[Marxism] blog post: three weeks in southern utah: 1. boulder to zion national park

MICHAEL YATES mikedjyates at msn.com
Fri Nov 6 19:25:09 MST 2009

Full at http://blog.cheapmotelsandahotplate.org


For the third time in four years, we visited southern Utah in November. There are five national parks here and many other beautiful public spaces. I don’t think there is a more spectacular place in the country. The high sandstone cliffs of Zion National Park, the hoodoos and fantastical shapes of Bryce, the upheaved earth and gigantic rocks of Capitol Reef, the Delicate Arch in Arches, and the harsh grandeur of Canyonlands all make you happy that the national government has not caved in completely to the private interests that would mine and drill every inch of these special places if they could. And I doubt the Mormon hierarchy would try to stop them. I can’t imagine that Orrin Hatch is a "vagabond for beauty," like Everett Reuss, the intrepid young chronicler of these vast and sparsely settled lands.

     We left Boulder, Colorado at five o’clock in the morning and, helped by the light of a full moon, made our way south to Interstate 70, passing through Golden, where the Coors Brewery pollutes the air, while it produces the brew that helps fund the far right. Coors’ advertisements would have us believe that it makes its beer in the Rocky Mountains. The truth is that Golden is just another sprawling suburban mess, its developments of oversized and cookie-cutter houses mocking the foothills, canyons, and mountain streams nearby.

     Interstate 70 traverses the whole of Colorado and most of Utah. In these states, it is an engineering marvel, winding its way through, around, beside, and over mountains, canyons, and rivers. We were horrified to see the dead pine trees, killed by infestations of beetles, that cover the mountain slopes west of the Continental Divide. Their brown visages are more disturbing to the eye than even the long ski-slope scars above the ski slums that attract thousands of enthusiasts every winter weekend, clotting the highway with huge traffic jams on Fridays and Sundays. Towns like Vail were developed in part by well-connected ski paratroopers from the Second World War. I wish these expert skiers had stayed back East and left the mountains alone. Development for whatever purpose seems to know no limits; nature and beauty always take a back seat to naked self-interest. Vail is a monument to this. . . .

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