This is the last part in series I wrote about my time at field camp in college. You can read the previous parts here. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think.

It was the last day of field camp.  I had a bunch of stuff to do, but there wasn’t really time to do any of it.  So, I was just checking out a few rocks near the road, climbing hills, half for fun, and knowing I’d never be this alone and not lonely again.

The TA dropped me off at a hill made of the Navajo Sandstone. This was my rock. Nearly 400 miles away, this rock was the first that took my breath away. Just a couple months ago I had found out that I would have the opportunity to study this rock for my master’s thesis. It was a dream come true. Ending field camp with the same rock I’d soon start my graduate work with seemed fitting. Doug had a ton of Navajo Sandstone in his mapping area, but I had only this one hill.  I had spent the whole week in dirty stuff like the Dakota Sandstone.  But now on the last day, here was my Navajo Sandstone.

190 million years ago, Utah was a desert. Much of Utah is currently a desert, but not like it was then. This desert was a wasteland of sand dunes hundreds of feet high with hot winds and hotter sun. When this desert was buried, it hardened into the Navajo Sandstone. It is one of the most famous rocks in the world, making up the startling red and white cliffs of Zion National Park, and appears throughout Utah, into Wyoming and Arizona, forming cliffs, slot canyons, twisting swirls, and other-worldly whirls. It is a superstar. And it is mine.

When I got near the top of the hill, I threw my backpack to the ground and took a long drink.  For once, the sun was out, warming the earth after a soggy week.  It felt like heaven.  As I came to the crest of the hill, the blue waters of a sparkling reservoir came into view.  A breeze stirred strands of my sweaty hair that had escaped my ponytail. The stream bubbled as it flowed into the lake.

Why do I get to do this?  I thought to myself.  It’s one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.  I felt it in my chest again.  The wahoo.

No, I thought, I can’t do it.  I have tried so many times.

But it’s your last chance, I told myself.  It’s now or never.

But I can’t yell.

Sure you can.

It never works out.

If Doug can do it.

Hello, I am not Doug.  I never do stuff like that.  My voice will probably crack and that would be embarrassing.

But it’s not like anyone is around to hear.

I opened my mouth. And then I stepped down off the rock.

I can’t.

I sighed.  It’s the last opportunity…


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