The Zen of Relationships

Finding a balance is the key to living simply.

I have always taken life as it comes, living freely, flowing with the present. I enjoy the freedom of spontaneity. The only importance being the here and now. Together, Greg and I provide the perfect balance to our relationship and to our lifestyle. He teaches me to be grounded, to remember to water my roots. I teach him to be air, to remember life is a breeze. With this balance, we have managed to create a life of our own choosing. A life of self given freedom, our only responsibilities being the nourishment of our happiness.

We have spent the past two years traveling together continuously, over a hundred thousand miles across our beautiful homeland, down to the Caribbean, across the seas to 12 different European countries. Our budget consisting of the basic necessities of food and gas. We spent our time investing in Recreational vehicles, traveling the country while fixing them up, then re-selling them to do it all over again. We have done seasonal work at different places in beautiful areas. Giving ourselves the opportunity to work hard and play harder, exploring new landscapes that we have never been to.

Throughout this experience we have been together 24 hours a day, deepening our connection beyond imagination. We have pushed each other beyond our self imposed limits; we have challenged each other to face our greatest fears. We have grown into something I never thought possible.

Most people would find a relationship like ours suffocating, being together all day, everyday. But for me, it has been the greatest learning experience. Learning about myself, my partner and what it truly means to love someone unconditionally. Even in moments of frustration, we recognize that we are all in, together. It’s hard to remain flustered with one another when we’re together all the time, we have to communicate. With there being no barriers between us, it makes communication much easier. Which in a sense is liberating, all of those little things that eat away at relationships, such as, anxiety, jealousy, fear are practically nonexistent.

People tend to believe that a relationship like ours requires tons of self-sacrifice. In some ways it does and in some ways it doesn’t. When you’re with someone who knows you as well as you know yourself, you can balance your needs much better. There is harmony in understanding when your significant other needs space and respecting that space. Even though we are together, we are our own entities first. It’s important to retain self-identity in relationships, most people tend to lose themselves in the other person which begins to build feelings of resentment. If you begin your relationship as a whole uniting into two, rather than a half uniting into one, you can carry your relationship a great distance. & that is how we thrive, showing up for ourselves as well as showing up for each other.

In this experience I have come to the realization, that each and everyone of us is our own creator. We create our happiness, we create our own magic. The best way to begin, is by finding your balance and I have found mine.

We as human beings, create the paths we walk in our lives. We are never truly bound by burden, for we are more than bone and flesh; we are soul. Once we open our eyes and see there is more to being than the physical aspects, we begin to let go. In letting go, we receive everything we’ve ever wanted. There will always be people who disagree and that just means this lifestyle is not for them. To each their own, do what makes you happy and always remember that it is possible if you, yourself, allow it to be.

I used to take life way too seriously. I thought, planned, and manipulated my time to benefit a future goal. Always stuck in the idea of what was next rather than enjoying the present situations before me. It left me tired, drained, unsatisfied. Even in the midst of a workaholic mindset I was always looking toward an escape. Working toward my interpreted freedom. So much has changed in the last few years that I had to stop and reflect, pause and analyze how I got here to this point.

I look at my life now and see an incredibly new, unique, and enthralling world that I otherwise may have never looked at on my own. I came to the conclusion that what separated the then, to the now, was finding a balance, a rhythm within love. This balance, like a covalent bond, is inherent in a loving relationship. We share ourselves equally to one another, without compromise or neglect to the self. Tyema has shared her keen sense of presence with me; a virtue that I am most thankful to learn and adapt into my life. I have learned to step back from myself in degrees and allow her energy to balance my once overbearing lifestyle. Learning to mesh it all together in order to embrace as well as prepare.

Our relationship is unique to many in the regard that we spend every moment together. When I think about it, I cannot envision a life beyond this feeling. It seems innate that we were meant to live, work, play and be together through all our life. As if everything in my past has been a build up to this moment. All the stress that I created for myself melted when my soulmate unveiled behind the curtain of my subconscious and entered the foreground. I believe that when we find our true love that it isn’t a matter of completing each other, as if we are half a soul waiting to be one; rather we are one and one who compliment each other and create a “third” being. Together we are the “third” that tips the scale of our own identity and bring a harmonious balance. First we live for ourselves, and then we live for each other. We never mask who we really are, nor do we attempt to suppress the other’s desires or needs. We understand and acknowledge that we are both uniquely different in our own respect.

