By Jedediah Rogers

Photography: Matt Morgan,

These parched, ubiquitous lands of sage, juniper, rabbitbrush and sand. On my way to distant Bluff, I traverse vast tracts that melt into arid skies. To Euro American sensibilities once fit only “to hold the world together,” today these are still drive-bys, unfit adornments for more stately attractions that catch our eye on roadside billboards and sate our hunger for hierarchy of places.

Views shift, slowly, from wastelands to fragile ecosystems in need of protection. Can we yet marvel at the resilience of the cedar, the austerity of the desert? Or must we only take notice when the thruways go into Utah's celebrated places and we have nowhere else to go?

I continue, undeterred by the obstacle in my path and my pulsing heart.

Jedediah Rogers is co-editor of Utah Historical Quarterly, the state's long-standing history journal. Among other publications, he is author of “Roads in the Wilderness: Conflict in Canyon Country,” and is at work on an environmental history of the Great Salt Lake.