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Wild About Utah: Up a fork in the Cache National Forest

A river flows, with green trees on one side and bare trees on the other.
Patrick Kelly


There’s a place I like to walk when I don’t know where else to go, up a fork in the Cache National Forest. 

It’s got all that I want, and all my dog needs -- good views and plenty of fast clear water. It starts off hot and dry, breaks you in quick, but soon the sun’s not so bad.

Walking along the way helps my mind stray and soak up right where I am. The office, the traffic, the honey-dos and the chores all slip freely from my mind. As I watch my dog sprint over gentian and mint and love being as free as the wild.

Being out there and free, helps me think and see that I’m a part of instead of apart from, this beautiful world, full of imperfect others, that with time are revealed as imperfect Thous.

This world, this here, this beautiful now, I choose and choose nowhere else, because today I see beavers, and grasshoppers, and eagles and get to wonder when the ducks will again fly south.

My dog and I continue, to hike along the trail until we come to the Cottonwood Graveyard. There we stop, maybe stay, for a while and a bit, and she swims after sticks thrown in ponds.

After she’s had a cooldown, we keep hiking up trail, into the thick of evergreen scents. My calves start mooing, and my dog, she keeps zooming, a bobsledder hot in the chute.

When the trees do break, and the land opens again, we cross the river one last time. It brings us into a place folks once knew, back in the day, as the sawmill with the best oxen in town.

Me and my dog, we’ll linger there for a minute, and I’ll think how happy we are, That this place was here, but isn’t any longer, or else the boon would not be worth the trial.

On our way back to the car, it’s hard work to keep your mind far, from the valley to-dos in the not far ahead,

But I remember why, I take the time to get out under the sky, in the wild to clear my over-civilized head: You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, but he also can’t drink unless he’s at that trough.

So even if today’s got you feeling astray, remember there’s good liquid if you’d like it not too far off. So go out today, or tomorrow or Thursday, make it a formal appointment if it’ll keep you true,

Doesn’t matter the place, as long as there’s space, to keep an eye out for the moments which pull the awe to you.

And when you find them, because if you look hard you will, take a minute and breathe in the crackling air’s hum.

And remember that smell, and keep it deep in your heart, because that’s the wild wind that makes all it and us one.

Sound credit goes to Friend Weller, J. Chase and K.W. Baldwin.

This episode of Wild About Utah first aired in August 2020.