The best way I can describe today’s scenery is jaw-droppingly beautiful and incredible. Utah has officially amazed us with its variety of scenery and unexpected unique beauty. It took us half of the day to ride through a narrow and deep canyon of straight walled red rock- kind of like riding at the bottom of the Grand Canyon only not so deep. There were stripes of color running both vertical and horizontal, balancing rock formations, mini arches, deep deep reds, oranges, pinks, and even purples. When we came up out of that canyon, we saw a view that made us stop and stare- both in wonder and trepidation of where we were headed. There were rock walls and canyons everywhere. What caught our eye the most, though, was the piles of sand at the bottom of some of these rock walls. The sand was striped like a rainbow in more colors than I ever imagined that sand came in! Truly incredible.
We met a couple neat people today. One was a young man riding his bike from Durango, Colorado to California. We had a great chat with him for a little while. The amusing thing was the vehicle that passed between us and decided to stop and see what was going on. We pointed to the biker and said “he’s riding to California!” Then he pointed to us and said “they’re riding to Delaware!” The couple in the car were gape mouthed and struggled to find words to express how shocked they were that they were parked in the middle of the road between two cross country travelers with alternative transportation. It’s not the first time we’ve stopped and talked to cross country bikers, so we found their shock quite amusing! We also met a couple guys out scouting for the fall hunt. They were sweet and gave us several bottles of drinking water and a couple of delectable peaches- a real treat!
We got a real taste of our new reality when we got to camp that night. It was of course, a little scary to trust Grant’s advice about water with our lives. It’s not that we didn’t trust him, we were just a long ways out in the middle of nowhere on a barely used road, searching for the only water for miles and miles, and depending on deciphering his directions and descriptions to find it. His information was accurate once again, and after a little searching, we did find our water…… and were disappointed.
We had been told by locals about the “stock ponds” that were man made for the purpose of collecting rain water for the range fed cows. I expected a normal pond. The puddle we drank out of last night was a walk in the park compared to this water. It was even more red clay saturated- to the point that I stuck my hand in and it came out red- let alone seeing it in the water! Filtering it was a process that took all night and we were glad for the gravity filter that could work while we slept. But the new chore was that whoever had to get up in the night to water a bush also had to clean the goo off the filter!
Now mind you, this was a ceramic high quality filter. I don’t understand, but maybe the water was so saturated that clay somehow got into the molecules of the water. Even when filtered, the water still was somewhat orange, but worse- it still had microscopic grit in it that scratched our throats as we drank and gave us such sore throats it felt like we were getting sick. And the poor horses had to drink that stuff- unfiltered. I felt so bad for them. But cows live on it, so I figured they would manage for a day or two. It was hard to stay hydrated as it was work just to swallow the water. I think I still have sand in my throat from that water!