Fin Soup

Fin Soup

At 4:00 am the alarm went off. I quietly slipped out of the room in which I was sleeping so I wouldn’t wake the other guests. A few years ago I toyed with the idea of camping in southern Utah during the winter. I thought winter nights in the desert would be milder than in the north. However, during the past two winters, southeastern Utah has had some of the coldest temperatures I’ve experienced in my life. Temperatures (at the time I visited this area) regularly hovered around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. On the morning I took this photograph, the little thermometer on my backpack–if it can be trusted–read -5 degrees.

I arrived at the trailhead a little before 5:00 am. Of course, no one was there. I exited the car and quickly began to question my decision. It was dark. A two mile hike in sub-zero temperatures awaited me. I was all alone and began to wonder, “What if?” I knew that “if” something happened, someone would be along sooner or later. But did I want to lie in pain and the bitter cold, “if” something went wrong? Yet, I love the outdoors, and I knew what experiences awaited me.

I cautiously began the hike. After about a half mile I arrived in an area where a vast landscape could be observed under moonlight, I stopped and surveyed my surroundings. The sound of the wind gently blowing; the cold biting at my nose; the salient feeling of solitude, knowing that I’m alone in this incredible landscape, produced feelings that this terrain, though marvelous, demanded respect. I continued my solitary trek through the desolate, snow-drifted terrain. After arriving at this spot, I set up my tripod and waited for the sun.

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