Nature Awareness and Culture Journal May 12, 2017
We were on the road again. Last year we were in this very place unwittingly having dropped my phone at the south rim of the Grand Canyon, and the closest service was Cottonwood (Flagstaff did not have a store that could help us). As this trip has taught us, be open to where and the rest will follow, and the rest certainly did: Montezuma’s castle, Sunset Crater, Walnut Canyon, Petrified Forest, a month in New Mexico to include Santa Fe, Taos, water ceremonies at 2 Pueblo nations, Bandelier(one of our top favorites), Roswell, Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe and 5 months in the Tucson area with side trips to Mexico, Organ Pipe and Chiricahua.
We joined a Homeschool cooperative group based on diversity and a commitment to connection and well being for our children. For stability and constancy, we based ourselves out of Catalina State park for 5 months (you can only stay there 2 weeks at a time) to rest and immerse ourselves in southwest flora and fauna. We also moved out of the tent and into a trailer, test drove trucks and vans until we settled on a Ford van.
Now here we were at this juncture making our way north to the canyons of Utah. We thought we’d spend our first night at the volcanic fields of Sunrise crater, just north of Flagstaff. Sunrise Crater is a wonderful place with black lava fields not unlike those on the Big Island of Hawaii, Hawaii my heart home as a youngster. But we arrived there at 1:15 in the afternoon, and we both felt the need to keep going having just visited there and it still being too early. So on we went up north, through Cameron the gateway town to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and up to the vermillion Cliffs and Page. Since we had no reservations and I wasn’t sure how far I could go, we made Page Arizona and the Walmart parking lot our destination. Most Walmart’s have free overnight parking for RV’s and trailers. While it’s not pretty, it’s functional for a traveling mom and child. And they have organic vegetables and pressed juices (really). Not to mention Pokémon cards.
Unlike the browns and crumbling dryness of last fall, the desert plateau of route 89 was now bedecked with stunning grey greens.
The Vermillion cliffs beckoned and met us…
Until we landed with a very weird surreal thump in Page at the Walmart. It was 400 pm, my rule was to always have lodging by 4. Robbie said, “this is fine mom”. Took out a book and started reading it in the parking lot.
But for me, it was a no. After the beauty of Catalina State Park, it was a “no, but just in case, we will come back” place. Truly a strange and surreal place. A big electric plant was just around the corner with a large dam, we drove by it, me feeling a bit ill as if in some strange alternate universe. And then we rounded the corner and came to the entrance of Glen Canyon National Recreation area and Lake Powell.
Yes. I felt a weird tug at my heart. The waters here not natural, yet happy to be by water. Really happy. We entered the park which was of course full on a Friday night but the very nice ranger directed us to Lone Rock, just “3” miles north across the border in Utah and still part of the lake.
We finally found the little sign off the main road, more than 10 miles from the exit of the park. Our cue was just over the border into Utah.
Amazing. Robbie crowed with delight and excitement. “Mom, mom! Let’s do this!!!”
I was not sure about driving my trailer and my 3500 chassis (read monstrously heavy) rear wheel drive van onto a sand beach in a remote location but the beach was dotted with other RV’s and families. So down the half mile we went, lurching on the path a bit and ending up camped between an old ford 4×4 truck with a homemade camper on the truck bed and a 30 foot trailer. I was advised by our neighbors to stay on the rocky gravel part as the sand would trap us so we did.
Robbie ran screaming out the door and to the water. We were home for the night.