Thursday, May 24, 2012

Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce

Since I am now travelling in an english speaking country, I will make an effort to write both in English and in Spanish!
That way I keep flexing my language muscles : )

Almost a week of roadtriping in the US now!
Approximately 900 miles (1450 kms) through different deserts, forests, all kinds of crazy and mesmerizing geological randomness that has risen on earth.
Had a hard time focusing on the road with my jaw dropped by the fascinating colours and gravity-challenging arrays that came into view.
I used to have a fixed view of what the desert was (and it was totally based on the Chilean Atacama desert). But now all I know is that I know nothing at all. Rivers, monsoons, turtles, algae, palms, squirrels, chipmunks. The deserts are full of life!

First came the Grand Canyon.
Actually first came Roger Water's concert, The Wall, with my brother in Phoenix. And that was quite important. Because it was great. And because it introduced the concept of "walls" that would repeatedly appear in the canyons. And Arcosanti, the urban experiment by Paolo Soleri

I chose the North Rim of the GC as there would be less people and I'd be closer to other parks in Utah.
To get there I quickly saw through the window the touristic beauty of Sedona and the dry mistery of the Painted Desert (Navajo land).
Cross over the huge, deep, Colorado river. And enter the lush Ponderosa forest that surrounds the canyon. Like a fable. Happy deers jumping amidst the snow (yes, snow!).

Canyons are a landscape that calls for reflection. I already had this feeling with the Colca Canyon in Peru. The impossibility of taking it in as a whole because of its hugeness. The perspective it builds around the concepts of time and space.
You can see those huge walls are constantly being built and destroyed. But their rythm is so much slower than ours. Still there. Alive and beating. Display cabinets for the history of the land.

I woke up early to hike down the canyon and was so cold that decided to run down. Terrible idea as I ruined my knee for the rest of the hikes. But lesson well learnt, as I started to cultivate the art of "slow walking". Which is not as easy as it sounds.

One day of hiking in the Canyon and then I left for Kanab. Beautiful small town with loads of community activities, old western hollywood museums and neon lighted motels (like mine). One of the best base camps to visit other parks.

Such as Zion National Park. More canyons, but smoother and moist. This one is mostly carved in sandstone by the Virgin river. So the shapes are softer and perhaps more playful.
Had a great time climbing obstacles in the hidden canyon that kept getting steeper and narrower. You would see people giving up at different stages, wondering where it would end. Apocalyptic trail names like "Angel's Landing" gave the place an extra mysticism.
This was one of my favourite spots, as you could walk barefoot over the polished rocks and soft sand and peacefully watch the sun rise.

And finally Bryce Canyon, where I finally decided to beat my fear of camping alone and stayed for a couple of nights in the campground in my car : )
Grateful and lucky felt I, as it just happened to be the Astronomy Festival and a rare Annular Solar Eclipse during those days.
This meant that, besides hiking between the oniric figures of the "hoodoos", I got to be surrounded by geeks and telescopes during beautiful starry nights.
There was even an amazing guest speaker who talked (and showed us examples) of what the sound would be when two black holes collide.
Apparently there is a black hole in the middle of our galaxy. Apparently matter (including us), is less than 1% of the "stuff" that fills the universe. Apparently "stuff" (including us) is mostly emptyness.

So hikes surrounded by this strange figures. Like the play-dough section in the god's playground. Palaces, men, women, dwarfs, tools.
Practicing slow walking. Thinking about the time it takes for the far-away light and sound of the starts to reach us. The time it takes for hoodoos to be formed or deformed. The time I have.
Great philosophical matters in Bryce Canyon!
Crowned by the Annular Eclipse. The "ring of fire". And yes, Johnny Cash always singing in the background of the mind (and in the background of countless other places).

Today I woke up freesing in the car. Bryce Canyon is almost 3000 mts high. And started driving early to Las Vegas. Under the scorching summer sun, with over 40 degrees, I decided to visit a place called the "Valley of Fire". Amazing space full of ancient petroglyphs. But the horror of the sun in the red desert!

Now in Vegas.
Already walked the crazy Strip full of people and light and expensive water.
Watched the Bellagio fountain dancing to the rythm of Morricone.
And it all now feels like different kinds of hoodoos, each in its own space and time.
I'm probably deliriously sunstricken...

1 comment:

  1. me lo imagino mucho mejor cuando mencionás los soundtracks! :)

    mis pas estuvieron en bryce canyon la semana pasada!

    love katia!