Essay by Ken Wright
Rural West – September 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine
I live in a fantastic corner of the American West, on the edge of where mountains fall away into canyon-carved desert. I live in one of this area’s mountain valleys, but at mid-morning on this day I find myself on a high above-tree-line pass, taking in a grand sweep of the country. To the east stands a range of peaks, rippling away like the choppy surface of a lake; to my immediate south rises a single massive peak, a great banded pyramid off whose face falls a sloping scree field that sprawls down and away to the rolling foothill forest lands that reach outward and downward through climate zones, from subalpine fir to piñon and juniper, across the rising and falling of foothills and gathering creeks, then across river valleys and canyons to the green valley bottom where squats the nearest town to the west. Looking in that direction from this 11,000-plus-foot perch I can see across dry sage lands for a hundred miles or more, and in that distance I see the wall of a table-top mountain, the blue bodies of three distant mountain ranges, and the dendritic arms of two major river systems.