The weather here right now is perfect for hiking the southern Utah back country, and let me tell you, I'm doing just that. Went on a great 6-hour jaunt yesterday to a mesa-top I'd never visited before--it requires ascending a rugged horse trail to achieve the unparalleled views and unsullied terrain up there. Clearly, very few people venture into that area, and after slogging up the wrong little canyon crack to get up there, I understand why. I'm quite grateful that such remote areas still exist in abundance around here! I found a tremendous amount of chipping beds, arrowhead pieces, and other really cool stuff. And almost no human footprints, although plenty of critter prints.
On a more disheartening note, a friend of mine told me that some modern-day pot hunters (illegal looters of protected archaeological sites is the more correct term) are using helicopters to get to the most remote back country sites, where they can quickly loot, remove, and fly away. Luckily, people on the right side of the law have a description of the helicopter, and are on the lookout for it. It's a genius idea, although of course also totally morally reprehensible.
I understood, on some level, however, the allure of seeking out and actually finding such ancient sites with their treasures still intact. I was gripped by similar fever as I wandered around the high mesa, eyes scanning for telltale signs of previous human occupation or at least traversing. I, however, am not going to loot. Arrowhead pieces, yes, I admit to taking some that I've found, and I'm sure it's also a justification. We each have our own system by which we live, do we not? However, I have too much respect for ancient spirits, ancient peoples, and the laws of this country to do more than that. Yet so many out there do not! It always amazes me at how selfish this society--Western civilization--is. There is no group, there is no community, there is only I, and how much I can profit. It's very saddening, on multiple levels.
Anyway. A beautiful photo of a southern Utah desert sunrise to inspire whatever. Writing. Protection of the land. Joy. A smile!