Cathedral Gorge was always one of those adventure dreamlands my mind would wander back to over the years, but until last month, the most recent visit I made was back in 2004 with my dad and siblings, and Averi and my uncle Ryan. We were definitely overdue for a return trip…
Cathedral Gorge State Park is located in Lincoln County, Nevada, about a mile north of the town of Panaca off highway 93. These formations were created by erosion, which has carved dramatic gorges and formations in the soft bentonite clay. This is a good place to take children. Trails for light hiking, picnic areas, and plenty of climbing opportunities are available. But keep an eye on the little ones. Our visits to this place have usually been in the winter months when the weather is dry, but quite cool. Cedar City, Utah, about 100 miles east, where we live, is typically colder and wetter than this area in the winter season.
– Dave, Desertislands 2004
I should’ve known what I was getting myself into. The intention of the trip was to relive childhood memories and bask in nostalgia. But it was truly something else to have the same experiences after eleven years of maturing. Not only did we learn more about a place that had become little more than vague memories, but we got to know a little bit about ourselves and what life does to a person. From the passing of time, to the awareness of danger, our minds had made a 180! Setting up camp became quite a simple (if not enjoyable!) task. Exploring still made my heart burn with a sense of adventure, but no longer enough to drown out my sense of self preservation. I was acutely aware of the possibility of falling through crumbling rock into deep gorges, and thought twice before climbing ropes of unknown stability, or picking up snakes I had not yet taken the time to identify.
This didn’t take away from the experience in the least. In fact, it may have added layers of value to the adventure as a whole. But it was different. As kids, imagination was the primary tool we used in assessing our surroundings (clearly shown by our skewed map with creative landmark names). As adults, We focused deeply on history. Our history, geological history, local history. I’d like to make a new map of the area at some point, focusing on the present terrain as well as the historic and modern towns and graveyards surrounding Cathedral Gorge.
Next time I go back, I’m bound to experience this unique landscape in a totally new way all over again. The passage of time is something to marvel, just as much as the beautiful scenery the Great Basin has to offer.