First Look From the Road- Zion National Park, Utah

   the three patriarchs, Zion National Park

There are several very special songs I listen to on road trips. Well, thats not true, I listen to almost anything that strikes the mood ( there is a wonderful memory I have of singing I’ll Make A Man Out of You, from the Mulan soundtrack while driving through the endless cornfields of Kansas) and while some people have strict rules about the proper songs to listen to while out on the great open road, I honestly can’t listen to music for very long before I get bored and need to put on a podcast or lecture.

But.

Like I said, there are several specific songs I make an effort to always and without fail listen to, with the window down if at all possible and the volume turned up to just below car-shaking. These songs are as follows:

Cold As Ice– Foreigner
Shoot To Thrill– AC/DC
Don’t Stop Believin’– Journey
Hold The Line– Toto

I know, trust me, all the things you could say about my choices here- but you can blame my 12 year old self that still resides in my deepest of hearts, cause when life is going so well, when the sky is opening up in front of me and the road is my friend and most trusted companion, these are the only songs I want to sing out in all the wrong keys and so loud that the echo of my voice leaves an imprint in my memories of that moment. Thankfully the boyfriend usually always indulges me and this tradition and even sings along with me, and the drive up from the Grand Canyon, out of Arizon to Utah and Zion National Park was no different.

~m

P.S an actual post on the wonder and beauty of Zion to follow soon. 

Hermits Road- The Grand Canyon, South Rim, Arizona

grandcanyon overlooks, south rim Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon the grand canyon, south rim, at sunrise Ms Fables at the grand canyon, south rim Empty at sunrise, grand canyon

“And the still and the quiet almost took my breath away, though I guess the altitude claimed that first” 

We made it up to Hermits Road and the first overlook just a little after actual sunrise, but just in time to miss the busload of people finishing up their Sunrise Tour, so my inability to roll out of bed on time actually paid off greatly. The Grand Canyon at the beginning of March is apparently a popular time- if the day before was any indication- but that Monday morning, most if not all of the overlooks were either empty of people or near enough that we could really take in the expansive vistas and just watch the changing light patterns over the formations.

( There was debate about stopping in at the Geology Museum near the visitors center but we decided against it, which probably ended up being a good thing because the next few days where just chock-full of geological marvels and I think it’s better that I didn’t get my fill of looking at “rocks” on the first stop. Indeed, I ended up buying a really overpriced geology book a couple of days later at a gift shop in Bryce Canyon that I think i’m probably gonna treasure forever, so, no regrets about missing that.  )

The Grand Canyon was left behind in our rearview mirror sometime around 9 in the morning, after we stopped for breakfast in one of the cafeteria style restaurants in the Village, and we left by the East Rim exit, stopping at one last overlook on our way out to formally say goodbye. We headed north towards Zion and I remember looking back and wondering if we would ever come back one day and even now I can’t honestly say if I will….i’d love to see the North Rim, but… I almost feel like coming back later would ruin this first and only experience.

~m

The Colors In The Rocks- The Grand Canyon,East Rim, Arizona

east rim, Grand Canyon view East Rim, afternoon light deep in the valley of stone, Grand Canyon East Rim the sky above the stone, east rim M watches the sunlight fade at the east rim, Grand Canyon

We left Texas at 5 in the morning on a slightly chilly Saturday.
Or well, me and the boyfriend left our house in North Texas at 5 in the morning and about 6 hours later we finally passed into The Land of Enchantment (also know more casually as New Mexico) because it takes what feels like an age and a day to just get out of Texas. Our goal was to make the 15+ hour drive in one day and arrive at the Grand Canyon by nightfall, ready to wake up bright and early and go trekking about.

We’d done more arduous drives before (aka that one time I convinced the boyfriend to do a roadtrip through 7 states in 3 days, something that to this day I don’t think he’s quite forgiven me for) and as long I had caffeine, I could drive for as long as needed. I was also pretty excited just to be away from work and the stress building there, plus i’d been sorely neglecting my podcasts listening habits and was eager to have hours of uninterrupted time to really delve into some new shows people had been raving about. There were 3 shows I especially wanted to listen to, Wolf 395, Limetown and The Black Tapes I had already gotten hooked on Limetown and convinced the bf to listen to the first two episodes with me again, after which he was reeled in too, and we listened to it well into our drive through New Mexico. Wolf 395 proved to be a major thumbs down for us after just the first episode, but then came the Black Tapes , which we started listening to as the sun began it’s downward decent in Arizona. It’s a very freaky and at time deeply disturbing show (though somehow still lightly humorous and engaging?) and perhaps it wasn’t the best pick for driving into the night but it kept us awake for that last leg of the drive and when the bright lights and suburban sprawl of Flagstaff came into sight, we knew we were almost there.

