A small part of the Grand Gallery in Horseshoe Canyon, Utah These figures are actually over 9 feet tall and come from 10 000 BC. The Hopi, Ute and Zuni tribes all claim its theirs but no one really knows. One of the earliest depictions of a spiritual being in the world. To get here, you have to turn off the main road and drive along for 48 km along a dusty, unpaved road, which in case it is waterlogged, you will not get through unless you have a 4×4 truck. When you get to the trailhead at the top of the canyon, its a 750 foot descent to the bottom of the canyon and from there you have to hike for 3 miles before you get to the Grand Gallery. Also because its super dry and hot, you need to be carrying at least 5 litres of water in your backpack or else you risk dehydration. Give yourself at least 7 hours in total to do this. When I came, 2 park rangers were there cleaning up after a flash flood. They let me go right up to it and offer tobacco.
For some reason Utah and Arizona have been calling me lately and I’ll most likely go this summer. It won’t be my first time. Back in 2008, I spent 2 weeks by myself driving along old historic Route 66, exploring 4 Corners, namely Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona:
Went horse-back riding through Monument Valley with a Navajo guide,
I did that!
Pitched my tent in the Grand Canyon, offered tobacco and was immediately greeted by two condors sweeping in over me,
A condor, one of the largest birds in the world, flying over the Grand Canyon
Drove through the Vermilion Cliffs, hiked through Horseshoe Canyon and saw the otherworldly Grand Gallery right up close,
The Vermilion Cliffs of Arizona
Stumbled on a dinosaur footprint,
Dinosaur tracts at the top of Horseshoe Canyon.
Had an encounter with a ghost in my hotel room in Jerome at the Mile High Inn , an old mining town which is considered one of the most haunted towns in America,
Jerome, is nothing more than a few streets but sits one mile high up a mountain near an old mine.
Fell in love with Taos, New Mexico,
Taos has desert and deep river gorges on one side, and towering mountains of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range on the other side.
Spent several of my mornings watching the sun come up over the cliffs while soaking in the hot springs next to the Rio Grande River in Taos,
Natural hot springs pools beside the Rio Grande river. When it’s super early and deserted you can do the water circuit. Sit in the hot springs for as long as you can take it, then dive into the cold river and then chill in the lukewarm water pool. Repeat three times, ideally in the nude if you’re absolutely certain no one is around.
Went to hot baths underneath cliffs,
Iron and Arsenic Pools at night at Ojo Calientes
Explored Georgia O’Keeffe country around the Jemez loop,
Missed running into Paul McCartney by 10 minutes at a diner Elvis Presley used to go to in Williams, Arizona (he and his then-girlfriend-now-wife were exploring Route 66 the same time as I was. In fact, I got the same booth they sat at and the seat was still warm),
Had my first meeting with Hopi Elders, explored Mount Zion, Grande Escalante and Bryce Canyon National Parks and basically drove about 5000 km by myself through some of the most breath-taking parts of the United States.
Bryce Canyon National Park, a tiny part.
The entire area is just steeped in positive woo-woo magic and I was very, very lucky to have caught some of it. Maybe because I was in vacation mode, but I just fell in love with the landscape and area almost immediately. It felt like home, I probably had a past-life there (I find it a little more than coincidental that I felt right at home in Anasazi territory
, a tribe known as the “Ancient Ones”, which is long-gone now, but many suspect were responsible for building the pueblos at places like Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon and my family name is very close to sounding like Anasazi).
Mesa Verde, Colorado
I don’t think I could ever really live there since it is Republican-dominated (and boy, do they ever love their gun racks and pick-up trucks down there). God only knows what might happen these days if people know I’m Muslim. I think I got a free pass because I constantly got mistaken as Latina or Native American, depending on where I was.
I then did a quickie trip in 2011 but this time around, it is Southern Utah in particular which is calling. I think it was while I was driving along the unforgettable Route 89 and UT-12 during sunset, between Utah and Arizona, just over from the Grand Canyon and the Vermilion Cliffs, taking in the grandeur of the place, the valleys, canyons, rock formations, that it unmistakably reminded me of Cappadocia back in Turkey and the myriads of valleys, caves and secrets which no do doubt still remain undisturbed, even now. There’s a part of me which wants to explore every last square foot of these places. Quite frankly, sometimes places are far more interesting than most people.
Grand Arches National Park, Utah
People have asked me in private messages how do you decide if a place is good for you or not. I don’t know much about astro-cartography
(but Steve Judd
certainly does) but in my experience it is sort of like how you determine a friend or a good person you want in your life… it’s the way they make you feel. Likewise with places.
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Some places (or people) resonate so well with you that they leave you buzzing with energy and the impression and memory can
stay with you for the rest of your life. Other times, a place (or person) feels so downright sinister or gross and disgusting, that you immediately want to flee, which is pretty much how I felt the whole time I was in Washington DC.
I also find that places which resonate with you, for some reason are easier to “read”. Because the energy of the place jives with you to begin with, it becomes that much easier for you to figure the place out.
I have a psychic friend down in Massachusetts, who does automatic writing and produces prophetic quatrains,
not unlike Nostradamus
. Until she goes public, I won’t mention her name but she once produced a reading where it said a person’s way forward comes about when (and I paraphrase) person, place and purpose all seem to come together effortlessly and I agree completely.
So for those of you craving adventure and trying to plot your way forward, I’d only say this, get out there, start exploring. You just never know, in finding your magical sweet spot, you may end up finding your purpose as well.