The desert morning is chilly enough to appreciate the starting line camp fires. The sky lightens at gun time and the temperature starts rising. Along the way, we see clear blue skies, puffy and intricately carved clouds as well as dark rain clouds forming along the horizon. The light showers are short lived, leaving a full rainbow spanning the hills. The weather changes as frequently as the terrain.
Welcome to the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon in Utah.
The majority of the course is downhill. Not having acclimated to the elevation, I appreciate how easily my lungs find usable oxygen…but OH, THE QUADS!!! We pass through a quaint rustic town. One building looks like the set of an old spaghetti western. I can almost hear the solemn clink of spurs and a Hugo Montenegro melody whispering on the wind.
I can’t help but wonder at the mettle it took for the early pioneers to face the harsh desert conditions. Although breathtaking to look at, there is much of the canyons that seem impassable. There was no wild west AAA if a wagon wheel broke, and no Wal-mart if provisions ran out. They had no glowing blue dot on an electronic map gently narrating directions and alternate routes. They made a way.
Following the run, while the quads recover, we explore more of the magnificent canyon. The rock formations are reminiscent of cave stalagmites but instead of growing with the addition of minerals, these formations are steadily chiseled out of the rock by water and wind. Some of these look like chess pieces carved from salt white stones. Across the expanses can be seen the various multi-chromatic strata warping and rippling through the earth.
Much as the rocks are sculpted to form desert art, those who endured this run created something spectacular under pressure. The beauty happens when courage perseveres.
p.s. It took three days to stop limping (OH, THE QUADS!!)
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