We’re back from the desert!

Phil and I returned from our trip to the desert on Saturday, and the intervening time has mostly been spent sleeping and getting back to a normal life.  It’s strange; there’s a depression that sets in once you come back that you don’t expect when you leave for the trip, and once you’re on your way back you’re so exhausted that you don’t expect it then either.  Once you have a night’s sleep under your belt, though, and you realize that you have to return to things like housework and a job, it makes you long for the hours on the road.

There’s a rhythm to that life that seems pure… you go to bed after sundown, wake up as the sky lightens before dawn.  You strike camp before the sun crests the eastern hills and you get back on the road.  You start thinking about food around noon, and a few hours before sundown you start looking for the next camp.  It has a kind of purity of purpose to it.

Now, back in The World, there’re a thousand things to do and not anywhere near enough time to do those things in.

But I’m pleased to say that we brought back some very beautiful things for you.  Phil is working through his photos and I’m plowing through my notes, and between the two of us we’ll put together something that will make you realize what it is to be human, just as the trip has done to us.

We have mused together about the hardships we faced, having inadvertently met the North American monsoon.  We have expressed amazement over what we faced, and the casual way in which we faced it.

We covered almost sixteen hundred miles of the country’s hardest areas in six days,  We traversed thousands of feet in elevation.  We handled temperatures from the sixties to the one-hundred-and-tens.  We dealt with sweltering heat and downpours.  There are more specific accounts of our travels coming, as soon as I get them written up.

What you need to know right now, is that this trip more than any other was a kind of life-altering experience for me.  We saw so many strange things in unexpected places.  We slept in a place where the ground itself bakes you like an oven, and we saw black-tailed jackrabbits in the high desert.

The best way to keep up on the photos is to keep an eye on Phil Rose’s Flickr site, which is where he’s posting the photos as he finishes processing them.  Some of the images are disturbing, and all of them are haunting.

If nothing else was accomplished on this trip, my faith in my photographer has doubled or tripled.

We visited beautiful and harrowing places in our visit, and most of them are too strange, each in their own way, to mention in brief,  I hope that in the end, we will be able to answer some questions, and illuminate some of what many consider to be a dead land, but which is so very alive… a place full of glowing sunrises, sweet-smelling earth, and stories of mankind’s drive and vision.

So stay tuned for stories of dead cows and apocalyptic landscapes, of towns which have walled themselves off from the sea and of the parts of town beyond the berm.  These tales and more await you.

Thank you to everyone for your moral support.  I can only hope that I’ve lived up to everyone’s expectations.

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