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Desert Rose Inn

August 28, 2016

On my recent trip to southern Utah, I was fascinated by the desert.  It was something I’d never seen in my home province.  It was wide stretches of sand, punctuated by bushes in clumps.  I learned that the bushes were sage, creosote bush, or Mormon tea.  I’d heard of sage and creosote bush in western movies.  Mormon tea was new to me.  There were small settlements in some of the valleys.  Even if the stream flow was intermittent, they could get water from wells near the stream bed.  I even saw patches of irrigated land in the valleys.

There was open-range cattle ranching in the desert itself, even though there was little grass for the cattle to eat, and no water at all.  The ranchers hauled water to fill watering troughs near where their cattle were grazing.  That has to be marginal farming.

Of course, I know that it takes more than sand to make a desert.  It’s really low rainfall that does it.  We have sandy areas that we often call deserts, but the rainfall there is the same as in surrounding areas.  These are not real deserts.  The ones in Utah certainly were.

One of the places we stayed in Utah was the Desert Rose Inn.  It’s all by itself, out in the desert.  There were flowers blooming there, just like the name implies.  It was a first-class motel.  I noticed, though, that sand had drifted and collected along one side of a curb.  I also noticed that all the flower beds were filled with sand, and that the sand had blown away from one area, leaving landscape fabric exposed.  It must be very dry there.  The sand must blow around quite easily.

There was a marsh off to one side of the building, with a trail leading to the marsh.  When I walked through there, I found plenty of dry vegetation, plenty of bird life, but no open water.  The next morning, while I was waiting for the restaurant to open for breakfast, I noticed water spraying in each of the flower beds.  Every plant had its own spray head, fed by fine irrigation tubing.  The water was pumped from a well on the side of the property towards the marsh.  One of the spray heads was not working, probably because it was plugged up.  The plant next to it was dead and dried out.  I suppose that it only took a day or two without water for the plant to die.  How artificial, I thought.

In fact, the whole place is artificial.  Water is only one requirement.  The other, even more important, is electrical power.  Without those, there couldn’t be such a beautiful place out in the Utah desert.


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One Comment
  1. I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!

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