I was invited to go on a hummer tour on Thursday to the Barracks Ranch and Baybill Canyon by Ken, tour guide and co-owner of Windows of the West Tours. There are photos that I will post later, but the tour itself left me with many things to think about and process about my life, path, and next move.
The information I got while on the tour left me with visuals, including their logo, that came back to me in meditation and dreams. Windows of the West – I kept “seeing” a big bay window, which can be a symbol of gaining a wider perspective on things. The tour and the scenery were amazing, but it was my conversations with Ken that made my day and the experience so wonderful.
His family settled in the Kanab area about 140 years ago and his great, great-grandfather was Jacob Hamblin, one of the settlers of the area. I find the Mormon Heritage and history so rich and wonderful and soak up the information like a sponge. Ken was also part of what he called the “second generation” of movie extras in the area, back when Kane County was attracting business from the film industry. His memories include the goofy side of actor James Arness (Marshal Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke), James Garner on the sidelines cheering at his high school football games, and how Telly Savalas was a true family man.
I was captivated by the stories which were as diverse in nature as the landscape in Kane County. His stories about his Mormon heritage were told as we walked to and through the slot canyons of Baybill Canyon, his personal movie experiences he shared while we drove over red desert sands to Peekaboo Canyon, and Ken finished with stories about watching the bombs over the desert while we were driving through Best Friends Animal Society.
Ken referred to himself as one of the “down winders” from the Nevada test sites. He talked about how they were told to go outside and watch when the bombs were scheduled to go off. He also brought up the fact that there are no cowboys and ranchers left – alive – who were out on what is now known as the Arizona Strip during the tests. Back then, before cell phones, the cowboys were out on the range for a couple of weeks at a time and Ken wondered what they thought the explosions were and if they realized that the sunburns on their arms and faces were caused by them.
Something Ken said that I’ve heard from others – even non-locals, was that no one thought about what would happen to the people and the land in southern Utah. Yes, my Windows of the West hummer tour left me with a broader perspective on the area, the people, and the history in southern Utah.