When I came to the realization that we never lose ourselves and only aspire to bring out the best in each other, all of my inhibitions ceased. Life became simple and beautiful again. I see now that balance is irrefutably vital in all facets of life. When you can remain thoughtful, understanding, creative, contemplative, patient, true to yourself and the world around you, then you know freedom of self; a balance love, light, and happiness.

Capitol Reef National Park

We slowly crept along the Grand Gulch, thick chunks of rock, broken debris crushing under the weight of the wheels. Zigzagging back and forth across intersecting veins of the Grand Wash. Mangled, sun scorched logs and limbs lay displaced, waiting for the next thunderstorm to sweep them down into the Fremont, the Dirty Devil and into Lake Powell – by that time splintered and fragmented. In the washes and up on the banks their ancestors scatter, turned over through time, transformed, petrified into ancient fossils. An eerie relief walking through the desert to see time unraveled in front of our eyes. This barren desert, eroding rock and deepening canyons once a paradise filled with life and vegetation. We walk and drive on a crumbled, silent graveyard.

The heat radiates, unrelenting. 100 degrees mid day with no relief. A few clouds break up the deep blue and pastel sky but will not block out the sun for even a moment. The wind minimal, sagebrush still in the calm silence. As we continue further into the gulch the canyon walls begin to tower more dramatically. Water pockets etch out the sandstone on vertical walls, called tafoni, making homes for lizards, bats, and small desert life. They look like giant honeycombs, a labyrinth maze or network.

Along the banks of the lightly vegetated foreground we spot a mountain goat eating dry brush, contently staring at us as we slowly drive by.

This is an unforgiving terrain that is impossible to ignore yet undoubtedly incredibly magical. Towering rocks and large mesas adorn the eye. Captivated by the red and maroon iron oxide and black desert varnish stained walls. Driving through the wash is inherently humbling. At any time, without warning, rain from a hundred miles away could cause a flash flood, sweeping our truck and us along with it, no mercy. Caution is absolutely necessary.

Along the East-West route on 24 through the center of Capitol Reef National Park there is a short hike just across the Fremont River that will take you up to Hickman Bridge, a large natural bridge that you can hike around and underneath. It is a spectacular site; Hickman stained with Desert Varnish, thick chunks of rock smoothed and weathered through time. Along the hike, just over the first ascent, there are plenty of piñon pine to seek refuge from the scolding sun.

Another fascinating spectacle in this landscape is the Goosenecks Overlook trail just one mile off the main road. After just a short walk you will be rewarded with a magnificent view of the Fremont River as it silently flows through the continually carving canyon.

Capitol Reef has so much to offer in the way of its’ beauty that it simply cannot be explored in one day. Nor two. In fact we have been coming to this park countless times on our drives across Utah through Scenic Byway 24 and still have yet to see all its’ wonders. From the furthest southern edges of the Burr Trail and the Notom Road we have explored the parks most primitive side; roads ground in sand, uneven and rarely traversed terrain gradually climbing up and over the Waterpocket Fold. Through the scenic drive into the Grand Wash and down into the Grand Gulch from Fruita. Still we have yet to make it to Upper Cathedral Valley via the route from Fremont. I hope this summer we have the chance to explore more of the park, see and embrace more of this rugged landscape.

Fremont Indian State Park

Following the footsteps of the ancient cultures that dwelled here long before us, is one of the most fascinating learning experiences. From our home in the four corners, to the very edges of Lake powell, stretching north into the fish lake national forest. We follow the remnants of ancient civilization, from cliff dwellings to kivas, fragments of pottery to stone tools and petroglyphs. There is so much history hidden throughout this vast desert terrain. The winds finally pushed us down a scenic route to Central Utah in a valley surrounded by the fish lake national forest, to the Fremont Indian State Park.

