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Steve Birdsall

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What’s So Petrified?

Or…. Where’s the big stuff?

I have spent three nights here at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. The park has some surprising features that are no big deal to those of you reading this from the comfort of home. But to someone traveling on the road, staying in campgrounds, let me tell you, HOT water with high pressure is a rarity. FREE, HOT showers……need I say more? The outdoor cold-water faucets have so much pressure that the first time I filled my water bag the water blew it right out of my hands!

I went on the 1 ½ mile hike that is supposed to show you lots of Petrified wood. Well, I am not sure how randomly scattered pieces really counts. It almost looks like a prehistoric man used a chain saw to go cut down some trees and left a few logs laying around. Not really logs, more like 18” long pieces ready to be split. All kidding aside, they are cool looking pieces of “rock”. I like the unusual colors that the minerals from the surrounding area caused.

The town of Escalante is a classic small town with an emphasis on outdoors stores and guide companies. I can see why some people really like coming to visit more than once, like the lady I chatted with while I was having a cinnamon and pecan roll at the guide/pizza/souvenir/coffee shop. She told me that she really likes the town and comes back to visit every year. When I told her why I was traveling, she gushed on me about how wonderful it was I was on this journey. She thanked me for sharing my story and told me she would remember me for a long time. I felt such a mix of emotion at her reaction. I felt proud, a bit embarrassed, and pleased. I will remember her as well.

Later that day I met Scarlet and Alan at the boat ramp on my last night here. I was unloading stuff from my kayak after an evening fish when Alan walked up and started chatting with me about fishing, the low water and other things I have forgotten.  We talked about where we’re each from and where we’re going. After a bit, his wife joined us on the boat ramp and the conversation eventually got around to my story. It was good to share with them the realities of late detection. Alan seemed to understand the importance of getting tested, which was really a pleasure, since I’ve met so many who seem to prefer to take the risk of not knowing.

And once again Janie and I are off to see the wizard….



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