The Genesis of UtahOutsider

Utah Mountains

I’ve lived in many places – East Coast, West Coast, and in between, France and Ireland.

Every move has come with a tipsy balance of knowledge and ignorance. Along the way, assumptions have been dispelled; preconceived notions have been shot down.
Curiosity has been my guide and backbone.

Now, Utah is my home. Finally, I’ve landed in a place that seems to suit me and my family (animals included).

But does it?

Experiences will shape fresh outlooks. Encounters will mold new opinions.

What lies under the surface?

I want to know. And what I discover, I want to share.

UtahOutsider will be that vehicle for sharing. It burns ignorance and moves forward with knowledge. It picks up passengers along the way.

Please join me.

Maine girl moves West

_DSC2662I was born and raised on the coast of Maine. The ocean was a given. We swam in it, sailed on it, clammed it, fished it, even hopped its icebergs during the coldest winters.

Then I left home.

When I came back years later, I was stunned by the beauty I’d taken for granted:

The thick evergreen woods practically pushing themselves off seaside cliffs. The craggy shorelines, full of coves and inlets. Those coves and inlets revealing eddies and tide pools. Eddies and tide pools rich with life.

IMG_1079I saw those things back then. I’m sure. But the beauty and details were newly captivating.

Now, I live in Utah and wake up every day, staring at the mountains:

The ridges and draws marked with scrub oak, junipers, and cactus. The canyons’ spectacular dirt and rock rainbows. The quiet spiked with calls of ravens and coyotes. The morass of life squeezed from this high, dry climate.

Do Utahns grow accustomed to these natural wonders, like I did back home? Do natives know how good they have it? While exploring the state with non-native eyes and ears, UtahOutsider may introduce fellow travelers to these discoveries and may remind Utahns of the glory all around.


Rock Canyon Rocks

The first month of living in Utah was spent at the Residence Inn in Provo.

One room. Two people. Two dogs. One cat.

(Officially, this cat did not exist. This non-existent cat was never smuggled by suitcase into the Residence Inn after two crated days of cross country travel. It did not escape from the suitcase, scurrying into darkness and shrubs next to the very IMG_0030 copybusy, four-lane main street clogged with post-BYU-football traffic.  And it was definitely not me, on my belly, crawling through the bushes to retrieve the freaked-out, nonexistent cat.)

The dogs and I liked to spend a lot of time outdoors. We relied heavily on Rock Canyon as a daily balm for our cramped quarters.

Rock Canyon is heavily frequented by hikers, mountain bikers, and especially climbers. You might think you had the place to yourself, but pause and listen.

You’ll hear voices above and below. You’ll pick out quiet conversations being bounced off the walls. There are scads of climbers. It’s like sitting down in a field of grass, but then spotting all the crawling creatures.  Nice, crawly creatures.

Rock Canyon will always be dear to my heart. It saved our sanity, for sure. But it’s also a great example of urban refuge and how governments and citizens can keep places like this clean, vibrant, and available: the city of Provo maintains the trailhead and the National Forest takes care of the trail (which leads into the Uinta National Forest.)
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