Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Moab: The Maiden Voyage

Last Friday I joined some friends for a weekend mountain biking trip to Moab, Utah.  Although I have always enjoyed bike riding, and although I had been to Moab a couple of times before, I had as yet never put the two together.  After saving up for a bike, I finally decided to make the purchase and take her on her maiden voyage.  And there was much rejoicing.

Thanks to the generosity of Grandpa Bob in reserving a camp site, a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and olives, and a snug shammy, I was prepared to gallivant through the trails and slick rock of DinoFlow and EKG.  With a little help from more experienced riders (as well as a borrowed pair of sun glasses and shared sunscreen), I soon learned to navigate the ups and downs, the twists and turns.  Along the approximately ten miles of terrain I had plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of the desert and to contemplate the life metaphors that such a journey brought to mind.  I will spare you an elaboration of these metaphors, but perhaps at least one is worth noting.  As is to be expected when mountain biking, I took a couple of spills, but my third crash was the most fortunate because I narrowly avoided plummeting into a menacing patch of cacti.  As I picked up my bike and glanced around at the impressive array of thorns and needles, all I could think at that moment, and now, is "Thank you God".

After enjoying some gnocchi at an Italian Restaurant, returning to camp, and rinsing off, we all decided to rendezvous at Dead Horse Point before heading home.  The view from Dead Horse Point was nothing short of spectacular.  The immensity of the panorama caused me to stand in awe at the magnificence of God's creations.  I was happy to discover that I was not alone in my revery when I overheard a conversation in French taking place a few yards away from where I was standing.  After I introduced myself to a man and his family from Marseilles, he explained to me they had explored many places in Southern Utah, but the view from Dead Horse Point was more spectacular than he could have imagined.  This good man was visibly moved by the glory of creation before him, which amplified the sense of awe that I had also felt.

All of this caused me to ponder the words of the Psalmist: "when I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou has ordained; What is man, that thou are mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" (Psalms 8:3-4) Well could I echo the words that Nephi recorded when he overheard his father Lehi giving praise to God: "Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth; and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish!" (1 Ne. 1:14) 

After this experience, I think there could be some truth to the bumper sticker that I have seen on occasion: "London - Paris - Rome - Tokyo - Berlin - Beijing - MOAB".