Clarion West Peak

Lately I’ve been trying to map out all of the nearby trails that surround St. George; below is my trail map of the western segment of St. George. I’m at the point where I’ve hiked most of the main, marked and named trails and I’m off exploring “new” trails that are unnamed.  By “new” I mean new to me, and less popular, but they are still trails established by prior foot, bike, horse, and even dune-buggy activity.  I always stay on trails around here, because the desert ecosystem is very sensitive.  Off the trails, there are areas that to the uneducated, look like plain red sand and tiny unremarkable weeds, but it is really desert cryptobiotic soil.  This cryptobiotic soil consists of lichens, plants, moss, and cyanobacteria.  Together, these hold the sandy soil from blowing away and provide fertility for new plants to begin growing.  It can take many many years for crytpobiotic soil to take place and allow plants to flourish.  Then one person just comes along and tramples through it, and it’s all gone…blows away and just turns to dust and sand where nothing can grow!  So always stay on trails!  Park Rangers and trail maintenance workers will erect signs and small rock barriers when too many people begin going off trail in one spot, but by then it’s too late…  Wow I digress, but it’s for cause…

My Trails west of St George

So this last week I was able to tell the world that I’ve been accepted into Clarion West Writers Workshop, Class of 2016.  (No, I’m still not sick of saying that!).  I began messaging my classmates and we introduced ourselves.  And on this one particular hike, March 30, 2016, I was truly overwhelmed with excitement and so grateful I’m being given this opportunity.  The entire hike I kept thinking about how wonderful this will be and how fortunate I was to be chosen.  There is a lot of competition getting into the Clarion workshops.  And the workshop’s intensive study and cooperative effort is remarkable.  Writing is such a solitary endeavor and for a while I’ve been wondering how I’ll make the next step alone… and suddenly this brilliant path is before me!  So on this hike, my thoughts were flooded with excitement and daydreams of what it will be like and I was feeling so happy and thankful… and the entire hike, I’m thinking about Clarion West… and–seriously, this really happened(!!!)–I get to the top of this 1,000 foot ascent and there is a giant ‘C’ sticking out of the ground!  I’m not kidding!!!  It blew my mind.  Well, I guess, it’s a little like looking at clouds or ink blots… maybe you just see what’s at the forefront of your mind… but here are pictures of the Clarion West ‘C’ in rock formation!  See it?!?

So, since this hike doesn’t have an official name, I’ve named it Clarion West Peak.

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About author

Gunnar Norskog / Gunnar Norskog

Gunnar Norskog writes speculative fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and steampunk. He is a member of Clarion West, Class of 2016.

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