Category Archives: Southwest

Peralta Canyon, Superstition Wilderness, Arizona

IMG_0406That’s Weaver’s Needle in the background. It doesn’t look like a needle to me…but I didn’t name it. Whatever people have decided to call it, the formation is stunning. This day I hiked with my friends Trent and Jason from herb school on a spring afternoon. I remember seeing a diamond back rattler for the first time…We got all sweaty and sunburned and still went to class that evening. This is one of my favorite pictures.

Looking closely you can see how mountainous the desert really is. The trail head for Peralta Canyon was about 40 minutes drive from Phoenix.  I sometimes miss the close proximity to wild space and the vibe of cowboy freedom I experienced in the American Southwest.

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

DSCN0511

Undoubtedly one of the best road trips of all time was across Southern Utah.  Do it if you have not! This was taken in March 2011. It was too rainy to hit the bike trail that day, which made for an incredibly lucky and unusual view at Arches. The whole place was covered in dense fog that never lifted. As the sun began to set toward the end of the hike there were actually a few moments of concern over the possibility of missing the trail. Fortunately I lived to tell the story =)

Episodes and Visions

An excerpt from the book that has become my favorite, by the writer like whom I aspire to become.IMG_3726

“What can I tell them? Sealed in their metallic shells like molluscs on wheels, how can I pry the people free? The auto as tin can, the park ranger as opener. look here, I want to say, for godsake folks get out of them there machines, take off those fucking sunglasses and unpeel both eyeballs, look around; throw away those goddamned idiotic camericas! For chrissake folks what is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare? eh? Take off your shoes for a while, unzip your fly, piss hearty, dig your toes in the hot sand, feel that raw and rugged earth, split a couple of big toenails, draw blood! Why not? Jesus Christ, lady, roll that window down! You can’t see the desert if you can’t smell it. Dusty? Of course it’s dusty – this is Utah! But it’s good dust, good red Utahn dust, rich in iron, rich in irony.  Turn that motor off. Get out of that piece of iron and stretch your varicose veins, take off your brassiere and get some hot sun on your old wrinkled dugs! You sir, squinting at th map with your radiator boiling over and your fuel pump vapor-locked, crawl out of that shiny hunk of GM junk and take a walk – yes, leave the old lady and those squawling brats behind for a while, turn your back on them and take a long quiet walk straight into the canyons, get lost for a while, come back when you damn well feel like it, it’ll do you and her and them a world of good.  Give the kids a break too, let them out of the car, let them go scrambling over the rocks hunting for rattlesnakes and scorpions and anthills-yes sir, let them out, turn them loose; how dare you imprison little children in your goddamned upholstered horseless hearse? Yes sir, yes madam, I entreat you, get out of those motorized wheelchairs, get off your foam rubber backsides, stand up straight like men! like women! like human beings! and walk-walk-WALK upon our sweet and blessed land!”

~Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire pp 261-262.

It’s Always Sunny in…Arizona

While I love that Virginia has 4 distinct seasons, each one with its own vibe and feeling both outdoors and in, the dreary East Coast winter has really got me craving some warmth. Rather than focusing on its absence and the possibility of 4 more inches of snowfall, I’ll just share some pictures from my days living in Arizona. Where it is sunny and you adventure in some part of the state for more than 300 days of the year. That kind of sun exposure overwhelmed my senses and made me a little more than manic, but the pictures from my past take the chill of my bones and my heart. Enjoy a few Sonoran views with me…(featured image is a view of Watson Lake in Prescott)

DSCN2170
Sonoran Sunset…from the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix
DSCN1437
Sunny mood inspiring St. John’s Wort, Hypericum perforatum. Flagstaff
DSCN1028
Devil’s Bridge. Sedona
DSCN0857
Prickly Poppy, Argemone mexicana. Agua Fria
IMG_0406
View of Weaver’s Needle from Peralta Canyon
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
View of Oak Flat and canyon area from a nearby ridge.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
View of some river delta…from a tiny Cesna airplane on the way to Lake Havasu
DSCN0919
Saguaro and the Valley of the Sun, view from the Hieroglyph Trail in the Superstition Wilderness