The Fremont Indian State Park unfortunately runs parallel to I-70, but the ruins and petroglyphs were discovered in the creation of the highway. Therefore the Park is easily accessible as a road trip side stop. There are a series of interconnected trails located in this beautiful canyon, each holds pictographs and petroglyphs from the Fremont people. Keep your eyes open as you drive through the canyon because the petroglyphs are plentiful. Our favorites included the cave of 100 hands and The Indian Blanket.

The cave of 100 hands is a small cave featuring 31 hand prints on the cave walls. Just a short 1.5 mile hike following the clear creek leads you to the cave. The cave is surrounded by lush flora with wild berries growing and cottonwood trees, making the last portion of the hike slightly shaded.

The Indian Blanket story holds more magic, according to legend a new born baby of an Indian woman died and was buried somewhere near the site. During the winter, the mother painted a blanket on a rock face so the baby could use it to keep warm. The energy from this site was so powerful and beautiful. This story opens a door to understanding their beliefs and spirituality.

I have followed the creation story of SpiderWoman from the Navajo tribe to the ancient puebloan tribes surrounding our four corners. SpiderWoman is my favorite legend, she is the symbol of feminine energy believed to have weaved all things into existence with her thoughts.

The Fremont Indians also believed in SpiderWoman, leaving behind pictographs of SpiderWoman on these beautiful sandstone rock faces. Numerous pictographs and petroglyphs displayed stories, tales of hunting quests and rites of passage, helping us to understand a little bit more about this native culture and their way of life.

Walking the paths of this small state park, the lands lay open for us like a book. Our hearts and spirits lifted with each story unraveling before our eyes. We wondered in amazement at the beautiful simplicity, yet complexity to our understanding, of this ancient civilization. We closed our eyes trying to imagine what these lands would have looked like a thousand of years ago where their village once stood. All in all, Fremont Indian State Park was a very cool little spot to check out! We definitely recommend for anyone passing through the area❤️

Mystic Hot Springs

There are hidden worlds in everything.

We open the doors, opening ourselves.

To the beauty that sits quietly, vibrating loudly.

We sink our weary limbs far beneath the surface.

Of life. Of love. Of time.

We fold gently like ripples, we quiver, we break.

Converging as one, one flow, one love.

Mystic as the waters

Through vents we find Earth’s hidden delights

That show us a world of interpreted health.

Away with apothecary, the molesters of soul,

For we find the source and become once again whole.

It’s simple, a soak. Breathe in and let go.

Return, return, return and repeat.

What else is there than Earth’s crust at our feet?

So believe in the water that flows through us all,

In the clouds, underground in every mystical realm.

The energy and heat, the power and steam,

The minerals soak into my mind and body.

Oh how I cherish Nature’s wondrous retreat

Searchin’ For A Rainbow

We all know the saying, “life is short” and it definitely does seem like time passes us by so quickly. Rather than focusing on the brevity of time, we believe in the importance of how we choose to spend our time. Are we doing what makes us happy? Do we feel fulfilled with our life choices?

Throughout our lives we face many obstacles, whether the obstacles are internal, meaning we are holding ourselves back. Or the obstacles are external, meaning something or someone else is holding us back. In those moments of difficulty we must stop and dive deep into self-awareness.

Most internal obstacles stem from fear, the fear of the unknown, the what if’s, the million negative possibilities we come up with in our heads. Fear is a perpetrator that diminishes self-love and self-confidence, it is a tight bond of suffocation that must be broken in order to reach ones happiness. It is not always an easy accomplishment but overcoming the challenge reaps so many rewards. It’s important to tune in with ourselves often, come back to our roots. Asking ourselves “Am I doing what makes me happy? If you find that fear is holding you back from living your best life, it is time to take a leap of faith. Believe in yourself, face your fears.

External obstacles can be family, friends, relationships and the differing beliefs standing in between. You want to live your life a certain way, this life brings you happiness and causes no harm, but someone else thinks they know what’s best for you. Discovering that the people you love do not support your decisions is a tug of war pulling at your heart strings. Love is meant to be selfless, not controlling or demanding. Love is finding happiness for others outside of ourselves. When someone you love is trying to domineer your happiness of lifestyle, it is time to take a stand for yourself. Life is not about pleasing others, it is about supporting one another in harmony despite our many differences.

