Or, you might feel guilty because you live in this beautiful landscape, a once-in-a-lifetime destination for millions of visitors from around the world, and yet you’re endlessly annoyed because your cell phone doesn’t work. Begrudgingly, after searching for a way to get mobile broadband, high-speed Internet, or one of those fancy all-in-one gadgets, I called up the phone company to beg for a “land line” in my wilderness home. For the price you pay for your cell phone/mobile hotspot/camera/GPS/heart-rate-monitor communication device, I can get a DSL connection which runs at the whopping speed of 3 mbps. At that rate, I can watch a three-minute YouTube video in just under eight minutes! Imagine the guilt I felt when a seasonal ranger who’d worked here from 1965-67, the first three summers after the park was established, told me how he’d commuted to work every day along a twenty-five mile unimproved dirt “road.” There was no housing up here at the time, so they made the commute every day. Three miles from the main road, where today’s Highway 313 takes a series of switchbacks down to the canyon floor, the old road dropped sharply into the bottom of the wash. This steep trail was continuously and unexpectedly being washed out, so when they got off work and headed home for the night, they would often drive 18 miles down 313, only to discover that the road had crumbled over night. At this point they could either get out their shovels get to work, or turn around and go rough it at the Island for the night, only to come back and dig out the road in the morning.Today, thanks to my 3 mbps Internet connection, I can order my groceries, my shampoo, "Lost: The complete series," and a new sofa from Amazon, and the UPS driver will drive his air conditioned van down the paved highway to drop those packages off on my doorstep.
|A snowy day in Canyonlands. My outdoor dining room, come warmer days.|