Go Far // Grand Canyon Part I

A good indication that you had a totally rad vacation: you can't wait to leave and go back again.  My week long sojourn to Mojave, Grand Canyon, and Zion absolutely floored me.  I have never seen anything like it.  I'm bubbling over with inspiration and a rejuvenated sense of purpose in the world, and spending my time daydreaming about new work and new adventures in southern Utah.  Here is a little snapshot at the first leg of our trip, enjoy.

Part One

Lynsey, my best bud, and I set off early in the morning toward Mojave National Preserve.  We took our time on the road, stopping for snacks, bathroom breaks, and picture snapping.

Lots of little shops along the way selling homemade canned and jarred goods

Found a perfect hat for hiking at Murray Family Farms

Passed tons of antique stores, this one was... um, not really sure where we were....

We really had no idea what to expect of Mojave (I have yet to meet anyone who has been there?!), but we knew that all campsites are first come first serve-- and during the summer it was unlikely to get stuck without a site. When we arrived it looked a lot like Joshua Tree, with the Cholla cacti humming with an electric halo when the sun hit, the big boulders that look otherworldly.  We drove about 25 miles down a pink asphalt road and then 10 miles up a dirt road to reach the campsite, only a handful of other campers there.

We picked a campsite and quickly proceeded to immediately break the poles of our tent (bravo!) and settled on sleeping on top of the tent out in the open--probably one of the very best things that happened to us on the entire trip because the stars were so insane that night.  I've seen the stars at elevation and away from light pollution, but this was something else all together-- they say that Mojave, Great Basin and Zion are some of the best places to view stars in the country.  Add the Perseids meteor shower, and you have the basic ingredients for an acid trip sans acid.  It was totally neon, the Milkyway a vibrant swath of popping lights running through the middle of the sky, and it all felt so close that I had an unwavering sense of being wrapped up in God's quilt, snugly tucked into my earthly bed.  And I'm agnostic, so beat that.


Our little rental car that hauled us a total of 2190 miles in a week

Craft time

Watercolor of desert plant

Our road trip obsession: Gin.  Turns out the real scoring rules of Gin are way complicated...

In the morning I woke up and went for a short 4 mile run at sunrise, watching the desert flowers open up.  The Sacred Datura coyly bloomed with it's fragrant trumpets attracting bees in a steady hum above the absolute quiet of the soft golden morning.  My feet hit the dirt road, it was total ecstasy.

The deliriant/hallucinogen Sacred Datura, a desert plant that was used in sacred ceremonies by native people 

Found these massive caterpillars on the Sacred Datura plant... they were probably about 4 inches long each

On our way out of the camp we walked a short mile long trail at Hole-in-the-Wall which ended in some really awesome rock climbing using big heavy metal rings and rungs.  We then hit the road toward the South Rim, crossing into Arizona.  We stopped at Walmart {probably one of the worst things we did the whole trip} in order to buy a new tent... and I was totally shocked to see a woman walking around with a handgun tucked into the waist of her acid wash jeans!


We got to the campsite at the South Rim while it was raining, so we just threw on our tennis shoes and decided to make our way to the rim, to see our first view of the canyon.  I heard that the South Rim has the best views but the biggest crowds, and it definitely had a bit of both.  Lynsey and I just walked the Rim Trail for 5 miles, dipping in and out of crowded outlook points.  The canyon is so massive beyond belief, and all I wanted to do was start hitting the trails.

First views of the Canyon

At sunrise the next morning I got my wish, Lynsey and I packed out backpacks with all the essentials for hiking into the Canyon.  They do a great job of educating people about what you need to hike during the summer because sadly people do die attempting to hike the trails.  Getting to the Bright Angel trail at 6:30am allowed us to have the whole trail to ourselves for a few miles, and watching the sun drench the canyon walls with red and orange hues was spectacular.

I ended up hiking all the way out to Plateau Point, the longest day hike the park will let you do.  It was a solid 12 miles round trip, the plateau positioned over an incredible vista of the Colorado River flowing by in a milky brown roar.  I really felt enveloped by the whole entire canyon, deep inside with 360 degree views of the wonder of it all.

Bright Angel trail

View from 3 Mile Resthouse on the Bright Angel trail

Trails that look like bracelet links

Indian Gardens

Plateau Point

Inspiring textures

Part II to follow...

L O V E + M E T A L