For the first part of March I was lucky enough to be back in Salt Lake for some work-stuff, but also to spend some much needed time with my mountains, the city that holds my heart, and dear friends and family. The road to my northern home is approximately 700 miles long, and it’s primarily desert. But, the desert is, in ways both figurative and literal, my other home. I was driving by myself, which meant I could stop as often as I wanted to for pictures and little hikes. Frankly, I don’t know why I don’t do that EVERY time I make this drive!
There are several places in Utah and Arizona with these stripey hills and cliffs. Most are red, but the ones here are a greenish-gray with purple-y stripes and I have always loved them. They kind of look like enormous elephants taking a nap, and you know how much I like elephants. As you near Page on the Utah-Arizona border you wind your way to the top of the plateau that towers over Lake Powell and instead of looking up at the cliffs and formations you have the somewhat-stomach-dropping opportunity to (lay flat on your belly, inch towards the edge and) look down into the beginnings of the Grand Canyon at the famous Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River.
I really wish that I had a lens to capture the enormity of this view, a major wide-angle or something so you can comprehend the vastness of the space, but also, comparatively how this tremendous bend doesn’t seem enormous when compared to the horizon and the knowledge that this is the northern end of the Grand Canyon plateau.
I mean, yes, it’s huge. Those are scrubby trees down there on the shore, not sage brush. But to think about how small this one particular place is on a river almost 1,500 miles long. This water started as snow in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and winds it’s way through the deserts of Utah and Arizona, supplying power for Las Vegas and Southern California, before emptying into the Baja and on to the Pacific. And this is just one, tiny little bend of that river.
You can see a tiny smidge of white on the river, that is the wake of a pretty massive speed boat, the kind that could easily hold a party of water skiers without feeling crowded.
Goodness, this earth is gorgeous. I realize I’m biased, but I just cannot imagine how anywhere else can give you the thrill of redrock country. The cliffs, the scale, the colors, and the knowledge that a river of melted snow created hundreds and hundreds of miles of stuff like this. It’s the kind of thought that makes you feel incredibly small and unimportant, yet also determined to protect these spaces.
Beautiful pictures! I love going to National Parks and am sad to say that I have yet to go to the Grand Canyon. Some day. It’s simply amazing.
I feel super lucky to have visited both the North and South rims, however I haven’t actually been down inside the Canyon yet…it’s on the list! 🙂
On Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 11:40 AM, Feisty Harriet wrote:
This is so beautiful! I would really like to come to the States in the next few years and do a road trip. And by the way – I’m just the same, I can’t resist stopping and taking photos, even when I’m supposed to be powering through.
I think the only real downfall to a road trip in the US is how very very far apart everything is, especially in the West. I mean, there are lots of vistas and little stops all over the place, but the Big Things are hours and hours and hours apart. I mean, you can drive for 7 hours and be in the same state. And that can get tedious for road-tripping.
BUT! If you decide to do that, I am totally down for piggy-backing on part of your trip! We could go adventuring together! (Tramping up snowy mountains not required.)
It sometimes baffles me how incredibly WOW the Western US is. I mean, the East is nice too, but it won’t ever have the same reaction for me. 🙂
Beautiful photos. I love that you stopped along the route to hike and take pictures. There were so many times when I’d drive from my house to my grandmother’s house 3.5 hours away in Texas and I’d think I’d stop for pictures but I never would–always too set on getting to my destination quickly. Kudos to you for committing to stop and savor the desert!
I am getting a lot better at it as I get older, I like the variety and my poor back/hips/neck need the chance to stretch a little bit. Ha! I feel old now. LOL.
Horseshoe Bend is my FAVORITE <3
It was so swoony, I can’t believe I had never stopped there before (although, I don’t usually go through Page when I drive north, so, there’s that.) Next up: Antelope Canyon.
On Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 11:01 AM, Feisty Harriet wrote: