Tuesday, April 7, 2015

You see, I've been through the desert . . .


. . . on a horse with no name

On the first part of the our journey #2500mi
I was looking at all the life #frommycarwindow
There were plants and birds and rocks and things #mostlyrocks
There was sand and hills and rings #norings

-A Horse With No Name by America


The thing about vacations is, that when you haven't been on one in a while (a long, long while), you might try to cram too much into your allotted time frame. The downside to that is you just don't get enough time in any one place, but the bonus to that (and thankfully there is one), is that you get to see many things and then you can decide where you want to go back and spend more time. 

This is one of those places for me....

This was our last day in Arizona before heading back home and we had just finished a tour through a slot canyon and this place was only 10 minutes from there. And I'm SO glad we didn't decide to skip this!

Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon

When we arrived at the parking lot, we were at the bottom of a large hill.  Once we climbed the hill (thank you new hiking shoes) we quickly realized there would be some more walking involved until we reached the awe-inspiring bend in the Colorado River. About 1.5 miles round trip to be exact, up and down a very sandy hill and across a sandstone incline.




So away we went....and if you look really, really closely (you might need a magnifying glass) you can see dots of people way in the distance. There are some even sitting and standing that very large sandstone hill on the right. And beyond that are the Paria Plateau and Vermillion Cliffs. 



As we got closer to the bottom it got a little bumpier as it alternated between the sand and the slopping Navajo Sandstone. Now you can see those people a little better. Sure gives a perspective of how far away 3/4 of a mile is.




So, one thing you should know about me is that I'm deathly afraid of heights. I get chills up and down the backs of my legs and feel a bit disoriented, and just looking at a picture will do the same thing. And, you have to understand that there are NO railings here whatsoever...you are on your own, at the mercy of a gust of wind or someone else standing close to you. This explains why my son went on ahead of us...he was sparing me some stress, and he has heard the lecture of how NOT to stand too close to the edge. Really, the whole thing just freaks me out.

And the next thing I know, my daughter hands my son her phone and says take a picture of me laying within an inch of my life on a narrow strip of sandstone? Seriously?

So, I find a spot that gives me enough room to get this shot without (hopefully) rolling off the edge myself, 'cause I do get in the zone when I have that camera up to my eye! 

She says to me...mom, this view is amazing and very peaceful. And then I think to myself...I didn't come 2500 miles, and trudge all the way down here to be a coward.




So you know what? I said what the hell and I handed my girl my camera and starting about 5 feet away I laid down and crawled to edge. And you know what...it was so beautiful and peaceful, and awe-inspiring. And then I performed my biggest feat of all...she handed me my camera and I put the strap around my neck, and I leaned into the landscape...and I'm still here.




Because you can't get this view...unless you are within an inch of your life, or the edge. And the only thing I was wishing for at this point was a wider lens. But I was just in a canyon prior to this where they were throwing sand and I wasn't about to change my lens without a blower. And by the way, it's 1000 feet straight down to the bottom, to that gorgeous Colorado River. See that white fleck near the edge of the bank on the right side, that's a large boat.




It's almost mind blowing to know that after the Colorado Plateau uplifted 5 million years ago that the river after being trapped, cut through this rock, and not only that but it created a 270 degree bend in the canyon.




And somewhere on the river below the dam, there is a panel of petroglyph left by Ancestral Puebloans over 800 years ago. Putting that on the checklist for next time.




On our way back up, and as an excuse to catch my breath, I tried to take in as many details as I could.




I was fascinated by these rock sculptures that were very meditative. I couldn't help but wonder who had put them there.




And how they don't blow over in the strong winds, or get knocked over by wildlife.





And then we finally made it back up to the top, and I sat under this gazebo to rest. 




I have to admit, going back up sorta felt like a stress test!




It had also been a long, busy week and we were all tired.


(KK 1217 music)

And as I was sitting there, and getting one last view of where I had just been, it hit me all of a sudden. And I know this is chronologically out of vacation order, but the whole trip even though it was amazing and fun, was a little hurried for me...the wanderer. I just didn't feel like I had the time to explore and discover, and even though I personally would have loved to stay here a little longer, this is where I finally found that moment of peace and tranquility. 

The place where I reached out and conquered a real fear, and it felt powerful. But just to be clear, I'm still afraid of heights.

"Take risks. Ask big questions.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes;
if you don't make mistakes, you're
not reaching far enough." - David Packard


Have a great day!
Love, Kim






30 comments:

Linda said...

