Friday, July 20, 2012

Eyes of a City Girl
Bonnie Glee

Ruffus, our 4 wheeler stands idle as I climb onto a sitting rock that faces Little Lyman Lake, high in Utah’s Uintah Mountains. Here I get a glimpse of another world being unwrapped that is so foreign to city life. A gift of bumpy dirt roads lined with real boulders; nothing like the kind hauled in by landscape artists for domestic rock gardens. In the far distance (seen closer through my camouflage-colored binoculars) is King’s Peak, the highest in Utah, some 1300 feet, and in contrast to it, Flat Mountain; both still covered by winter snow on this late day in June.

Mountain wind sweeps ripples over the lake as weekend campers abandon their ATVs to fish from favorite outlined spots along the banks. I catch sight of campsites secluded in splendid shades of wild-grass-green, sage-green, and pine-green; all sprinkled beneath with blue, purple and white flowering ground cover. A mama duck guards her young from a pontoon fly-fisherman, gently guiding it toward the marshy shore.

ATV trails escape from the main road to bluff campgrounds where circles of rocks await fires for hot dogs. Wood lays about to be gathered and splintered over a stout stump to fit within the ash filled pits. Real squirrels dart from sagebrush, to tree, to cover of logs, (not like placid plastic decoys placed in manicured front yards), then scamper into cover of nearest spruce tree as branches dance in the lazy afternoon breeze.

Behind me, smooth and still, is Big Lyman Lake surrounded by a walking path just inside its shoreline. I imagine how foreign these hiking boots and blister proof socks would feel on my pedicured feet if I tried to jump steams along that path, or how thankful they would be if I paused beside the gurgling spring over in the far south-west corner to splash the coolness between my toes.; like the deer and elk did as they left their prints all around it Live ones, not those with holiday lights on them that are found in the city.

As twilight ascends my space, thunder claps its applause to this mountain-art-festival. A yearling strolls past over clumps of dandelions; but dandelions in the mountains are beautiful; and in the city, a nuisance.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Eyes of a City Girl

Bonnie Glee

Who would have thought at the young age of 60 I would swap my Saturday shopping sandals for laced-up hiking boots, and my Victoria Secret camisole for thermals with multi layers of old T-shirts on top!  I reluctantly left off the career-day makeup, put on an old baseball hat with my Miss Clairol darkened ponytail hanging out, packed a tuna sandwich lunch, and off my husband and I went.
The city’s spring sun was shinning and the yard was blossoming with crocus and daffodils as we loaded Ruffus, our new previously owned ATV, onto our recently purchased BUBBA trailer.  I was keyed up about this maiden ride in Main Canyon, a few miles south of Heber, Utah.  A frown of disgust furrowed my excited eyes when I noticed, as we pulled away, dandelions popping through the grass.

Daniel’s Canyon delighted us with snowcapped mountains and dry asphalt (my perfect traveling conditions) as we drove to our destination.  The sun filtered through the windows, I peeled off some heavy layers.  Wondered if we had been too cautious, but was soon lost in conversation about the wonders of budding nature that passed by. It wasn’t until we stopped at a convenience store to get a travel-traditional Salted Nut Roll; that I knew from the blast of brisk air that all of my clothes were truly needed. We picked up an ATV Trail map at the Ranger Station next door, pulled all of the straps tight, that steadied Ruffus, and continued on our way. 

The calm of travel suddenly became an adventure while trying to find a flat spot in the ‘parking zone’ to unload Ruffus.  Once that was accomplished and all was securely locked up, it was a gloved high-five, pull on the helmet, and climb aboard.  My trepidation of riding double soon waned when I was able to snuggle and hear joyful comments or get a pat on the leg with a pointing finger that talked many words.

This City girl was enthralled with the small rivers of water that thawed beneath the snow lined trail.  Our helmets clinked as I twisted my head quickly from side to side so not to miss a single view.  As the trial climbed steeper and steeper the side hills did too, exposing now and then waterfalls from melting snow.  A deep breath brought to my nostrils the true smells of spring.

Purple tipped ground cover lay at the base of wind wisped trees, and newly born aspen leaves flapped together like magical cymbals.  Other flowers of yellow and white made a flowing carpet for the forest floor.  Then the trail abruptly ended with a crusted mound of solid snow.  We couldn’t complete the loop.

My euphoria stayed as high as the trail had climbed while we traveled down and planned our return ride.  Then I spied a dandelion at the edge of the trail, and immediately knew that dandelions in the mountains are beautiful, but in the city, a nuisance.