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Ostomy Memories of Cedar Mountain Road


IT WAS 23° that morning when I left to drive over Cedar Mountain. There had been no snow for a week and so the road was dry save for some snow melt. A wall of plowed snow rose three to five feet on each side of the two-lane, curving road, like an asphalt luge run. In past winters, I had driven over it in more treacherous conditions.
Where the mountain crests at 10,000’ there is a ¼ mi. walk off the highway called the Bristlecone Pine Trail. It is part of the Dixie National Forest on the Markagunt High Plateau along a federally designated Scenic Byway called U-14, which runs forty miles from Todd’s Junction, just above where I lived, to Cedar City, Utah, where I was headed, of all things, to buy groceries.
I did not stop at the trail that day, as the snow was too deep and I was not dressed for such a rigorous, if short, trek. But at the end of the trail, surrounded by a sub-alpine forest of quaking aspens, is a small grove of bristlecone pines. It is estimated they are up to 4,500 years old, and so it is a pure marvel to observe with all one’s senses. The place has a daunting capability, as well, to make one cognizant of one’s insignificance in the scheme of things.
In the high crystal-clear air, one can look off into the distance south and see Zion National Park, itself a scenic wonder of magnificent grandeur. The pines themselves have twisted, ancient bark and cones tipped with bristle seeds.
I went back in the late Spring, after the snow was mostly gone, to sit for a while in that timeless place. On Cedar Mountain at that altitude, the winter snow is not entirely gone until June, but the field one cuts through to enter the woods is filled with wildflowers, and the fresh air applauds their brief but showy spectacle.

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Hi Henry,  Your writing is so evocative that I actually started feeling cold reading about that mountain road and could almost smell those springwildflowers.  Beautiful!

You must have at least thought about writing a book.  What has stopped you?

All the best,


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