“I decided to respond to your invite and share my views or experiences related to the landscape, which I love to visit and would even love to make my home. Hiking through areas of the Grand Staircase means seeing and feeling the openness of a rugged landscape. Just by opening my eyes, I can learn about the complex geology of Utah, about the forces of nature that shape this region.
My hikes are journeys through this desert, not to a specific spot. Looking for the small things in this truly grand region, I can appreciate the tremendous diversity of life forms, like a dragonfly or the monarch butterfly I saw last month close to Escalante.
As I experience this beauty, I learn. The desert teaches me about the many different lifeforms that survive or even literally blossom there. It teaches me, how adaptable plants and animals can be, how many different strategies evolved that make life possible under these conditions.
It also teaches me about the fragile nature of this arid region. I try to step lightly, understanding that my footprint in cryptobionic soil may undo years of subtle but important growth.