The ultralight, despite Noah’s many attempts at muffling the big Rotax engine’s whine, usually announced itself a few seconds before it would rise from its furtive, belly-to-the-ground approach. It was his favorite tactic. The rock crawlers liked plateaus and ridges for thematic scenery. They thought the high ground would allow them to see him first. But he found arroyos and gullies and fins to hide in as he approached.
The yellow Drifter, his favorite, sped through a narrow canyon in the Box-Death Hollow Wilderness Area, west of Capitol Reef. Noah knew this old river channel intimately, so, despite the apparent danger of wingtips striking sedimentary walls, it seemed just another routine, quick in-and-out. He knew that on the plateau above the western wall, six powerful off-road vehicles were racing, one at a time, up a slickrock slope. Where the slope broke, cameras were set up — one to catch the undercarriage as it rose into view, huge wheels off the ground, and two on either side. The thin man’s clients favored this place. The middle camera would catch the snow-capped Henry Mountains to the east; then, suddenly, their big rock crawlers would rise up from seemingly nowhere, blotting out the Henrys. Rich men conquering nature, captured on DVD, sold well here, he thought.