Will Call: Here comes the desert | PostIndependent.com

Will Call: Here comes the desert

It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter.

If you’re anything like me, spring fever has you itching for an outing, and Moab is the cure.

Now, as a general rule, I don’t tempt the hordes by parading my favorite places in the newspaper.

I think most of us can agree, though, that Moab is past the point of no return.

When mud season hampers mountain activities, Coloradans and others descend on the canyon country like Mormon crickets.

Some folks don’t understand the appeal of the desert. They see it as bare, lifeless and unappealing, while I see it as pure, peaceful and downright transcendent. But since that’s contingent on solitude, I don’t go out of my way to change their minds.

Given my distaste for crowds, though, why am I willing to share the trail with hundreds of others and wait for half an hour to get a seat at Milt’s?

Part of it is proximity. There are plenty of less-crowded corners of the canyon country, but most of them are farther away or not as scenic, and consequently make for a less satisfying weekend getaway.

I think it’s more than that, though.

Growing up, Spring Break meant the desert.

It was already far from Ed Abbey’s paradise, but back then we could still count on a camping spot at Slick Rock. Although some haunts, by necessity, have changed, the annual western pilgrimage is a tradition.

More than that, it’s going home.

If you tally it all up, I have probably spent just as many nights camping on the Utah sand than I have on our own red clay.

I have pictures of myself at every age out on the sandstone or sheltering under a cottonwood. So, while I know I have no more right to it than anyone else, I have a sense of ownership there I can’t quite shake.

If there was one place on earth that could tempt me into giving up the mountains, it’s the desert. As the snow melts and flows west, I can’t help but follow.

Maybe I’ll see you somewhere out there, where cold Colorado water meets warm Wingate Sandstone.

Will Grandbois isn’t going to tell you his secret spots, but he’ll listen to yours at 384-9105 or will@postindependent.com

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