If your path is dull then change it. If your tired of where you are in life then do something about it. If you always do it one way then try the other. What do you have to lose?
Recently, I had the wonderful experience of traveling through a portion of Southern Utah and into a section of Northern Arizona I had never experienced. I had grown tired of my normal path to get to my stomping grounds up north and decided to make quick, last second change.
My little adventure started out, at first, looking for California Condors. The California Condor is an amazing species. I won’t bore you with all the details but when this majestic bird is high in the air its incredible wing span will leave you in awe. This amazing bird was released in this area in the mid 1990’s in an attempt to revitalize a population very close to extinction.
My interest in the Condor was peaked by my good friend, and co-star of “Missing in Alaska”, the famed crypto-zoologist Ken Gerhard. We had been in the Seward, Alaska area searching for a missing runner. During our investigation into all of the possibilities of the runner going missing, a theory emerged of the runner being plucked off the barren portion of Mount Marathon by a large mythical sized bird. Ken is much more knowledgeable in this area but the investigation led to me having to take a crash course in mythical birds. During that investigation is where I learned of the California Condor. This amazing bird is most likely probably the cause of many misinterpreted sightings of crypto flying birds like the Thunderbird. When one of these flies above you, the massive wing span, would have a very ominous appearance in the sky and cast a huge shadow as is soared overhead.
I located a spot near the Vermilion Cliffs where six of these amazing birds had been released. The image of the condor is borrowed from wikipedia.
My expedition into seeing one of these extremely rare creatures was futile at best but when on a quest like this it is amazing to find other great gems of knowledge. While in the area of the great Condors I learned of a cattle man who attempted to start a heard of what he called “Cattelos”. Many of you meat eaters might know the reference Beefalo in which roughly one third of the cattle must be bison and the rest domestic cattle. Anything more than that percentage is considered a Hybrid-Bison. The man who started this heard became very frustrated in the lack of control he had over his heard as they tended to wander much more then normal cattle. He moved the heard out of Arizona after they had been there for a long time. The state of Arizona eventually purchased the heard and allowed them to roam free as part of Arizona heritage. The heard still roams in parts of the native reservation but is rarely seen.
I continued on my little journey and just watched in amazement as the colors of the rocks and soil drastically changed to deep reds. I drove completely mesmerized at the color splash of nature in this area. I had to stop and take a pick of my grey sedan in contrast to the beautiful canvas I was directly in.
As I continued winding down the roadway through this live canvas of red rock and blue skies. I couldn’t help myself to stop at a sign that said, “Cliff Dweller”. How could I not, right?
Here amongst the deepest red soil and rock that I have seen in a long time is remnants of a past life. A civilization of people who left little trace to disturb this natural art work. I don’t know a lot about the people who lived here. I know someday I will make it a point to study more. On this day I just wanted to revel in being part of the landscape.
I bounced around on a few boulders and ran up a couple hills and embankments (possibly crossed a few fences but we will leave that one alone). The odd shapes to some of these large, house size boulders are just astounding. They remind me of the Flintstones cartoons as a kid.
In this area I stopped there was some remnants of structures. I entered them and felt how cool the insides were compared to the searing heat outside. It is amazing how intelligent people were in making something as simple as a rock dwelling into an escape from the Arizonan furnace.
After guzzling some H20, I hit the road again but didn’t make if far. Two words: Marble Canyon. This magnificent piece of canyon with the Colorado River can be viewed from the Navajo Bridge. There is two bridges actually, one for vehicles and a second one for pedestrian traffic. I was absolutely stunned at the beauty of the river flowing down the sheer walls of the canyon. If you haven’t feasted your eyes upon this yet then you need to add it to your bucket list. You will find a whole lot less people then the south rim of the Grand Canyon here. I found great solace in my quiet time standing hundreds of feet about the river on the steel arch bridge. Not just hundreds of feet, but 467 feet to be exact, which makes it the 9th tallest bridge in the United States.
My little adventure ended as I made my way towards Flagstaff. As I drove my mind digested the absolute feast of beauty I had just behold.
Stay thirsty for adventure my friends!
NOTE: Be on the look out for “Journey with Jax”…coming soon! Journeywithjax.com
Twitter and IG: @jaxmenezatwell