My First Love; The Desert, and Our Reunion

Every year I do a trip to the southwest to visit the part of my soul that resides there. I was trying to describe this to someone the other day and the best I can do is this. There are places that feed the fire of your heart/soul, stoking it up so it expands and fills your chest, there are different places that do this for everyone. Other things can do this too, like creative works and what not, but for me it’s a few places located in various places such as: Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Montana. Of course there are other places out there also, things that I haven’t seen yet or maybe that I cannot draw from at this moment. This year I took along a friend of mine that I have had from high school, she’s amazing and it was totally worth showing her the places I had only talked about with people. In actuality she was the only one of my friends from Washington state (and childhood) that I have been able to share the places we saw together.

Exploring resets me, like a circadian rhythm, I come back to my reality a little sad to have to leave but more set on my goals and more clear of what I want from my life. Below is the image reel and mini description of what we saw and experiences.

Day 1: Leaving Seattle, WA (after fighting the TERRIBLE drivers that live in this city and visiting whole foods where we harassed the cashiers)IMG_2922

 

 

 

Image 1- After long driving through the night, with a small break at a rest stop the sun began to rise in Idaho.  This whole day was a rush which ended at Page, AZ.

Day 3-6 was spent visiting my family in AZ and also Flagstaff, Prescott and also Sycamore Canyon.

Day 6-8 were spent on the Colorado River below the Glen canyon dam, camping out under the stars, attempting to fish and drinking lots of good beers. This was the highlight of the trip for me, a great shooting star across the year. A happy hello and a sad goodbye.

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Day 8-9 was spend getting back from the trip, heading to williams and also hanging out with my sister for one last day.

Day 10- Getting to Moab, UT. There was rain, sun and snow along the way.

 

Day 11- Driving, lots of driving. Slept at rest stop next to “lucky lils” Casino, We did not test how lucky she really was…. Also went to Thompson Falls to visit my boss for my summer internship and check out the town. Very pretty town.

Day 12- Camping out near Alberton, Montana. This is a favorite place of mine, good fishing (specific location denied….) This was also the last day of the trip. Sitting by the crackling fire, we drank ginger beers and I played songs for Rachel on my Harmonica (not well I may add). After this we woke up and headed home back to reality.

When this trip ended it left me feeling hopeful followed by an overwhelming sense of lose, and I had no idea what to do next. It’s a new beginning, a chance at rebirth and by grace I have been given it, its difficult to let go of the things that bind us to the past but we must to make room for future.

 

Oh the places we have been

I wanted to take a moment before I wrote about my adventure today to tell you about where I came from. I am not talking my the womb of my mother but the place my mind was soul was born, Arizona (AZ). Most people when I tell them that I come from AZ exclaim how dreadful that must have been or something like how they just cant stand that there is just rocks and dirt. The first thing I ask is if they just visited Phoenix or the surrounding valley on their visit, the answer is typically “No, we went to Scottsdale” or something like that, well that’s just the rich side of Phoenix. Regardless of the answer I respond again by telling them if you drive north about an hour and a half and get off the freeway your idea of AZ should change.

I come from a place called Prescott (pronounced pres-scitt) which is called the mile high city and is amazing for lack of a better word. The scrub land mixed with large expansive ponderosa pines that smell of vanilla in the summertime when you scratch the bark.  The place is 70 is degrees most of the year, with a few months of heat (not near as bad as the valley) and a couple months of cold (colder then here in the PNW, with snow!). The town of Prescott has growth and changed like any desirable spot in the US the most common person moving in is the upper middle class/rich retired couple. They like it because its cooler then their home in Scottsdale and come up for the weekends most often. In my opinion the worst group of people to increase in the area, they require costcos/malls/olive gardens and typically have NO knowledge of what conservation is (see shopping at costco). There are other semi large groups such as; the college student (Embry-Riddle, Prescott college, yavapai), the outdoor folks (mountain biking love is here) and the random groups in between.

This place is magical, and a gateway to many of the wonders of Arizona. I have hiked, backpacked and climbed across some of it but haven’t come close to seeing all of them. From the redrock canyons with tranquil turquoise waters, to the high scrublands where the burrowing owls live in prairie dog holes and endangered black footed ferrets roam and to the iconic grand canyon and the mythical colorado river that runs through her. When people tell me they are to visit the grand canyon I tell them not to even try to go to the south rim but to take the long journey to the north rim where you can camp in the national forest, and hike the many trails seeing the canyon in your own time with out thousands of people swarming you drink tiny single use water bottles before throwing them and all their garbage on the ground where the crows and chipmunks take to feeding. The south rim is like cancer, to quote mr. Abbey again “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of a cancer cell” this place gets bigger and bigger allowing no one to have any idea was conservation is, for example the IRONY of the misters on the shade structures to keep people cool and refreshed while they take in the sights. Why is that ironic you might ask? Well the colorado is the most diverted river in the US, its waters feed New mexico, Colorado, Arizona and California, it even once fed Mexico, but we didn’t care about cutting those people off from the river long ago.The Colorado river is held above the grand canyon in what once was marble canyon but now is Lake Powell, filled in with water to create a hydroelectric dam to feed the needs of Phoenix. This river day to day, hour to hour has discharge rates that change as it reflects how much water needs to be flowing through the dam to create the power in consumption via Phoenix. As one could expect the river is very high in the middle of the day when it is toasty outside and the AC units are whirling away, with waters tragically low at night. The overall water loss through evaporation at lake Powell is staggering in an already water deficit area. There is simply not enough water for anyone, not even the great Grand Canyon.

So you see the misting is ironic because there isn’t enough water to feed peoples needs even most basic but the people have not discovered that. They haven’t discovered that their pools, dishwashers, 3 ACs used to cool one house, golf courses and water parks are the reason, next to the over population increase in the world, that the southwest will some day be a ghost town where everything is dead and empty cities sit with their empty pools collected dust as it is blow by. I long for that day to be honest, the desert will die, but it will come back with time and some many years later it will be what it once was, nature always takes herself back.

Okay so that got very serious, but the take away is that you should visit the southwest, respectfully and dutifully. How do you know what is being lost or at stake if you have never seen it for all its glory! I suggest Sycamore canyon near Clarksdale.

Good luck and get sustaining!

-Leah

dr seuss quote steer yourself