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Hot, harsh, arid wastelands, nothing but sand, sky, and rocks. Majestic, sweeping landscapes, teeming with a life that seems it shouldn’t be, and more things to see, experience, and explore than one could imagine to fit in a lifetime. These are two ways to describe the desert, neither wrong, and neither giving the whole picture. A land of contrasts, with razor thin lines between polar opposites: pleasure and pain, life and death, success and failure, bleakness and beauty. The desert is a truly desolate and wondrous place.

Carston Oliver, “Utah by Dirt: Seeking the Secrets of the Desert,” National Geographic, June 26, 2015