As I think of ways to describe a town punctured with magical doorways to a hidden world, my boy takes an interest in pocket knives. I figure he's old enough to learn to safely whittle under my supervision, so we both select a stick from the woodpile behind the house, then set out on the road to find a quiet place where I can teach him the art of whittling.
We drive around the West Point of the Oquirrh mountains--all the while I point out landmarks like Dead Man's cave, the site of the old Arthur mill at Kennecott where my grandfather worked as a welder for forty years, the old, crumbling concrete highway along the hill, Goshute Indian and pioneer camp sites, Black Rock and what's left of its beach, and many other sites riddled with my own memories of my own father taking me for rides along that same highway.
We soon pass the Great Salt Lake, and I fight the sun with my visor. My boy talks of everything that seems to come to his mind, and I listen and smile and try to pay attention to both him and the traffic. I turn off the highway at Lake Point (still thinking of magical doorways) and follow a small road lined with dry fields and old homes. We reach the foothills of the same Oquirrh mountain range, but on the west side that overlooks the Great Salt Lake and the Tooele valley--our destination. After a small hike, we find a place to sit on an outcropping of ancient, fossiliferous, Pennsylvanian-era limestone, and we pull out the pocket knives and begin to whittle together under the sunset.
Late September sunset in Lake Point, Utah