Avi Kwa Ame is the West’s newest National Monument and was just designated by President Biden. Situated in the pointy end of Nevada and south of Las Vegas, these lands are sacred to a dozen tribes along the lower Colorado River. The 700-square-mile designated Monument creates a much larger interconnected expanse of federally-managed lands with special protections (see the detailed map here). Advocacy for the Monument in recent years brought together a uniquely diverse coalition of tribes, communities, conservation organizations, outdoor groups, and even motorized recreationalists. A wintery three-day ride through the area in January opened my eyes to the beauty of this unfamiliar-to-me area, but basic aesthetics only scratch the surface when trying to unpack the meaning of this landscape.
“Is this your property?” Lessons Learned from Bikepacking the Wild West Route
Today is a hot one in southern Idaho, 90 degrees and rising. My partner, Skyler, and I are stopped for snacks under the few shaded bushes along a lonely dirt road.
We hear the tell-tale signs of a lonely car and a white-haired woman drive towards us. She slows down to approach us cautiously. Her window rolls down as the car stops and from inside we hear “There isn’t a road that goes through there.”
Riding Utah’s Thunder Mountain: a Trail with Residual Harmony on Santa Cruz Reserve 37 29er Wheels
If a trail is made by humans, versus game or erosion, does it carry along with it historical remnants of the trail builder’s psyche? Humans use tools to create trails and these tools are guided by feats of strength, both physical and mental. What happens when strength is combined with emotion? Are those emotional remnants carried along the path, forever altering the harmony of its intentional meanderment? Trails are all about control. Direction. Intention. Is there a marking of metaphysical energy within them?