Where have the jeeps gone?


May 25, 2020
There is a trail, not far from our home, which my wife and I often walk.
It follows a red rock terrace above an area frequented by Sedona’s “famous” Jeep Corporation. Just beyond the jeep roads is a rugged expanse of sandstone wilderness. During April and early May, we walked this route regularly. For 50 days or so, it was pleasantly silent, only black tread marks on the red rock below to remind us of the past deluge of off road vehicles.

During that same time, Sedona was given back to the locals. We went to the store at any time of day, even on weekends, without fear of being stuck in traffic behind throngs of vehicles with rental plates from Nevada, Texas, California or Arizona. The reclamation of Sedona came at great expense. Nearly 100,000 lives have been lost in the United States from the Pandemic.

We walked that same route the other day, the first time in a couple of weeks. On our way back home, we passed Chicken Point, which so many tourists visit in one of those pastel colored Jeeps owned by a, no longer local, corporation. Walking by, we saw no Jeeps, only two SUV’s parked near the rock’s edge. With roof top tents deployed, rap music blasted from the 4x4s and echoed into the wilderness.

Later that evening on the local news I saw images of garbage left by campers in our National Forests and people in long lines, with coolers in hand, waiting to float a Phoenix area river. I saw crowds in bars and along beaches throughout the US.

Is the COVID-19 Pandemic the planet’s way of asking us, begging us, perhaps forcing us to pay attention? Are we paying attention? What will we learn from this event? Maybe we should quiet ourselves in the wilderness, take care of each other, and be kind to the planet. Governments may allow a return to “normalcy” but, eventually, Earth will have the last word. I sincerely hope that I am no longer on the planet when that last word is spoken.


“Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature.
Unaware that this Nature that he has been destroying is this invisible God he’s worshipping.”

 Hubert Reeves, Canadian astrophysicist