Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Back West Again

The photo at the left is the type of plane Skywest flies, and the type of plane I flew on the last leg (of a three leg trip) from Salt Lake City to St. George. Photo from Skywest Airlines

Even with ear plugs, the props drone. Almost all the 30 seats on the SkyWest turbo-prop are filled. We’re flying at 24,000 feet, due south. I press my nose against the window and look out upon the rows of purple mountains to the west. The subtle light at dusk softens their rugged edges. On the horizon, below streaks of grey clouds, is a thin band of pink. Above, the clouds are fewer and the sky is still blue. It’s dark on the ground. I can see a few lights in the distant valleys and imagine that ranchers have finished supper and are now doing their evening chores. Occasionally, larger clusters of lights can be seen, indicating a town planted up along a bench between the mountains and the desert valley. A few headlights can be seen navigating highways 20,000 feet below. Experiencing this again feels good.

I step off the plane in St. George. It’s a hour after dark and the air is still warm, in the upper 70s. I meet my friends and in a few minutes we’re driving up I-15, climbing the Black Ridge. The windows feel cooler as we gain altitude. The Big Dipper is prominently positioned over the Pine Valley Mountains. Even in the darkness, I can make out the cliffs of the Hurricane Fault to the east. It’s all so familiar. It’s just a short trip, but it feels like I’m home.

Yes dear readers, Sage is traveling again. This time he’s back in the land of Purple Sage, Pinion Pine and all, with his backpack and will only occassionally be online. Luckily, for his sinuses, golden rod isn’t much of a problem in this country, but then there’s rabbit brush. I’m not sure what folks did before there were allergy drugs. Stay tuned for more postings. Tomorrow I have my double post with Pia's site and I finished up a post on the book, Parting the Waters which I've recently been quoting from regularly.


  1. Have a good time, Sage, and take lots of pics and find stories to tell us when you return.

  2. Have to admit the size of that plane kind of unnerved me, but the view would be amazing! Have to get over this fear of flying.


  3. I can't say I've been lucky enough to be on a plane that small but after the 'not quite that small' plane on my Chicago to Winnipeg trip (it was exciting to board the plane on the tarmac though), I think I'd pass on a crop duster. I hope you remembered your infamous hat and I wonder...did you fit all your stuff into one carry on or did you check a bag?

  4. Ahhhh, Clariton, my savior. I'm lucky that I'm not affected by rabbit brush, though I've heard about lots of people being allergic. With me, it's grass and fir trees.

    Have you ever collected pine nuts? Yummy.

  5. Kenju, will do! But I still don't have a digital camera, but will be toting a Nikon SLR with tripod.

    SP, I use to fly on these planes a lot--and before they had these, there were 19 seaters that even I had to bend over to get to my seat.

    Murf, yes, I have my hat and will make sure there's pictures. I didn't put everything into a carry on as then I couldn't even bring toothpaste. Furthermore, they rejected my fuel bottle (which was empty and washed clean) but it still had enough reside of fuel. Since my stove plugs into the fuel bottle, I had no choice but to buy another fuel bottle that I'll leave here. Also I am going to probably have to ship my stove back as it may have reside of fuel on it. It's been two years since I've flown for a hiking trip and didn't know these new things had come into being.

    Ing, yes Clariton! and yes to pine nuts too! There was a time I'd make my own pesto from my own basil and collected pine nuts.

  6. Never thought about a clean and empty fuel bottle getting rejected. Good to know.

    Happy hiking!