Hiking in the high and dry

Stopped off at the John Wesley Powell museum in Green River, UT. Powell explored the Green and Colorado Rivers in little wooden boats. It was a different experience than people today get going down in rubber rafts.
The museum was small but interesting. One of the corny – but effective – tricks was talking manikins. Their eyes, mouths and arms moved. In Powell’s case arm, singular, since as the robot explained, he lost one arm at the Battle of Shiloh.
Powell is known, if people know him at all, as an explorer. He was also a great naturalist and an anthropologist, and he was a proto-ecologist.  The science had yet to be developed, but Powell described the relationships between biotic communities and factors like soils and water.
Hiking on the high and dry BLM land
We got up at the smudge of dawn so that we could avoid the 100-degree predicted heat. We could not go earlier since I was afraid to drive on dirt paved Hole in the Rock Road. It still took us more than an hour on more than 40 miles of bad road, but Alex had a particular place he wanted to be. There seemed to be several similar walks into the void along the way, but I deferred to his wishes.
It was not that bad. I went along to the edge of Coyote Gulch, at a place called Jacob Hamlin Arch. It was cool in the morning and although it got up to 94 degrees before we got back at about noon, it was the proverbial “dry heat” and not as hard to take. Still, even in the “dry heat” I was dripping sweat. I brought along the requisite four liters of water, but drank only one 12oz bottle and I forced that down. I don’t really like water. It is plain. Back at the car I had an ice chest full of Coke Zero, so I figured I could wait and I did. I think this whole hydration thing is overrated. If you are out for only a few hours, you can make do. Those guys at Gold’s Gym with their bottles of water are silly. Get a drink from the bubbler before and after, but you don’t need to slukke down during the workout.
This was a sojourn on BLM land. BLM land is NOT a park and NOT developed with trails, but it was not hard to follow the way. Generations of hikers had set up cairns, piles of rock that you can follow from point to point. Still, this kind of system makes me nervous. There is a lot of territory out there and if you miss one of the connections you could find yourself far away from where you hoped to be.
Alex was confident. He does some sort of orienteering contests with his infantry unit, but I was less than eager to bushwhack through those prickly bushes and up and down steep rock faces. I figure that if there was a better trail somebody would have found it by now. So, I keep to the cairns.
Generally, I have found it advantageous to follow water courses, Around here they are dry and nice paths. Water is even lazier than I am. It seeks the path of least resistance and tends to wear down the sharp and jagged. The way down for water is often the easiest way to get up the rocky rise for humans.
As you see in the picture, I use the ski-style walking sticks. They are wonderful for climbing and crossing rocks. I observe that most people use them incorrectly. I you are pressing straight down, you are doing it wrong. What purpose does that serve? The point should usually be behind you. You bring the stick up to the lead foot and then push from there. You put them in front when going up a big rock or when going down you hold them by the end. They are great for balance. Four legs are more stable than two and you can use the sticks to test the ground in front. Don’t leave home w/o them.
Remember the wisdom: four legs good; two legs bad.
My first picture is four-legged me. Next is Alex on the ridge, followed by a cairn and the arch. Last photo is the crossroads of nowhere.
Prehistoric graffiti

Final post before bedtime. We had lunch at a nice place. Again, we had pizza and again the pizza was unremarkable, but the ambiance was great.
The penultimate photo shows Alex looking at petroglyphs, a kind of prehistoric graffiti. Ironic that all around are signs warning people of the dire consequences if they create any graffiti of their own. I wonder if they ancient authors got in trouble with their parents. The last photo is Alex with the giant lizard. I guess that is sort of the local mascot. The real ones are smaller.