I have spent the night at the very cosy, small and nicely made up Sand Creek Campground in the town of Torrey. It turns out that Harry, who runs the place with his wife Leslie, is a passionate river runner and we chat for a while in the morning.
Then I catch a ride across the mountain pass, taking in the beautiful sights and feeling good to be up this high (almost 3000m). The treeline is much higher here and the birches are beautiful in the snow.
I reach the town of Boulder, Utah in the early afternoon. After visiting the local Anasazi Museum and excavation site, I make my way down towards the Hells Backbone Grill. This place has been recommended to me multiple times and I have read about the incredible women who are running the place. In short, they are an integral part of a lawsuit against Donald Trump. In 2017 he committed the largest elimination of protected areas in American history, minimizing the Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by more than half, potentially opening 5em to mining and fracking. Of course, there are multiple perspectives to the rights and responsabilities towards public lands, but today I want to learn about the perspective of Jennifer Castle and Blake Spalding. To know more about this, please read this great article from the New Yorker.
Blake agrees to meet me later and I book a table to eat a fancy and famous dinner at Hell’s Backbone Grill, where the cuisine follows a true farm to table philosophy, serving only locally grown food that are freshly prepared. Many of the ingredients come from the farm that is connected to the restaurant and when I finally sit down to eat, and the first little bite of a fresh biscuit with sage butter is melting in my tongue, I am beginning to fly up into culinary heaven. And that is where I stay all the way to the delicious chocolate dessert.
Talking to Blake and Jenn is inspiring and I am in awe of their energy and passion, but also their humility and intelligence. Not only their political moves are impressive, but it is great to see how they have also truly become a great team of two very different but equally strong minded women, leading this restaurant and all that is connected to it over the years. Especially since there were some obvious challenges connected to doing so in this rural little town of 250 inhabitants, many of whose inhabitants are Mormon and conservative. Over time, it seems, they have become an integral and important part of this town.