I departed from the lovely AirBnb cabin of Ronnie and Lisa situated at the mouth of the Little Cottonwood canyon just outside Salt Lake City and six miles to Snowbird. The line of cars going up the canyon to ski as I was leaving at 10 am Saturday morning was disheartening—at least two miles long from where I was, and there’s another six miles to the resort.
I am sitting at the Blu Pig BBQ in Moab, Utah where I just had a good meal of BBQ brisket and burnt ends, but the highlight was the gumbo. It was THE BEST. I chose to eat in the Blu Bar at the bar. I am feeling more social, and sitting at the bar is not so isolating as sitting in a booth. If I wanted to talk, the bartender would talk. Brandon is the tender, and I’m on my second Pinot. There’s a guy on the guitar and a woman singing blues.
But I think I’ll move on and hit a movie. Before Scot died, I had only gone to one movie alone. This will be my second since he died. I love going to movies, and I don’t want going alone to stop me from appreciating the big screen. Holmes and Watson is playing at the Moab theater, and I enjoy Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly’s slapstick humor.
The government shutdown had affected the national park system, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to see Arches or Canyonlands. As luck would have it, the book store foundation for Arches and Canyonlands diverted funds to pay for the snowplows so I was able to drive through Arches. Paths weren’t maintained, but short walks weren’t a problem.
Arches National Park had just opened for traffic the day I arrived. Thank you to all the workers and the organizations that made the parks accessible. I cried, thinking of Scot and how he loved Arches, and how we never made time to go through the park. It is indeed amazing. I don’t know why we never made time to go. Life got in the way, and now death shut the door.
But I hiked to the double arch and thought about how Scot would have hiked to the top and scared the shit out of me, but he would have been so happy. All along the drive through the Utah I thought of him and how he would have been saying, “Look at that,” or “Look over here.”
The following day I drove the road through Canyonlands to Grand View Point. That day was the first day open for Canyonland, too. The park had only a handful of cars to contend with, and I felt like I owned the place. At Grand View Point, overlooking the valleys below, I shouted Scot’s name for no one to hear but me, a black bird and the awesome vistas that glowed in the morning light.
This is my hero’s journey. This is my healing trip. I am doing it for me, but I am also doing it for Scot. I am making a statement, that this year will come to a close, I will mourn for all that Scot is missing, but celebrate that I must make the most of what he has allowed me to do without him. I’m OK. I drive alone, I check into hotels alone, I stay at AirBnB’s alone. But I did all that before Scot, before he died, and now when he is dead. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Even though this is a solo journey, I have many friends I am connecting with along the way. Tomorrow in Grand Junction, Colorado, I see an old Montana friend who knew me back when my dad was alive and in his prime. That’s truly a lifetime ago. Then I will connect with my niece Kimi Cook on my way to Steamboat Springs, followed by time with friends, Fred and Ellen in Eagle and Mo in Summit County, Colorado. I’ll be skiing Steamboat, Aspen Snowmass, Beaver Creek, Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone and points in between. WooHoo!