I walked over to the liquor store today to post some letters and when I came out the door and headed toward home, the lake water was so blue it called to me. So I took a big sip from my bottle, and seeing there were no cows on the other side today; crawled through the fence onto National Park System property. Actually, I am not quite sure if I was hiking on NPS managed land or ranchland as I made my way toward the lake, but I have a park pass so I figure I am legal. I am only about a mile from Lake Powell as the crow flies. As often happens in Page, the lines are a little blurred.
Only one paragraph in and if you know me at all, I bet I have some explaining to do.
Page Arizona has no residential door-to-door mail delivery, nor rural routes. Everyone has a PO box. I live in an upscale community about 9 miles north of Page. The two communities share the same zip code. We are each assigned a post office box. The Greenehaven boxes are housed in the last convenience store before the highway enters Utah. And it so happens; being this convenience store is in close proximity to Lake Powell and Lone Rock, and Lone Rock is a location famous for spring breaks and arrests; the most convenient item the store-turned-post office panders is liquor.
I had planned to return straight home and write but the weather was delightful. A light spring breeze was blowing. Birds were chirping. I was prepared with my water bottle and cell-phone because I had walked to the mart. The lake was beckoning me. The water was blue, Air Force blue. And so I crawled through the fence.
Crawled through the fence? Yes. Without ripping my shirt or my pants on the barbed wire. When I first got to Page I was afraid to do this so I spent my time hiking on roads; paved, gravel, dirt; seeing nothing but dust and hearing nothing but off-road vehicles. Over the months I found that National Recreation Areas are managed differently than National Parks. Cattle still graze here. I have met the grazing ranger for the Park Service. Plus, BLM rangers basically say, “This land is your land. Go make your own trail. Be sure and take a map.”
Today, I hiked about a mile cross-desert toward the lake. I meandered along the rim of an arroyo turned slot canyon. I saw no cattle, but bovine hoof-prints were fresh – as were coyote, rabbit, and assorted rodent prints. I saw two tiny lizards scurrying to re-provision on the opportune sunny day.
On the way back, it was warm and I rolled up my pant legs, wishing I had worn zip-offs and sandals rather than skinny leg levis and smart wool socks. Then it was hot and I removed my shirt, tied it around my waist and hiked on in my short-sleeve T-shirt. Imagine that, so warm on February 3 that I am sweaty and will need another shower when I get home.
Arriving at the fence once again, I turned around and looked at the lake. The water now appeared shimmering pearl gray. You can almost tell what time of day it is – or what season – by the shade of blue reflected in the water.
It took less than two hours, and I have benefitted greatly by crawling through a fence and putting one foot in front of the other. Did you remember to get outside today?