“He who is not busy being born is busy dying” – Bob Dylan
In the middle of winter, I began calling the Virgin River Gorge (VRG) the “Twilight Zone.” According to Cambridge Dictionary, the Twilight Zone is an area where two different ways of life or states of existence meet.
This description came to me on a particularly cold and damp January afternoon. I was sitting on the slab perch beneath the Planet Earth Wall, at the base of Dirt Cowboy, preparing to climb. The temperature hovered around 42 degrees, but without a breeze, all of us were shedding layers as we climbed.
The VRG draws fame from its juxtaposition—the common refrain jokes that the cliff houses the best limestone in America, but in the worst location. Anyone who has spent time here understands that the VRG’s paradox only begins superficially with its freeway-adjacent location and mind-boggling weather patterns that vary minute-to-minute. In one way or another, the physical contradictions of the place infect your bloodstream and color your experience.
I found early on that there was an immediate contrast to my individual climbing days and how I viewed my season.
For me, the outcome of my time here felt both completely unimaginable yet altogether inevitable.