taverse

9

Red Butte Wilderness: Step into Nature

A cloudless blue sky stretches out before us as we roll down the maroon-colored Kolob Reservoir Road on our way to Utah’s Red Butte Wilderness, managed by the BLM St George Field Office. We turn off onto an unmarked dirt road, and Red Butte, known for its sandstone spires and domes, looms larger. 

“Bang.” The shutting of the truck’s doors is the last man-made sound we hear. The silence is deafening, creating an air of tranquility that even the birds try to mimic.

Stretching from a low of 5,600 feet to a high of 7,400 feet, the steep grade begins to take its toll. Short of breath, we struggle to traverse through prickly shrubs and escalade what seems like vertical slickrock (alright, I’m exaggerating a little), but as the expansive views unfold before us, thoughts of scratches made only moments before, dissipate entirely. This 1,500 acre wilderness ranges from a sandy wash, which takes us down a slot canyon and ends in a brilliant sandstone amphitheater, to a forested mesa top perfect for picnicking while basking in the sun. We have arrived. Not at our destination exactly, but we’ve succeeded in leaving the hustle-bustle of daily life behind, and entered one of Earth’s natural treasures. 

-Iris Picat

Midnight

Arvena sat on the railing of the balcony, overlooking the forest on the other side of the ridge. Had anybody been there to see her, they probably would have told her to get down (or rolled their eyes and called her an elfling, or been privately scandalized), but it was late enough that those who hadn’t retired to their beds for dozing and dreaming were otherwise occupied. The valley was calm, and if there was any danger it was beyond what she could sense.

“"I’m finally at peace,” she murmured, “but it feels wrong.”