Sunday, April 26, 2009

Everett Ruess: Mystery (Almost) Solved

The wandering ways and days of Everett Ruess caused much speculation in many folks over the last 75 years. The young explorer of the wild, wild West disappeared forever in November, 1934. The last signs of him were seen at Davis Gulch, a prohibitively remote area near Escalante, UT. His beloved burros were left in a corral there, not long after his last known contact with people, a couple of local sheepherders.

His body was never found. Until now. According to the Ogden Standard-Examiner, human remains discovered near Comb Ridge, Utah, are most definitely his.

But it seems as if the skeptics still abound. It is intriguing, to be sure. His burros were found 60 miles from his body. How in the heck did he travel that distance without them? I say, duh--he was bopped over the head by the "bad guys" (opportunists, more likely), who took all his worldly goods, headed west, and left his critters holed up near Escalante. Or something like that.

At any rate, I understand the desire to hang onto the romance of this old mystery. It hooked me too, years ago, when I first moved here. I've read his journals, I've dreamed about discovering clues to his death. And...if this is case closed, then that's it to the dreaming, the wondering, the curiosity.

Although the cynic in me foresees a biography (David Roberts, I'm looking at you), more articles, more people making their names on his brief life and much-debated death, the romantic adventurer and idealist in me longs for more. More information, more mystery, more knowledge to tuck close to my heart and soul and bring out and re-examine on a cold evening.

Cheers to you, Everett. May not all your mysteries be discovered nor solved. Because when I wander in the canyon country, I like to think your spirit whispers out there too, guiding my footsteps and lighting my dreams.

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