To think what it must have been like for the first explorers and settlers to ride through this corner of the world. Did they gasp in wonder, trying to fit what they saw into their understanding of the world, or did they just see the dry unyielding dirt and low shrub, tough and hardened by draughts under the burning sun, and steep canyons and gorges like mazes full of dead ends and places to loose the cattle, or yourself? Did they notice and try to make sense of the petroglyphs glowing brightly on the brown rock wall as they passed the Newspaper Rock, depicting animals, humans and symbols carved into the dark rock by Native Americans 2000 years ago, or did they simply fear the presence of potentially hostile indians?
Perhaps they prayed for rain, only to see their prayers answered as brief, but violent thunderstorms with flash floods racing across the valley floors too dry to soak up the water. Maybe then, they felt like Job, tested against forces beyond their control, clinging to a hope of finding the promised land beyond the next ridge, around the next bend.
Some of the people who went through this landscape and came back found beauty and meaning here, found reason to build roads so that others could come to visit and share the experience, and saw the need to protect the area from other human development. That’s the appreciation we found in the wild, wild west.