Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why would I go to Utah?

The other day, a friend and I were making a list of must-see places in the US. Apparently, Utah is one of them. Of course, given that I'm rather committed to near-urbanity having lived in two almost-cities in the US and forever aspiring to a city proper, no bells rang. Utah? Really?

The only reference I could remember to Utah was in one of the four Sherlock Holmes "long" stories. Arthur Conan Doyle's "A Study in Scarlet" was published in 1887, and is set in 1847 Utah. The year is significant to both the plot and the history of the State. Brigham Young and the first band of Mormon pioneers came to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. While the story paints the Mormon pioneers as philanderers, misogynists, and murderers, and there are conflicting versions of his sources and reasons for such a portrayal, it is important to remember that most "pioneers" were lawless, fierce, and often more occupied with the act of both annihilating previous occupants and protecting their own notion of community than political propriety. Digression aside, this never aroused in me any desire to visit Utah. Especially given that to this day, Utah is one of the most religiously homogeneous states in the US and a large number of Utahns are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

However, a couple of pictures later....

Arches National Park

Angels' Landing, Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Canyonlands National Park

...I am a convert (pun not intended).

Anyone else game?

If so, let me warn you of the following:
(a) I am not an inveterate hiker, oh no. I have no stamina, I dawdle, and I while in pretty good shape, do not necessarily boast any strength. My father used to call me a paapad-tod pehalwan. Still does.
(b) My love for hiking is also aided by fantasies of what I might be able to do once I get to aforementioned places -- like read a book.
(c) I like cities
(d) Please do not talk too much when hiking. It's most annoying.

On the plus side,
(a) I am a silent hiker.
(b) I can cook on the most elementary paraphernalia. And lest we are confused, oh no, you will be in charge of firewood collection, lighting fires, and all such girl/boy scout expertise.
(c) I told you about Utah, see?

(P.S I owe you guys a food post; watch this space tomorrow)