For the first part of our final week together, Alice and I dive deeper and further into the red earth.
Words taken from my daily journals, with some enhancements…..here or there.
Jacob Lake, AZ, Jacob Lake Campsite: On an early morning walk throughout the campsite, I found a perfect spot in the tall pine trees for my daily rituals. The air is chill and crisp with hints of Autumn in the June Mountains. The wind sounds like waves rolling onto the shore, it brings me comfort and peace. The best way to start a day.
At our hotel in Page, I met a couple at breakfast. We chatted about travels and the area. They were headed home to St. George Utah and suggested, no, utterly insisted that we explore the scenic US Route 89A to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon then head up to Bryce Canyon. We took their advice. What a fantastic suggestion! Alice and I spent the day exploring Lee’s Ferry, crossed the Old Navajo Bridge, and drove through the Vermillion Cliffs, along with much much more. I was so glad we took the couples advice!
North Rim Grand Canyon: I’m sitting looking out at Mt. Hayden. I create a quick drawing of its beauty and jot down the inspiration that is sparked by its awe-ness.
I take for granted who has and who is preserving our land. How have they gone about it? Who does this land really belong to? Does it really belong to any human? Or are we the servants of the land? Preserving our lands is a must but have we gone about it the right way? I think back to explorers, adventurers, to Presidents or politicians, artists, photographers, and especially to the indigenous people. I have no answers. What I do know is there is powerful healing and comfort in the land. I’m grateful for this connection and hope that the land will one day forgive us for our ego driven human naiveties.
Once we returned to our campsite, I went to the cafe across the street. I was craving french fries. I found a spot at the horseshoe shaped bar, sat on the old school swivel bar stool, and placed my sombrero on the counter. A little girl sat next to me. She had watched my every move. With big bright eyes she asked “Are you a cowgirl?”
How did she know??? I felt as if she had read my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams. Just the other day, I promised myself that I would find a way to work on a cattle drive and be a REAL cowgirl. Ride all day, unpack at night, eat beans, drink whiskey, sleep under the stars, wake up to bitter strong coffee, load up my pack and do it all over again! That’s what cowgirls do, right? Anyways, this was something I had longed to do ever since I was a kid and first experienced the big open starry nights skies of Texas. How could this little girl know that?
I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t say “Yes, little lady. Wanna meet my horse??” But what if this girl was my fairy godmother and could turn me into the real deal??? Full of pride and with the hope that she could magically transform me, I excitedly leaned down to her with big bright eyes and said “No, I’m not. But I wish I were. Are you a cowgirl?”
“No!” she answered sternly. “I’m eight,” then got back to her coloring book.
Walking into the dunes I made the long truck up to the highest peak. The sun and wind was so intense, burning and blowing. My sombrero was swept up by the wind. I ran frantically after it! The sand grabbed the lip of the hat just in time, holding it still for me. I gathered my hat and secured all my belongings before going any further.
At the top the wind was more intense, blowing sand across my face and whipping my hair in every which direction. This made it difficult to take photos. Despite the evil elements, I found the top calming and pleasant. I wanted to stay a bit longer but the wind was literally blowing me off the peak.
A Town Run by Women
On the side of the road, a cave museum caught our attention, Moqui Cave Museum of Ancient History, causing me to instantly pull over. Wandering throughout the old bar turned museum I came across a fantastic postcard.
Imagine, a frontier western town run by women. It happened November 7, 1911 in Kanab, Utah. An all women city council and mayor were elected. It was the first time in the United States, or the world, when an all female ticket was voted into office. From left to right are: Luella McAllister, treasurer; Blanche Hamblin, councillor; Mary W. Howard Chamberlain, mayor; Tamar Hamblin, clerk; Ada Seegmiller, council.
-taken from the back of the postcard
I grabbed a LOT of the postcards to send to the badass women in my world!!! At the register, Sage, whose family owns the cave, told me more about the history. At the time and as a joke, the men in the town decided to put an all female ballet together. They were voted in by men, women did not have the right to vote at the time. They served a 2 year term and thrived. But decided not to run again, when encouraged to take another term the women responded with “we proved our point” leaving the stage open for other women to take their place. Sage’s Mormon great-great grandfather’s 6th wife was the first female mayor, Mary W. Howard Chamberlain. Sage comes from his 4th wife.
Next, final and Part 2 of the Grand Finale Post: This 3 1/2 month long adventure is coming to a close but not without a few last epic moment: Full speed sight seeing in the Bryce Canyon area of Utah and Bearded & Shucked Mermaid March in the High-Desert of Joshua Tree.