The Road to a Younger Planet

Richard LeBlond:

Tule Valley is located in the middle of nowhere, western Utah. Route 6 cuts through the desert valley on its way from Cape Cod to California. The nearest town, tiny Baker, is 45 miles away in Nevada. The valley is bone dry most of the year, and no one lives there. But as its name implies, there is (or was) water long enough somewhere in the valley to sustain the bulrush Uto-Aztecans called tule. Geologically, the valley is a graben, like most of the north-south valleys between the fault block mountains of the Great Basin. I have ventured there several times in the summer heat to capture its subtle and austere beauty.


Mystical Route 6 approaches the Confusion Mountains and Tule Valley at sunrise. Nothing of human origin can be seen in any direction that is not part of the road itself.


This used to belong to the road, but is now undergoing reclamation by the original owner.


There are always mountains to be seen, one range after another receding into the distance,


like passing through the portal to a younger planet,


with no one between you and as far as you can see.


Bio: Richard LeBlond is a retired biologist living in North Carolina. His essays and photographs have appeared in many U.S. and international journals.


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