We arrived in the small not-actual-town of Tusayan, just outside of the South Rim entrance to the Grand Canyon just around 9:30 pm, about 16 hours after we’d left home and checked into our hotel to pass out for the night. I wish I could say we went with the  previous plan to wake up bright and early, but instead we slept in like kings and I ate Corn Nuts for breakfast while lazily planning out our next few days nestled in my beds quite comfy comforter. Finally, plans settled, maps purchased and ill-advised shoes laced up (more on that later), we headed out. The visitors center was packed, and we learned we had missed the cutoff dates for private cars in the park by only 2 days. If we had arrived later as we had originally been planning, only shuttle service would have been available on Hermit Road (the drive you take for almost all the scenic views on the South Rim) as road closure dates are March 1 through November 30. So, poor planning somehow worked in our favor and we got to drive around to our hearts content for the 2 days we were there. The North Rim however, which I had wanted to see and was planning on using most of the second day for, was closed, and is closed every year until May 15th. I would have liked to see a less developed part of the Grand Canyon, but more on that later.

The views were amazing all over Hermit Road on the south rim, but we headed to the east rim to check out the Watchtower and wait for the sun to start heading down so I could get better light. I’ve read the best place to watch the sunset over the Grand Canyon is over on almost any overlook on Hermits road, but I am a contrary kind of person and besides, I think I got a rather spectacular view of the way the light fades into the stones and rocky foundations on the canyon, even if I was on the East Rim. To tell you the truth, both me and the bf agree that while the drive is longer on the east rim, the views (and the crowds) are much better than on the south rim. And if your head is going in circles with all this talk of “rims” basically:

South Rim– Hermits Road, huge visitors center, Grand Canyon Village, loads of crowds and cars
East Rim– Watchtower and desert views, less crowds
North Rim– Underdeveloped compared to the above, closed half the year, a real pain in the butt to get to

After we watched most of the light fade, we headed back into town for pizza and an early night in,with solid plans this time to wake up early this time, so we could catch the sunrise on Hermits Road.

~m

The Watchtower- The Grand Canyon, East Rim, Arizona

from a distance, the Watchtower, east rim , Arizona grandcanyond

A more comprehensive post will follow on how exactly I got to the Grand Canyon from Texas, tips on where to stay and how to get here as well as how to get around, the best places to see and what you can probably skip but, for now…. I will just post these. 

the watchtower, grand canyon the watchtower, Grand Canyon East Rim

Eastrim, Grand Canyon at midday
looking towards the desert flats, East Rim Grand Canyon
The Watchtower at the EastRim
from the look outs, The Watchtower

This was the first magnificent (though not the first overall) view I got of the Grand Canyon and I sat on a bench near the edge for what felt like ages but was probably closer to 20 minutes, just gazing into the immensity. It felt like I could have sat there and looked for years and still have had some detail to observe, some shifting of the light that would illuminate a surface or ravine previously unseen. It was grand, in all the sense of the word. 

~m

Art Journal Monday- The Devil Does Not Wait

lyrics, art journal monday Art Journal Monda the devil calls and I will follow, art journal pages art journal monday, fables and coffee

March is here, and we’re in the ides of it and I made a joke to the bf that now is the perfect time for me to get stabbed in the back by someone. He just shook his head at my inanity and said “no one’s gonna stab you” and went back to half watching an especially wild episode of The X Files.

I have twin desires, the first being to blow past any and all expectations people might have of me, whether thats at work, in my personal life or just driving down the highway and inadvertently starting a race with the Mustang next to me; this drive to push forward in anything I encounter- maybe not to be the best but certainly to get close to it. My other desire? To life a stress-free life in obscurity. You can probably see how very much these two things do not complement each other.

Burning curiosity, I think thats my fatal flaw. Or maybe it’s the callous boredom that follows after i’ve absorbed all the information I can on a subject without trying for a degree in it. Either way, there’s that feeling I get in all my relationships, platonic or not so much, that I exasperate people with a terrible ease and that’s how we come back full circle to the Caesar reference.  Maybe i’m just feeling especially morbid this time a year? I don’t know, I think I probably just need more coffee in my daily life and less stress.

Songs on Repeat- 
Me and The Devil– Soap & Skin
No Angels– Bastille Ft Ella
Adagio for Strings– Bastille Ft. Maiday
Young Folks– Peter Bjorn and John

Still editing photos from the roadtrip I took through the southwest of these United States and currently I have 14 folders with an average of 12 photos, each corresponding to a potential post, plus another folder with misc. photos. So…..I mean….i’ll get there eventually. The trip wore me out in a good way, but then I got sick something dreadful on Sunday and have just recently started feeling better. Work is kicking my ass and the expectations there feel just a knife edge towards overwhelming and my thoughts of running away to Alaska have returned with a vengeance. But for now at least, my desire to face down expectations with a grin and automaton like precision is winning out. Wish me luck dear readers, in surviving this next month with my sleeping patterns intact.

Not drowning in my coffee cups just yet,
~m