April 16, 2013


I wrote this down days ago but didn't have enough time, patience with outer-lands wireless, to post so it's all been resting as a draft. Sometimes I like sleeping on it, reflecting the next morning before my mother, my best friend, my favorite high school teacher, my ex-boyfriends go at it. And I woke up the following day with the intent of erasing and starting over, concerned what I had written was too blue, no sunshine, no grateful "vacay" bliss. But yesterday while driving hours through the Indian Reservation lands, I had a change of heart. 

We're in Arizona earlier than expected. We left California, and I've grown heavy hearted. Our adventure in Joshua Tree, Twenty-Nine Palms, more California desert, was aborted when I realized that leggy blondes in flower crowns, tripping on ecstasy, had taken over the entire region for not one, but two weekends (see: Coachella Music Festival). A dream deferred, not unlike my general relationship with California. 

We camped in the Grand Canyon for a few nights; freaky scary, freaky beautiful, and just plain freaky because the national park doubles as a small town with townie people that I'm getting a handful of while I steal wifi from the public library. I identify with the freaky townie part.
I'm enjoying the view, I'm trying to enjoy the fucking view!, but I can't ignore the fact that coming here will never just be about the view because there also has to be three gift shops (all selling miniature Native American lady doll figurines - plain freaky), five cafeterias, two ice cream shoppes, one cocktail bar, and probably more gift shops that I just haven't seen yet. Um, is this all really fucking necessary? Do you really need a graphic T-shirt made in Bangladesh that says "I hiked the Skeleton Trail!"? - you didn't fucking hike the Skeleton Trail because you're too full of Grand Canyon themed kettle-corn to make it out alive. But I guess if these things weren't here, there wouldn't be any funding to make sure that the wild elk aren't being fed the rest of your hot dogs or that the septuagenarians with oxygen tanks leaning over the rim to pose for pictures don't croak right over. It's a beautiful cycle. I'm beginning to think the National Parks and my attitude will never jive in harmony. What about a tee that reads "All I wanted was a nice view of the Grand Canyon, a water fountain, a bathroom, and a maybe a postcard for mom, but instead all I got was this shitty T-shirt and a coca-cola." 

My favorite part of the Grand-eur? Bundled up at our site, grilling vegetables for campfire tacos, drinking cheap red wine, Lily snoring at my side. We did hike a nearly vertical mile and a half down the canyon. It was similar to my experience climbing in Yosemite in that I was coming to terms with  the possibility of death for most of the trek. Is this what Fred meant when he said it would be a spiritual journey? Just a quick mile and a half before I looked back to see Nate clinging to the rock wall like a barnacle at low tide. It was refreshing and empowering for once not being the caboose, the scaredy-cat, the complainer - states of being I generally excel at. We turned around at his request, who, realizing he'd only ever fucked with east coast heights, avoided the vertiginous canyons below canyons below canyons.

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