Arizona Rambles and Cañon Grande (the big ditch)

Last two days in Arizona, coming to you from a motel room in Santa Fe, NM. 


Gand Canyon National Park, Arizona

We step out of the car and in a few minutes we are walking the rim of the world! It really is better in real life, and at first sight of the Grand Canyon I am reminded of what made me fall in love with rocks a few years ago: Rocks tell histories, or  as Muir would have it they are ‘talkative.’ the Canyon is the most complete stratigraphic column in the world, some of the most ‘talkative’ rocks on Earth. I’m peering down for a glimpse of the vishnu schist and the Great Unconformity and other such stalwarts of Freshman Geology. It’s a bit hard though, as the Canyon is impossibly deep, there are people from every corner of the country dangling their legs stupidly off the edge,  my siblings are throwing snowballs at each other and one of them is wearing flipflops (“I’ll be fine. FINE!” Le Sigh. Later, frozen feet.) We don’t walk far on the rim trail, as per family in tow, but I can help but notice that every few meters the view changes: I see something I hadn’t noticed before, a different color in the layers, an exotic shade of light. Grand Canyon, I will be back.

In Between

Clapboard houses are strung sparse, mute in the samecolored desert—a rosaceae spectrum of blushing mounds—the washing out of canyonlands, grazed by gaunt and eyeless mules. Here, there is no echo: the plain rolls flush with sky and so there are instead women behind sandblown roadside selling tables, pineframed and draped in discolored bandañas. Laid out before them are polished hunks of turquoise, bits of iron wrought, feathered and beaded things, beaked kachinas. All this vanishes before red sand succumbs to vacuumlands, to breccia gravel and feathered grass—gold spread thin on blackened earth.*

Sunset Crater National Monument

VOLCANO! Have you ever walked on a snow covered lava flow in the shadow of an extinct cindercone? 😛


One night in town, and my sister and I make the front page of the local newspaper. Or, more accurately, our tiny heads in the crowd at the Flagstaff Pine cone drop did. Yes, New Year’s Eve Flagstaff has an electric, six foot tall pinecone drop. Flagstaff, who knew you could be so fun?


*Yes, reading McCarthy still.



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