Another high desert weekend

I used to say I’ve been lucky in life.

Meaning that I’ve lived in places with access to the outdoors. And that my current place gives me access to nearly two-million acres of public land to recreate legally and ethically near my current home.

But Joan likes to remind me that is it luck, or a conscious choice we made to have this life?

And, as usual, she is correct.

I left Rhode Island over twenty years ago because I needed the outdoors in my life daily. And I left Colorado because that area no longer fulfilled me on different levels.

To paraphrase a famous poem: Henceforth we ask not good-fortune, We make our good-fortune.

And we have indeed.

And part of that good fortune means my income streams. For very obvious reasons, my guiding gigs tanked along with some potential instructing of NOLS classes. And some writing gigs went by the wayside.

But my seeming love of New Mexico resulted in some videos I am producing, and learning some skills in the process.

And my IT skills came in handy. Not just for figuring out how to ramp up producing some simple videos that if not polished are solid in the info they convey. (Kinda like me? 😉 )

But also managing to find employment locally at one of the few non-tourist industry places based in Moab.

I never thought I’d turn to IT for employment again, but the skill set lets me establish income when many people are out of work. Much like being a mechanic, it seems an IT skill set is always in demand. If I do not earn the salary of my Denver/Boulder IT days, then our lower cost of living, no on-call rotations, and no weekends or holidays means I’ve more than landed on my feet at this time.

Which also means I am in a place to enjoy where I live more fully.

And Moab during the spring is a place to fully enjoy if you can. Though many people routinely ignore the out-of-state camping bans, and a soft opening is scheduled for May 1st, the numbers are still low for this time of the year.

Enjoying the desert with fewer people than typical for a Moab spring makes for some magical moments. And we savor this time.

Rather than backpack we decided to camp out instead. With our permacamping kit, packing for a high desert trip takes no time at all.

Why camp rather than backpack? Because some areas lend itself to exploring with a day pack and not walking some busier dirt roads.

And the simple pleasure of cold drinks in a cooler and then taking in the fading light over a canyon rim can’t be denied.

In the words of my favorite sage : “You can observe a lot by just watching.”

And we watched and observed.

High desert flowers blooming added a bright red to the desert landscape, obscure canyons beckoned with their twist and turns, and we never became less than enamored with looking over the canyon rims in near solitude. Our nearest camping neighbors both out of sight and earshot.

And, of course, we are never the first people by any stretch to walk these paths.

I never tire of seeing the intricate display of etchings and paintings found within and along the canyon walls.

Joan and I made a life that works for us. And that is more than I can say for my life in previous years.

In these times of uncertainty, I don’t feel lucky. But I do feel grateful.

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4 years ago

As you said, Joan is of course right. I’ve had a lot of people tell me they wish they could just work part time as I do. And in my head I think, “Yes, but would you choose to live the rest of your life in such a way that would make that possible. And would you willingly face the same difficult, out of our control situation that we walked through?” I knew that having more freedom with my time was really important to me. A bit of luck was involved, but because of choices I’d already made, I was… Read more »

Dony Erwin
Dony Erwin
4 years ago

Hey Paul, great to read about your life journey. You have a warmth and a transparency in your writing that feels like I am reading the journal of a dear friend. Back in the summer of 2017, you inspired me to check out the Pawnee Buchanan loop in Indian Peaks Wilderness on my first post cancer backpack and I have been going back every summer since! Keep up the good vibes. I only wish the best for you and Joan, and am quite sure with your positive disposition the best is yet to come…if it hasn’t already.