmth of our campfire. About two a.m. we were treated to nature's symphony. It was theater in the round, but we were the center, and a musical entourage circled our camp. In perfect surround, with brilliance and nuance Dolby labs could never duplicate, the Coyotes performed a piece that left my heart standing, roundly cheering for an encore. First, a commanding bark somewhere off center shattered the heavy silence, answered by barks from the remaining quadrants--then the movement began. A harmony of staccato yips and soul-full howls penetrated the crisp black air--our stage lit only by star and the red glow of embers. It came in rounds like the primary songs of my youth, but with polished sophistacation-- rich of tone, pitch and key. The encore came a half hour later. No art or composition can compare. God is Good.


BonBon said...

You guys are all crazy jumping grand canyon size cliffs like that! I need to warn Shellie that this post will only cause her anxiety.

How beautiful though. I love how you take something like the cry of a coyote and turn it into a symphony. I probably would have thrown a pillow over my head and whined because it was one more reason I couldn't sleep.

sharebear said...

I love this story. It makes me want to sleep out under the stars and listen to the coyotes.

Anonymous said...

We are still hoping to hear one of those good ole' wolf choruses before we leave Alaska. We just haven't been willing to sleep out under the stars in sub-zero weather with the moose and bears. Love WoW

Tamster said...

I'll just say amen to what Bon wrote!
Wow, WoW, you're alive; I was beginning to wonder! I'm so glad to hear the bears and moose haven't eaten you up and that you haven't died of hypothermia. :-)

Paul said...

I would LOVE to hear a chorus of wolves from the comfort of a BIG campfire. I'll bet there are few sounds to compare and rare enough to really be worth something.

Wendy in Alaska said...

I can't bear to see that last photo. I think it looks like an atv ride I wouldn't like.

newchamp said...

It nice to see every body keeping in TOUCH.

Once I figure how to blog, I'll get some pictures up.

Chea Touch