-We follow paths that bring us closer to ourselves.

The further we continue, the more we lose touch with everyone else.

Yet each wild step sets our spirts on fire.

And the fear we once felt, has turned to desire.

El Arte de nuestra naturaleza se está volviendo.-

(The Art of Our Nature is Becoming)

I am thankful to have grown up with the freedom to choose my own energy, who and how I wanted to be. Growing up, life was minimal, we didn’t have much money and my family situation was very unorthodox. As kids we were pushed to read, to write, to go outside, to be creative. It was a mode of self-discovery that has made me who I am today. I choose a lifestyle of passion, passion for every experience and every lesson I am taught. I choose to live my life how I live it, for myself. The thing that I love most about Gregory is that we love each other selflessly. Although most of our beliefs coalesce, we also have our differences, but we never attempt to domineer one another over them. We listen to each other with eyes and hearts wide open, appreciating what the other has to teach. We challenge each other to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be, empowering one another through unconditional support. We have had our fair share of internal and external obstacles, we have danced in a ring of fire and together we threw off the challenges with a shrug. We live how we choose despite what others think because this is our happiness.

If life is so short, why not spend your time with the people who love and support you, doing the things that bring you happiness?

For us, our happiness lies in traveling, in each other and in the deep connections we build. Happiness is not something you attain like reaching a goal, it is something you must strive for every single day. Happiness requires struggle, and it is how we answer to negative experiences that brings out the positive. When we make a conscious attempt to elate ourselves, life becomes simpler, everything is seen from a new perspective.

Everyday we ask ourselves, “What do we want to do?”

And our happiness awaits in the answer. 🙂

Over the past six years I have grown so much into myself, constantly learning, adapting and changing into the man I am today. From triumphant highs of elation to plummeting spirals of depression, I have forcibly felt the extremities of the ebb and flow of life. A rigorous struggle for self identity, self worth and self awareness. Trying desperately in spite of uncongenial outlets, that plagued my thirsty soul, to search the world over appeasing my adventurous dreams. A series of misguided attempts at happiness brought me further into despair in my later teens when hindsight rebutted my actions. Told and made to believe that growing up fast would ensure happiness and secure the future. Manipulated into a world of profit and calculated margins.

I have never had a keen sense of remembering conversations, but I do remember a time and a feeling that I should have paid closer attention to. In the midst of building a stunted life, based on a monetary ideology, I was told to slow down by one of the most important figures in my life. Told to sit back and clutch onto my slowly disappearing youth. In that time I was jaded to the idea, felt as if those thoughts were malicious in sentiment for some apparent disregard to reason. If I would have known then, what I do know now, I would have rode my bike longer and further, would have stayed out later with friends, would have found more time to play, hope, dream and roll in the whimsical frenzy of youth. I would have clung to it, steadfast.

But this is not about regrets or what could have been done differently. This is about accepting and making a consistent, conscious effort to remain true to self. Youth has faded amongst my peers. Now on a fast track to unthinkable delirium. Fixed mortgages, school loans and car payments. Stuck in the void. No longer will I feel pressure from or the need to pacify others. Our lives dedicated to living in the present, focusing on our happiness together. Taking each day at a time and living it fully. Our contribution to the world is our love and excitement, our embrace of everything natural and real. It is our duty to ourselves to continue to live exactly the way we see fit, to assert our identity with passion and integrity.

Through grief and love I have learned, what I feel to be the most important lesson, that there is nothing in the world more precious than life itself. Fleeting and vulnerable, which makes it powerful and incredible. I have learned to not have shame or fear in anything that we do, but instead focus entirely on the passion that compels us to continue. Life has become simple and inspiring. A joyful journey.

