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The Pleasure of Big Land

If you find yourself reading about camping or recreating in Utah, there is a 99.9% chance most of it will be hysterical screaming about red rocks.  This post will try to convince you that Utah can be appreciated in another way -- a better way.

Let's look at Utah from the point of view of someone who is heading south, from the Northwest.  Let's say they were in a 2,000,000 acre forest there.  Sounds big, doesn't it?

It's not.  You can only access the trails and roads.  Most of the land is too steep to camp on, even alongside the roads.  You cannot walk between the trees since the forests are thickets.  The creeks are not walkable of course, because there is water running in them.  

I would like to see a study done that would put a number on it.  Until then, let's say that 0.1% of the land is actually useable -- and that percentage is generous, I think.  That means that 2,000,000 acres comes down to 2000 acres, the size of a couple farms in the Great Plains.

I am not trying to bad-mouth the Northwest.  I am just providing context so you can appreciate the mild euphoria of coming down into Utah.  It is so easy to recreate, walk, bike, and camp here compared to the Northwest.

Dry washes (arroyos) are great hiking trails.  (I hardly ever use official hiking trails.)  There is another arroyo every quarter mile.  The sagebrush can be walked through, to some extent.  And there isn't a bear waiting to hand you your ass on a platter.

I started fantasizing about getting a fat bike again, with +4 inch tires, since my bike's 3 inch tires don't work well in arroyos.

But it is less of a hassle to just walk the arroyos in Utah.  After all, I hardly do any hikes in the Northwest in the summer.

Besides, what really counts is that my little dog loves getting off-leash and blasting through the arroyos!

Blast from the past: sometimes arroyos are rideable. Two dogs and a trailer. Too complex!