Amazing! Definitely on my list for next time! Go grab a copy of the April issue of New Mexico magazine. There is an article about 5 hikes in the Organ mountains ( Las Cruces) A little closer than Arizona. Just don't go in the summer.

Kim Cunningham said...

These are amazing Kim! I really love the aerial views of the plateau. What breathtaking sights. I'm with you on heights. I'm not sure if my fear is actually heights as much as hating the sensation of dropping, but still, It's unnerving. Good for you stepping out!

Michelle said...

Absolutely beautiful!

Tamar SB said...

Wow! Breathtaking! I am in awe of what you saw - thanks for sharing it with us!

hula-la said...

Terrific views and shots! Wish I could be there! And I love the rock cairns. Make those as often as I can. Thanks for sharing! Aloha

hula-la said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
abrianna said...

Wonderful pictures and good for you for going out on a height!

Dotti said...

Bravo, Kim! We did a white water rafting trip on the Colorado in the Grand Canyon while our daughter was still at home. One of the very best vacations ever! And I, too, find the canyons and the river so fascinating. {And I'm praying for that miracle so you can join us for our desert adventure!}

Saun said...

Wow ! These are amazing thanks for sharing ..it's not freezing here anymore just raining. I worked in the flower bed in the rain today 😊

Kelly Kardos said...

Oh Kim!nthese are breathtaking. I've always admired photos from the bend. I love the crop of you in the corner. We really are very small in comparison. Just amazing photos. Xo

Kelly Kardos said...

PS-live your new header! And the close up shot of the 2 rock stacks would be a beautiful card or up on canvas.

EarlK said...

Wonderful series of photos. Thank you for conquering your fear so that I could see what you saw. I will never get to see it with my eyes, so thank you for your eyes and camera.

Kimberly Vensel said...

Such gorgeous photos, Kim! So glad you took the chance and were able to see for yourself how amazing the view was! Another place to add to my bucket list. :)

Ida said...

I applaud you for conquering your fear (I too am afraid of heights now and there is "no way" I could have done what you did) These views are amazing so I thank you for sharing them. Loved it all.

doodles n daydreams said...

Well done Kim, that was some mean achievement! And what wonderful snaps you got got share with us.

Diana

Rebecca said...

Oh my goodness - such beautiful scenery and photographed so well.

Stephanie said...

Wow, what a view! Your photos are amazing, my friend. Your brought the beauty of the desert right to my home :)

Thank you so much, sweet lady, for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. Enjoy your day! Hugs to you!

Beyond the Dog Dish said...

Oh my just really really stunning! Love red clay landscape photos. What an experience to be there and take in that spectacular view. Amazing and to be cherished.

marshaleith said...

wow...spectacular photographs!!!!

Nicki said...

I am so freaking proud of you. Amazing - OMG, so Amazing. Thank you for sharing (I could picture myself crawling as well - truly, no shame in that, only logical way).

Lisa Comperry said...

So beautiful :-)

tiarastantrums said...

STUNNING - just stunning!! Glad you all had a great time!

Roxi Hardegree said...

Wow, I felt like I was there...

Anita Johnson said...

Kim, this was a wonderful post. I was here years ago and it was beautiful...your pictures show the beauty...stunning. And I am afraid of heights too.

Kathy McB said...

I found those rock sculptures while I was in the Tuscon area and was told they are a "zen" type sculpture that signifies balance and "being". You are suppose to add a rock to the top if you are truly "being" in the moment. Thanks for linking up to Song-ography.

Mitzi Rice said...

Such beautiful photos. I have never been there but can only imagine the sense of wonder that comes with being in a place so uniquely beautiful and one that defies all reason. You have captured its essence beautifully...but I absolutely adore that last photo!

Brenda said...

Oh, I'm with you on the fear of heights. So a huge bravo from me on crawling up to the very edge. I love those stacked rock sculptures - how amazing! Glad you had such a wonderful (if hurried) vacation.

ImagesByCW | C. Willison said...

Oh, how I love your post, Kim. So beautiful! Starting with mastering your fear to get into the zone of quiet and taking photos - I am totally with you on all accounts (afraid of heights, but could not have not taken the shot). And your photos are gorgeous. Make me want to go there so badly. There are still so many places to see and explore. And, yes, you do need time.

Jeanne said...

Gorgeous shots you got in these. This is such an amazing area with such beauty. Photographers paradise.

NC Sue said...

Fantastic formations! Beautiful indeed.
Please come link up at this wee's Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) here: http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/04/cat-on-ladder.html

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