The Golden Cathedral
The Golden Cathedral, another one of Utah’s many wonders, looks like something straight out of a fantasy story. Having never seen it before, I wondered whether or not it would live up to its name. After having seen it, I can’t even imagine it bearing another. I’m not a religious person, but this was one church that brought me to my knees. I was not fortunate enough to hike there after a rain, but there are times, I’m told, when a stream of water falls out of the pour-hole in the cathedral’s ceiling. I have a paranoid fear of flash floods, though, so I can’t imagine myself willingly walking out there in the rain anyway. Water or no water, I urge anyone with time and means to visit.
The Golden Cathedral has appeared on the cover of National Geographic magazine. I was surprised to learn this, because for having so much celebrity, it is not advertised at all. No signs, no clear path, and no paved roads to the trail-head. I mentioned in my last post, that I continue to return to the canyon-country around Escalante because the wonders are many and the people are few. Being managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), this beauty-rich place is kept largely as it is. A few unmaintained roads and some obscure trailheads are all you have to go by, which means you’ve got to actually know where you’re headed as you hike, otherwise you’ll just wander around and sweat.
When we sat in the Cathedral, we sat alone, a rare experience at known natural wonders. It was silent. I remember being similarly impressed when I first saw El Capitan in Yosemite before I realized I was looking out of a car window in stop-and-go traffic caused by an animal sighting ahead which had every person –in their eager turn of course –opening their windows and taking pictures while whispering ‘ooohs’ and ‘aahhhs’ like those you hear beneath a fireworks show. Not here though. It is easy enough to get to if you really want to get to it, but hard enough that not quite as many people actually want to.
There were a few of hikers in the area. We mostly saw them from a distance. One group, though, came into the cathedral from above. Apparently, there is a technical route you can take that finishes with a repel down through the pour-hole and into the water below. It takes some time and some planning, but watching them all come down, I can only imagine that it was worth it.
Normally, I would have a short story or something to go along with these pictures. I don’t this time. All my desert and canyon short stories were ending in death and sorrow and gore, so I decided to keep this one simple –a little more ‘churchy’. I hope you enjoy the photographs.