Life is to be celebrated. Make a lasting promise to live each day as if it were your last; embrace the chaos and make light the ridiculousness of mankind’s mapped out, strategic attempt at satisfaction through stability. Today we celebrate a life that has passed through the tiny window of time and moved on to the infinite spectrum of our memory. A man celebrated for his wisdom and compassion. Celebrated for his unconditional understanding and didactic discipline toward enriching happiness. Instead of sadness, which typically swells around all other emotions on this day, June 30th, we embrace the life that was lived and reflect on the beautiful memories that we keep, continuing to live life to the fullest, which is what he wished most for his children.

“He went, just as he had come, with a spark of ferocity in his eye…When the wave crashed, it fizzled out slowly and hit the coast. He rode his wave for fifty-one years, and finally came to shore on a dismal Wednesday afternoon. He had been searching for his rainbow, and at last, just before the final chapter was played out, his feet drummed to the melody of inevitability.”

The Tunnels Left Within (Part One)

Wherever your soul may be, let it soar high and free, looking down on us as we look up and out for you. I promise to live this life as true to myself as I can and never forget this incredible lesson: to search forevermore for unyielding happiness, to embrace myself, my lover, my world and my health.

Finding Tranquility

Our first time arriving in Pagosa Springs, we were completely spirited away. The word “Pagosah” meaning healing waters in Southern Ute, is home of the world’s deepest hot springs. We were completely oblivious to all of the splendors of this beautiful area, our only focus was the piece of land that was purchased, the land that would become our home. Upon arriving, our souls were lifted from the small town feel. We followed the main road passing alongside the San Juan river as it flowed exuberantly through the center of town. Winding its way to the main attraction, the series of pools that have been built up and filtered from the mother source. Their crystal clear waters glistening in the sunlight, steam rising into the cool mountain air. The historical bathhouse rising up over the river, the stunning views of the San Juan Mountains rising up over the valley in a full panorama. We knew in the depths of our hearts that this was it, this was home.

We drove the 12 miles out of town to the base of a mountain, 10 miles winding up a dirt road full of bumps and potholes, encompassed by deep lush forest and towering Ponderosas. Up an up until we got to our plot of land. This land, this untouched, overgrown wilderness. A symbol of our flourishing love. We danced, we laughed, we howled at the moon beside a cedar scented fire. Creating blueprints in our minds of our house yet to come.

After a couple years of hard work, we are at a place of comfort. Still living entirely off the grid in this wilderness, we have the basic necessities that bring us simple happiness. Everything is running off of a battery powered system, we have running water, a working stove, refrigeration, lights and each other, which is all we need. We have watched this small piece of earth sprout up from a seed into a flower and the most beautiful thing is that it is all ours.

Our Cabin

Our town Pagosa thrives off of tourism. We have met so many beautiful people here, most are transplants like us, yet they cherish the sacredness of these lands just as much as we do. The biggest attractions are the hot springs which are abundant along the San Juan river. But being located within the San Juan National Forest there is so much more, from undisturbed wilderness to beautifully carved mountain peaks to cascading waterfalls, so many things to do and see. Thousands of people travel to this small mountain town each year to soak in these healing waters and to enjoy the quiet sanctity of nature. There is the bathhouse which consists of over 20 different pools to soak at varying temperatures as well as two other establishments with filtered pools and spas for a price. However there are a series of pools built up by locals along the river for free, called the hippy dips. Each year we have watched these pools grow wider and deeper even contributing to the effort of rock stacking to create pools.

In the winter, Wolf Creek pass approximately 23 miles east of Pagosa Springs, gets the most snowfall in Colorado. The town changes into a winter wonderland attracting skiers and other travelers who love lavishing in the fresh snow. Plus there’s no better way to warm up than taking a dip in a hot spring. The town also uses a geothermal heating system to provide heat to the locals in the colder winter months which is great for the environment. Besides healing the body and soothing the mind, there are so many benefits that come from these mineral waters. Pagosa Springs is surrounded by Southern Ute lands, carrying culture and history from the native people who dwelled here long before it became a town settlement. There are native American ruins throughout the back county roads and the Sacred Chimney Rock, now a national monument, holds a plethora of Puebloan structures. The seasons carry us here or there in our travels, but Pagosa always pulls us back. We couldn’t have picked a better place to call home ❤️

I remember back in the late summer of 2015, aimlessly wandering through the Swiss Alps and the Austrian forest, feeling a deep desire for my own peace and quiet. In that time I was physically alone and foreign, left to contemplate my past, present and future inside my head, muttering thoughts to the trees and mountains around me. Nowhere in the world had I a home, or a place to feel truly comfortable. Always on the move, always a guest or a visitor. I craved and fantasized about a piece of land where I could simply relax, and take in all the beauty without feeling like I was interrupting someone else’s tranquility.

