Something About the Desert

There is something about the desert that I just can’t put my finger on. No words I come up with can accurately describe the uniqueness of the Western Slope/Utah desert.

You’re faced with giant sandstone cliffs etched with gorgeous features created by the past, or in strange looking formations like inspiring towers or arches. In the distance, you can see high mountain peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

Each ray of light is accentuated in ways I have never seen before.

The sun sets, and the moon rises over the Fruita Desert, CO.
The sun sets, and the full moon rises over the Fruita Desert, CO.

We camped in the Grand Junction/Fruita Desert area two nights. Our timing couldn’t have been better; the first night was nearly a full moon, and the second night (featured above) showed us the desert night’s true beauty with an amazing full moon and cloudless night. Headlamps were a thing of the futuristic comic books- moonlight was what we lived on.

Even the climbing is a bit more special and realized. The majority of desert climbing is trad climbing, and lots of it. That means no bolts, no hurry, and typically no people. Some of the routes we touched still felt like fresh sandstone cracks – no sign of ‘people-weathering’ or nasty chalk marks. You’re surrounded by only friends in the middle of the desert with no one else around and nothing else to do but climb, laugh, drink, and eat.

The view from the top of the first pitch of ‘Ancient Art’

At night, the desert is inexplicably quiet. It’s not an eerie or strange quiet, but a peaceful type of quiet. You don’t question its silence at all, somehow you just know that that it’s right. Something instinctive makes you comfortable in the silence and the isolation of the desert. Something about the desert makes you more at peace with yourself than you’ve ever felt in everything that is familiar to you.

It is something special indeed.


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