Sunday, April 17, 2011

Canyonlands Diary entry

I've been very busy
I had a 2-week artist residency in New Mexico and fell in love with the
southwest
it was coincidental then that I'd been planning a trip to Utah with several
women to go backpacking in Canyonlands National Park, so a week after coming
home from the residency we left for Utah
it was a LONG drive, but we were 6 people as far as Denver, where we dropped
off 3 and picked up one girl flying in for the backpacking part and then
drove on to Glenwood Springs, Colorado--all this in ONE day
we had to drive through a snowstorm over the mountains, I credit my friend
Julie with nerves of steel, actually there was very little traffic and we
only found out a week later that the officials closed the highway later
that evening. We got into Glenwood Springs before midnight never even seeing
the mountains we drove through
the next day we drove to Utah, south of Moab and to Canyonlands where after
getting our backcountry permit it still took us 4 hours to find the
trailhead on a road really not meant for a minivan--haha
again we were up so high to start the hike there were snow drifts banked by
the dirt road--and STEEP dropoffs, again Julie was driving
We began hiking down into a canyon where there were still remnants of a
pioneer farmer, his cabin and the frame of his wagon, I have no idea how he
really got down into the canyon as the path we took was winding and rutted
with rocks, we even saw his cattle fence made of pinion pine, a durable wood
like the Joshua tree that grows under the harshest of conditions and pretty
much lasts forever








each day of the hike we were able to SEE from not too far away and also walk
up to Ananzi pictographs on walls from 700 - 1000 years ago amazing,




and pottery shards scattered around. The park trusts that you will not take
anything with you, and so it is left there for us to "discover"


there was also under the stone ledges of the cliffs ruins left by these
people who they think about 700 years ago suddenly left the area, perhaps
they think joining up with the Navajos and being assimilated into their
culture
so we saw evidence of their houses and grainerys still there in the rocks
we followed a creek running through the canyonland, so we had access to water
the entire time,
climbing back out took the whole last day of the hike, we saw majestic views
and I mean every bit of that word,


the hike out involved ladders set against the rock cliffs, this was not so
easy to do with backpacks, good thing we'd eaten most of our food

we camped in the campground that evening and next day drove to Arches Nat.
Park about 80 miles north, on our way out
we hiked to several arches, I felt like a naturalist, ticking them off a
list the next morning we had a wild plan--to get up before the sun and drive
around to the WINDOWS ARCHES, as we climbed up to it in semi-darkness there
were a few people, but as we walked through the arch we saw on the eastern
side a gaggle of photographers sitting like pigeons on the rocks, roosting
with their tripods. I traversed over to them and waited in the COLD, as the
sun peeked over the horizon and the light began to hit the arch there was
MAGIC--the rocks went gold and then red, there was so much clicking taking
place that it was deafening


now, like many artists, I feel a pull to the southwest, but also in a much
more practical sense--you NEVER have to worry about weather there, it is
warm and USUALLY sunny,
this a.m. in Chicago it was 35 degrees and the weathermen are predicting
SNOW for tonight

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