For four months I searched across the United States for a feeling. Trying desperately to cling onto something. And then, out of nothing, I stumbled upon our home. I knew it was home. I didn’t know which portion of the wilderness specifically we could stake, but I saw it and knew deep within that this was the place that I would want to spend the rest of my life building a dream. I knew nothing about the town, nothing of the people or the reasons others flowed to the area. All I knew was the deep wild around the land – the Weminuche Wilderness.

When I told Tyema that I had bought the land, I was hesitant, worried and flustered whether or not she would appreciate the beauty. Whether or not she would feel the same as I. I remember my heart racing, dropping to the pit of my stomach as we slowly crept up the ten mile dirt road to the property. Slow motion as we went back the quarter mile dead end lane that was our road. Trees blocking all view, deep brush and towering Ponderosa Pine trees obscuring the backdrop. Her smile meant more to me then than any other feeling that I have known thus far. It was in that instant that I knew we were meant to be together. It was the moment that I knew I wanted to marry this woman and together create a home in this magnificent wilderness.

Every time we come home I feel like the luckiest man in the world. So incredibly happy. So much at peace, so much in love. I cherish every minute we spend here. When we are away I am always dreaming up our next project, or contemplating our future together in this rugged, incredible terrain. No matter where we go I know I have something more rich than any treasure in the world, I have love and peace. Nothing else matters in the end.

Take The Byway

Treasures in fragmented layers litter this terrestrial labyrinth

Underneath scattered, undulated time. The hour glass thrown.

Cracked and splintered, a pedestal for observation.

Gliding along a shelf of cedar, aromatic intoxication infused with sage.

The ancient man still slumbering in sleep, seen from desert to stream.

From cliffs and mesas, mountains and bridges, arches and kivas.

Stands (lies) the test of recorded time.

The smell fades as sand sifts. The eyes glaze betwixt.

We are burnt, scorched in rays of wonder and admiration.

Silently staggering in clay, our feet of the same sheet.

Flesh on flesh, bones on stones.

Who ever said the desert was a lonesome place?

Filled with life, above and below,

Forever linked, soul with soul.

***

Perspective will always eliminate the assumptions of yesterday. Dozens of times, in different states of mind we have hurriedly sped along the meandering, desolate road, Scenic Byway 95. Always screeching through each turn, slamming the gas on straight aways to make it home before dark, or racing out to 12, 24, or 70 for a new adventure. Never pausing or stopping to soak in the raw beauty. Until now. Now we live, work, and play a stones throw from 95. So we opened our eyes and opted outside. Slightly agitated with former naivety I realize the incredible magnitude of this 121 mile stretch of road. From Cedar Mesa to Glen Canyon an immeasurable, dramatic change of the Earth’s shape. Like scars, fissures etching from the plateau into the channeling waterways.

Standing on top of the mesa, in between the Trail of The Ancients, we are greeted with kivas and towers of the Anasazi people. From Hovenweep to Mesa Verde, Natural Bridges to Canyon De Chelly, the Four Corners are accentuated by Sleeping Ute. A mountain seen for hundreds of miles in all directions. Wherever we are, when seeing a glimpse of it, we know that we are close to home. A natural welcoming in a such a diverse landscape. Thousands of years of history beneath our feet. Arrowheads and tools still buried below the ever shifting sandstone floor. Petroglyphs and pictographs clinging to unsteady walls, crumbling…

“…The broken potsherds of the past,

and all are ground to dust a last,

and trodden into clay!”

HWL – “Kéramos”

Clay, as we shall be in time, marks the breadth of all mankind. All the treasures in the world are fragmented splinters of our soul….

