Thursday, November 12, 2015

Lonesomest Award: Utah Highway 72

Fishlake National Forest, from Highway 72

Autumn is the greatest season of all. That's a given. Unless you love summer or spring more. In that case I can't help you.

Because nothing can touch autumn. Fall. Harvest time. Time to hibernate, even though we really don't. Though we should.

Fishlake National Forest, from Highway 72.
Thus I've been finding myself driving through southeast Utah in mid November, in a year of early snowfalls.  Snow in the red rock high desert canyon country, followed by blue skies. Why would I want to hibernate?

I drove west into the San Rafael Swell. I stopped to admire its eastern flanks. An interpretive sign called it the "Eastern Edge Of Nowhere". I like that. The wild west outlaw Butch Cassidy and his I Wild Bunch once roamed these parts. Now we cruise up over them at a speed limit of 80 Miles Per Hour. 

If you stick to the Interstate highway, that is.

The Henry Mountains, from Highway 72
I enjoyed it for a while. Then I exited. I wanted to head south, toward Capitol Reef National Park. I took Highway 72 for the first time. Conditions were good, and I had lots of time. How could I lose?

Highway 72 turned out to be a delight. It would never make the category of world class, which in a way only comforted me more. It was high and lonesome. I did not pass a single vehicle either way, though there were some hunters' rigs camped at the pass. I had the urge to camp myself. I would be back.

Looking down onto the high desert around Capitol Reef National Park.

Down the north side, down to lovely Fremont, and Loa. Irrigated cattle and sheep country below the snowy high country. Pasture and high country. Rural life. 

Forest and high prairie, Fishlake National Forest.
I stopped at the grocery store in Loa. Stocked up on some food, then drove on. Highway 72 across part of the Fishlake National Forest was still on my mind.

Fremont, Utah, just north of Loa.

Thus I give my Lonesomest Award for November 2015 to Utah Highway 72. Long may it be so beautifully lonesome.

© Copyright 2015 Stephen J. Krieg

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