Robert Kirby wrote this in the Salt Lake Tribune July 25, 2005. Special thanks to the Tribune for allowing us to reprint them here.
Salt Lake Tribune
July 25, 2005
I have seen my death. Not the exact where, how and why, but rather
just the last thing I’ll see.
As I plod reluctantly toward the light, Sonny’s grizzled face will
suddenly insert itself between me and Glory and say, “Dang, that was
steeper than it looked. You OK?”
My death might also involve a high-order explosion, an
inattentiveness to speed, some bizarre food, or a large anti social
animal. The point is that when the Reaper comes for me, Sonny will be
somewhere in the immediate vicinity.
These are my thoughts Friday as we huddle atop a 400-foot cliff in
the Tushar Mountains. Lightning pops the ridges above us and a
rainstorm approximating a beating is seconds away. We’re wearing
garbage bags and sharing a hat.
Fortunately, our wives were along to remind us of prior obligations
as husbands, fathers, and the sort of guys for whom search and rescue
might not bother looking for.
The occasion of this latest assault on my safety is Marysvale Days,
which I am pleased to announce is superior in every way to any old
Days of ’47 parade in Salt Lake City. In fact, there isn’t much about
Marysvale that doesn’t suit me.
For the uniformed, Marysvale is located 200+ miles and about a
century south of the Wasatch Front. Follow Highway 89 through Manti,
beyond Richfield, over I-70, until you get to Big Rock Candy
Mountain, which looks like Paul Bunyan had the flu. Then go another
10 miles or so.
Marysvale’s population (including horses and cats) depends on the
time of day, but typically is whomever you can see at a single
glance. You got to love a town with more people in its cemetery than
on its street.
The town is also gateway to a billion miles of the best ATV trails
anywhere, and explains why it’s legal to ride all manner of strange
vehicles on the street in the city limits. The Paiute Trail starts
here and—if Sonny isn’t leading the way—will bring you back here.
We drove up Bullion Canyon Friday afternoon. The scenery began with
dusty sagebrush, graduated to lush oak and willow, blossomed into
quakies, transmogrified into Douglas fir, and eventually arrived at a
point where there were no trees at all. Or oxygen.
If you want to ponder what really matters in your life, the tops of
the Tushar Mountains are a great place to do it provided that God
hasn’t already decided that your life really doesn’t matter.
Apparently he really hates Sonny. Every time we come up here, we have
to play dodge ball lightning.
The storm caught us at Hennessy Peak. On the bright side, there are a
lot of old mining cabins in the Tushars in which to seek refuge if
you don’t mind the fact that none of them have roofs. We cowered
under a tall tree and crossed our fingers.
Thirty minutes later we were soaked, shivering and miserable. We
didn’t realize that Mother Nature had simply scrubbed down for us. We
rode among larkspur, columbine, skyrockets and rushing creeks,
stopping periodically to watch deer nurse their fawns.
The possibility of dying isn’t so bad if you’re already in heaven.