Down the steadily sloping walls Natural Bridges link the passage of time. Standing underneath Owachomo, gazing up at Nature’s artistic creation. Thin slices of rock eroded by the passage of a former waterway scrape across the sky, a natural wonder. I feel blessed to spectate, giddy to admire what soon shall vanish. Soaking in one second of the Earth’s history in thirty minutes. Astounding how time divides itself in perspective. The canyons that pass through Natural Bridges follow the length of 95, pass through Fry Canyon, until the dramatic fall into the Colorado River. Crossing over the Dirty Devil we dwell into the diminishing decent. Such depth, time laid out like a book on the shelf of each shredding rock face.

We climb up the other side, distinctly different terrain than before. Sliced rock curving around deep bends. Around we go until we reach the summit of the Glen Canyon, looking down at the confluence of the Dirty Devil and the Colorado. Deep green and silt stained waters interlock, greeting each other silently and subdued. We pass through Hog Canyon, admiring truly magnificent amphitheater like wall faces while peering out at lime colored washes alongside the road. Then the scene shifts, overlapping sand dunes swallow up the sides of the road, constantly moving, twisting and turning in and out of itself. Following the wash, cottonwood trees cling to the banks, thirsting for long overdue runoff. Inside the wash petrified wood roll unearthed, distant relatives showing a glimpse of our home (Earth’s) history. Such wonder in this magical place.

Time is relative, it rolls all around our lives. Showing our past, present and future in an infinity of spectrums. Do you want to see time unravel itself before your eyes? …Take The Byway… -G

We ride the snake, stretching 121 miles through a vast radiant terrain. Sunlight bounces off of every rock surface, shimmering heat waves across the blacktop. Layer after layer of rock, carved into canyons, beaten by the winds and the forces of erosion. Staggering formations stand alone like isolated islands, trickling sandstone into the slots. A network of washes interconnect, crisscrossing back and forth over the barren terrain. Clouds loom in the backdrop, floating above the opaque outlines of the Henry mountains, which disappear and reappear around every curve, a plethora of perspectives.

We follow the wash down the canyon, towering walls closing in. The dried up tributary leads us to the mouth of the Colorado river, where the dirty devil river flows in and together they carve their creation, Glen Canyon.We stop at one of our favorite lookouts, overseeing the Colorado deep down in the canyon. The water is incredibly low this year, but the views still take our breath away.

We continue on disappearing through rock as we descend deeper into the canyon. The Hite Crossing Bridge within our sites, a man made creation in such a staggering, dramatic landscape. We have driven down this byway multiple times, from North to south, from South to North. Through each drive time stands still, the magnitude of beauty overtakes the mind. We sit together silently, moving through these cathedrals of towering rock. Our eyes absorbing every color, every highlight and shadow. There are times where we’d drive without passing a single vehicle, as if all the world were silent too. Our thoughts filled with each other and the vastness of poetic silence sweeping the landscape.

We are but tiny specks of sand in the grand scheme, drifting along with the breeze.

This backroad is a part of the Trail of the Ancients, ruins scattered across the lands, cliff dwellings and hanging gardens. Ancient artifacts from the Anasazi people who once cultivated life here. This terrain is a keeper of stories, the mystery of these ancient dwellers and how they all migrated out of the area around the same time. Hidden gems sift through the sand, unearthed as rocks crumble and break apart. Petrified wood lies still, glistening in the moonlight. But the most spectacular hidden gems await in Natural bridges national monument.

We camped out beneath a half lit moon with a view of the Cedar Mesa, just outside of Natural bridges. The beautiful thing about this Scenic byway is there are so many free places to camp right off the main road, the only rule being, pack it in, pack it out. The next morning we made our way to Natural bridges. It has been over a year since we first visited this park, meaning our perspectives completely changed and it was like seeing it for the first time again.

There is a nine mile loop drive that takes you to the three Natural bridge lookouts, as well as a series of interconnected trails which lead right underneath each bridge. The force of nature proves itself time and time again throughout these lands. Leaving behind natural wonders, arches, bridges, beautifully carved canyons. This is nature’s art, constantly on display for the travelers and adventurers who seek it. So what are you waiting for? Get outside!