“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” ~ David Bowie
This is an excerpt from a 2012 travel blog post on our trip to The Wave, in Page, Arizona. You can read it all with images here.
We finally MADE IT. To one of the most incredible landscapes on earth. And it hasn’t been for want of trying. We’ve been trying for 10+ years. We enter the lottery every year for permits to visit The Wave. It is extraordinary in every sense. And so pristine and delicate an environment that it is limited to 20 people/permits a day. And this year we finally won! In what is undoubtedly the UNFITTEST Year of our Lives. Thank you Universe. We get it. We are listening. With our ears. And so here is our journey. A photo essay. Of our journey to The Wave and the back of beyond.
Somewhere near Page, Arizona on the road to Kanab, between mile markers 25 and 26, at a curve in the road, at the end of a guard rail you turn at the unmarked dirt road. This is House Rock Road. And if the weather is not on your side it is totally impassable. And so you cannot even get to the car park, at the start of the hike to The Wave. Luckily on our day the weather was fine and had been the days leading up, with just a smattering of leftover snow. Road…was a very loose term. But we didn’t notice how quite off-road we were because we were just so excited. Going down was kind of fine. Going back was another trip altogether… when the car almost flipped…never a dull moment. Thank goodness we were upgraded to a 4WD-looking car from the tinny compact. So after we made the 8.3 miles overland drive to the Wire Pass Trailhead parking lot we were ready to rock n’ roll and find The Wave.
There are no signs nor a trail to The Wave. It is a 6 hour round-trip hike. And it’s recommended you have a GPS. Check. This was first on the list. And thank goodness we had it because this is what we discovered after we embarked. Open, vast desert for miles. And we were looking for a black crack. Somewhere in the distance. Needle. Haystack. Anyone? When you’re looking for a black crack, then that’s all you can see. Let the wild goose chase begin.
Then somewhere in the distance we found the black crack. See above… way left? Here we come. But first past the twin buttes…(still never pronounce that right…and always giggle at how we do…)
Still miles away. Just south of meltdown hill. In my defense it was very, very icy. And I was doing the turtle with ALL the camera gear…You know, falling back…flailing in every direction…
And then we finally found the opening… and made our way in. And we had it completely, utterly to ourselves. First ones there for the day (we had left sooooo early because we were sure we weren’t even going to find it…) But we did. And that was a celebration in itself. And then The Wave swallowed us whole and we explored, explored and explored. And found ourselves utterly lost in it’s gallery of gruesomely twisted sandstone, resembling deformed pillars, cones, mushrooms and other odd creations. Deposits of iron claim some of the responsibility for the unique blending of color twisted in the rock, creating a dramatic rainbow of pastel yellows, pinks and reds. We just found it’s form, beauty, jaw-dropping curves and lines simply beyond our wildest imagination. We couldn’t quite believe we were there. And this was just the entrance.
We took one last look behind us before we entered and completely immersed ourselves. Bacon, caramel, mille feuille layer cake. However you see it, wherever the comparisons and inspiration comes from… it simply envelopes you. Waves and waves. And waves.
And what we met on the other side was everything we had envisioned and more. The landscape photographer’s rite of passage… All to ourselves for the entire morning.
The size and scale just phenomenal as we made our way through her belly… And tried our very best to photograph it the way we saw it. From every angle and then some. And here are some, just some of the rather extensive series we shot.
As the morning went on, the sky got whiter and whiter, lighter and lighter as the approaching winter storms got closer. Any hint of blue there was being whitewashed away. It still left us lots of time to just lie there and take it all in. In our own little world, smack dab in the middle of nature’s perfect palette. We can usually pick a couple of favorites. Not this time.
And then our hours and hours of solitude were broken when next lot of the lottery ticket holders made their way in…We’d already demolished our snacks and were just polishing off lunch by then. And we still couldn’t get enough of the textures and contours of the freestanding waves.
So with some brief hellos and goodbyes, it was time for us to leave our wavy wonderland. The thoughts of waiting til evening for some star trail shots were appealing but then dismissed as the sky started getting thicker with clouds. So we made our way out through the ancient walls…Slowly. And hoping, just hoping our photos would tell the story. And share the vision of our dreams.
Once out and down the ice wall… it was time to make our way across the open desert again, to try to find the Wire Pass Trailhead. And of course not without some lostness, rolling about in the sand and taking in some of the desert details.
And now it all seems like a dream. We arrived finally and a bit wearily back to the start of the trail. We signed out where we signed in at dawn. And in large, delirious scrawl scribbled “We made it”!!! And for once we are at a bit of a loss for words. That was enough. That said it all. We made it. We hope you understand. That maybe in this case a picture tells a thousand words. Hopefully our multitude of images tell even more. And speaks to what was and remains in our hearts. To the infinite surprises life and nature continues to bring. To a journey and dreams realized. And for all those to come.Keywords: arizona (4), coyote buttes (2), navajo (4), page (4), the wave (2), utah (2).
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