Guest Editorial: Living on the Wasatch behind is a pretty good life
Eastern Utah should be a part of Colorado. Things are different on this side of the mountain. We have little in common with people on the Wasatch Front and we get no respect. The TV weatherman always stands in front of Vernal and Price. The Utah that most people know begins at Soldier Summit and goes downhill from there.
But, it's okay. I like living in Carbon County because we're still free here, and we know who we are. Simply put, we are the best people in the world. We are the sons and daughters of immigrant families from many cultural and ethnic backgrounds who created a special society here, different from anywhere else in Utah. We are the children of Greeks, Slavs, Italians, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Scandinavians, Mexicans, Orientals, and even a few misplaced Irishmen. Our fathers worked in the mines, ripping the black guts from the surrounding mountains to feed their families. We have many different names, faces, and churches in Carbon County, but we are all family here Ã¯Â¿Â½ the true American ideal.
And, in this valley, we are still free. Free from the anthill traffic of the Wasatch Front, the pollution, and the mindset. This is a great place to live. The sun shines on my side of the mountain all winter long and we don't have any red burn days. I know most of the people at the grocery store, and I feel like the whole valley is my home. Price, Helper, Scofield, Wellington, East Carbon, Columbia, Sunnyside, Kiz, Victor, Hiawatha, Carbonville, Miller Creek, and even the Marsing Subdivision way out on the Elmo frontier, it's all home to me. We are family.
This is the best place in the whole world to live. It is true that Castle Valley is not the prettiest place in Utah, but I submit that it is the most versatile. In just 30 minutes from my home in the county, I can be in the pines and quakies of Huntington Canyon or the red rock desert of Buckhorn Wash - two completely different ecosystems - and I have a choice. Try that in Denver or Seattle. We are a gateway to Pleasant Valley and the Scofield area, the Skyline Drive, Nine Mile Canyon, the Book Cliffs, the San Rafael Swell, and Lake Powell. We live in an area as diverse as Caesar's salad and as rich as creamy chocolate in landscapes, culture, and history.
Here in Carbon County I can take the kids camping without paying a fee or waiting in line, and I can sight-in my old ought-six on the backside of Four Mile Hill without anyone calling the cops. I can keep a dog in my yard, a horse in my field, and a big American flag on my porch if I want to. I can drive my big four-wheel-drive pickup truck with an NRA sticker or a "Spotted Owls taste like Chicken" bumper sticker and not have anyone give me a one-fingered salute as sometimes happens on the streets of SLOP (Salt Lake, Orem, Provo). Those city folks have absolutely no sense of humor. They take themselves way too seriously.
I've always wondered how the west side of the mountain got to be the Wasatch Front. Those people are the ones who really live on the Wasatch behind, they just don't want to admit it. Wasn't the westward migration of pioneers in the 1800s accomplished from east to west - Missouri to California? If so, wouldn't that have made the east side of the mountain, the side we live on, the front of the mountain? Think about it.
I'm sure that old Uncle Spud McCourt, when he first came here on the railroad in the late 1890s, didn't get his first glimpse of the Wasatch from somewhere down near Green River and loudly proclaim, "Oh look Fannie Mae, you can see the back of the Wasatch mountains from here." It just doesn't seem probable to me.
And so, how did the I-15 corridor become the Wasatch Front? I don't know for sure, but I have a theory. It must be that those unhappy souls who live in Happy Valley are always looking back over their shoulders toward the eastern mountains, wishing that their ancestors had settled in Castle Valley like ours did.