Woods & Wa­ter

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By Ken Sim­mers

Desert life

We don’t nor­mally spec­u­late what life used to be like, thou­sands or even mil­lions of years ago, but if you visit Utah, you be­gin to won­der. A lot.

I have been to Ari­zona a dozen times, and it’s mostly desert, but there is life. Although sparse. It may be 50 miles be­tween houses. You can see lit­er­ally a hun­dred miles; that’s like look­ing from here to Wash­ing­ton, D.C. We can’t even see Havre de Grace from here, so that gives an idea what air qual­ity is like.

Ari­zona is a beau­ti­ful place, with three drasti- cally dif­fer­ent ar­eas of desert: high, mid­dle and low. Phoenix is low desert, hot­ter than a pack­rat’s butt at a bar­be­cue. Next is mid-desert like Tuc­son: it’s cooler and higher in al­ti­tude, with dif­fer­ent cacti. When you go to Mt. Lem­mon you can see prickly pear and sev­eral oth­ers, but no saguaro un­til you get near the top. Then you can see saguaro for miles. Sud­denly they end at a given al­ti­tude.

Pine Top, as the name im­plies, is filled with pine trees and is the high desert, much cooler and pleas­ant, un­less you like it re­ally hot. If so, you go to Utah.

Va­lerie and I just re­turned from Moab, Utah, and it is ab­so­lutely one of the most beau­ti­ful places I have ever seen. Yes, I have been to the Grand Canyon, and, yes, it is beau­ti­ful, but Moab is about three times more so.

Moab is about the size of North East and sur­rounded by hun­dreds of miles of desert. No houses for a hun­dred miles in any di­rec­tion. How­ever, it is near two great places: the Arches, and Cany­on­land, and is not too far from Zion Na­tional Park.

Mil­lions of years ago the area was cov­ered by a salt­wa­ter ocean, which re­ceded, leav­ing un­be­liev­able rock for­ma­tions be­hind. The desert floor it­self cov­ers more than a mile of salt straight down.

The three places just men­tioned are Na­tional Parks. With a Se­nior Park Pass, it is free to ac­cess all our Na­tional Parks. This, plus our li­brary sys­tem, are the two great­est in­sti­tu­tions in Amer­ica.

En­ter­ing the Arches you Look­ing through one of the win­dows in Cany­on­land, Moab, Utah.

drive through miles of rock for­ma­tions, ev­ery one dif­fer­ent than the one you just saw. The ocean re­ceded, leav­ing vast rock ledges of ore de­posits, mak­ing some ar­eas very col­or­ful, like the Painted Desert in Ari­zona.

Oth­ers must have swirled, and as they did so, left be­hind hoodoos, bal­anced rocks of var­ied sizes reach­ing up­wards of thou­sands of feet. Some for­ma­tions are named, like the Monitor and the Mer­ri­mac, stand­ing sen­tinel next to each other for mil­lions of years.

It may not seem like it, but this desert is ac­tu­ally in the moun­tains. Like Salt Lake City, the moun­tains may reach over 14,000 feet, mak­ing this a biker’s and run­ner’s heaven.

Other ar­eas have formed win­dows and arches of rocks. It makes you feel in­signif­i­cant, it’s that huge and beau­ti­ful. I have thought for years that when I get cre­mated I want to be dropped into the Cana­dian wilder­ness, but now that I’ve seen Utah, I’m hav­ing sec­ond thoughts. It’s that beau­ti­ful.

Gun show com­ing up

South­ern Lan­caster County Farm­ers and Sports­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion is hav­ing a gun show on the week­end of Sept. 10 and 11, the week fol­low­ing La­bor Day. Plan to be there. It’s worth it.

Riverfest Kids Fish­ing Tour­na­ment

Once again Riverfest, spon­sored by lo­cal MSSA, will be held at the Charlestown Pier on Satur­day, Aug. 6, from 9 to noon. Some rods will be avail­able; con­tes­tants may bring their own.

Who knows what may be caught? Usu­ally, bluegills, perch, bass, even a rock­fish or two, carp, and oth­ers may be brought over the rocks. There will be a long-han­dled net to help kids land fish. Re­mem­ber, this is a kids tour­na­ment. Adults do not cast, fish, or land their young­ster’s fish. MSSA mem­bers may help land fish with the net.

Call John Poe at 302-2182676 to re­serve a spot or sign up at the dock on the day of.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY KEN SIM­MERS

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