Hindsight: Thoughts About the Southwest from “Back Home”

We’ve been home for a little while now. I’ve shuffled through my pictures at least once, perhaps twice. As I return to the routine-driven life, I wish to be back on my feet again, tromping through sand or rocks or clay in my hikers, which are now worn in, cozy, and have most definitely lost their new shoe smell.

Yes, we did indeed add over 2000 miles to our rental car, crossing gold-speckled mountain passes, speeding through desolate desert, and past bizarre and multi-colored rock formations, but I reflect on this adventure mostly in terms of the places our feet carried us. From the creamsicle hoodoos to the depth of the narrows, and well beyond, our treks totaled approximately 39 miles. That total is probably laughable for a serious hiker, but considering our green hiking legs, I’m okay with bragging about it.

And the most important part about our feet moving that distance is that, well, our eyes inevitably followed. Prior to the trip, I had done quite a bit of research and thus had viewed many pictures, but the expectations from that research were easily trumped by the beautiful place itself when I was finally in front of it, gawking. As someone from the Eastern US, used to rain and green, I had little basis for imagining what a landscape looks like when it’s lacking those things, and has been for a long, long time.

It’s colorful – various shades of orange, red, gray, green, pink and so forth. It’s layered, exposing the effects of time, and the scale of such time. It is sculpted by water, wind and winter into shapes that my words could never adequately describe. It changes its colors and shapes seemingly by the mile; the landscape transforms into a brand new scene somewhere just up around a bend, leading me to ask (again): what happened here, and why??? More simply put, it is a wondrous, other-worldly visual feast, and I am, as always, grateful for this latest travel experience.

Seriously: What a wonderful world!!!

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