Holes and Dicks

I already know what you’re thinking, so let’s address the white elephant in the blog room. Yes, the title is definitely suggestive and maybe controversial, and some would presume the blog post content is bound to be risque or even perverse. Some of you may also think that by titling a blog post with a gratuitous sexual innuendo, I am pandering to readers, trying to lure them to my blog site, feeding their “let’s-just-see-what-he’s-up-to” curiosity.

And I’m okay with that. But what if I told you that the blog caption is really about Arches and Canyonlands National Parks? Because everywhere you look across the landscape, it’s either a yoni or a phallus of varying shapes and sizes–sometimes alone, and sometime together. Need proof? Arches first…

then Canyonlands…

I can think of two factors that put both parks in perspective.

First of all, both parks are almost next door to each other, separated by US-191 and thirty minutes apart. Imagine two National Parks being that close to each other without touching–making it possible to visit both parks in one day, but highly unlikely that anyone would have the stamina. It’s such a tease. It’s as if there’s a tantric energy between the parks.

Secondly, let’s take a look at the actual names given to each of the park’s attractions. Canyonlands is considered a backcountry mecca for campsites–some of which are called: White Crack, Potato Bottom, Candlestick, and Gooseberry (a cult aphrodisiac). Similarly, Arches has provocative names for its formations. For example, there’s The Organ, Garden of Eden, Fiery Furnace, and Double O Arch, just to name a few.

It’s not my imagination that almost everywhere around the parks, the sexual iconography is omnipresent. And then labeling the sites with sexual references is equally disturbing. So calling this post “Holes and Dicks”–while seemingly derivative of two national parks–is highly accurate, given the evidence.

However, beyond the Hieronymus Bosch backdrop, a landscape exists that can only qualify as other-worldly.

From Canyonlands…

Buck Canyon formations

crater detail (2)

gooseneck overlook panorama

Green River detail

Potash basin

potash drive

and from Arches…


Park Avenue


Balance Rock

South Window

However, returning to “Holes and Dicks”, another interpretation exists which is equally as worthy of consideration, and perhaps more significant.

While photographing the Turret Arch,

Turret Arch

I noticed unusual activity at the vortex and eye of the edifice.

climber and carver together

A small group had willfully climbed the structure despite explicit warnings, but my eye was on the “dick” in the red shirt, who had climbed inside the “hole”.

dick in hole

He seemed to be focused on the wall of the hole, but it wasn’t entirely clear to me until I zoomed in as far as my lens would allow…

carver detail

and realized that this shmuck was defacing the arch. I was livid that this putz would disrespect a 350 million-year-old shrine by carving his name into the sandstone. I felt like I was caught in the middle of a “What Would You Do?” moment. I scanned where I stood to see if anybody else had noticed, but John Quinones was nowhere in sight, and I had the only window to this dick’s desecration.

I showed Leah the photos after returning to the F-150. “Are you fucking kidding me?” she exclaimed. “You need to show these to the park ranger!”

She left the truck, and wrangled the ranger assigned to traffic control to the driver side of the truck to view the incriminating evidence. Despite the glaring sun, he saw enough of what he needed to see to dispatch a call to park law enforcement on his radio He pleaded for us to stay, while apologizing that our vacation might be inconvenienced by waiting for the officer in charge.

Ten minutes later, Officer Busbee arrived, reviewed the photographs, and determined that they were essential to prosecuting the individual. I volunteered to email the files when able, and we were on our way back to the Airstream.

Downloading took longer than expected given such a weak signal (see Indebted to the Internet), but eventually the email was sent:

Dear Officer Busbee,

I hope these pictures are of service to you.
I’m a firm believer of protecting the legacy of National Parks for future generations,
and take offense when others spoil or jeopardize their preservation.
I trust you will keep me in the loop regarding the status and disposition.
Neal Lubetsky

All I could do was await a response, which arrived the following day:

Hello, Mr Lubetsky,

Thank you for the photographs.
Unfortunately, we were unable to make contact with the violators.
I appreciate your concern for the Parks.  They are indeed very special places that are preserved for all to enjoy, now and in the future.
Thank you again.
Kindest regards-
While it was disappointing that the vandal got away, I felt vindicated in my effort to stop him from diminishing the importance of what the Park Service represents.
I trust my story justifies the title, but still, you’d have to admit that the scenery is provocative, and it is a worthy backdoor strategy to introducing other readers to my blog.

5 thoughts on “Holes and Dicks

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