just passin’ through….

This was a return, of sorts, to that former place, that home in the “used to be,” an incomplete migration, however…just a trip, a delivery, an instance of human transport from one place to another…taking my Little One to a halfway point between here and there where we would and did meet his older brother and family; a drop-off, an hour’s visitation, and then the return trip to the southern desert that is now home.

A red mesa south of Kanab, Utah

I’ve passed along this stretch of road countless times, now…back and forth, from Phoenix to Salt Lake City, this way and that, comings and goings, to one home and another, cars and trucks journeying over a familiar expanse of time and distance, emotion-laden memories, heartbeats, racing minds…acceptance….

Wild grasses and fence posts

With hours alone in the truck with my eyes and mind racing over the landscape, I recalled places in the contexts of other trips, heard echoes again of old conversations held on this road or in the places at each end of it…I remembered the road, too, and anticipated landmarks that would soon appear on the various horizons or at the end of a particular curve, around that far bend in the road and up against the fence-posts that remain in their ever places.

Reddish purple mesa south east of Kanab, Utah

The images come from a particular stretch of that road, US Highway 89, heading south from Kanab, Utah, and representing in their randomness the terrain that exists up to just a mile or so north of the Utah/Arizona border.

Purple mesa and fields of sage, south and east of Kanab, Utah

It wasn’t intentional, really…it just happened this way….  After I made a few images of the fence-posts wending their way through the waist-high grasses and the carved-away, undulating fields of silver-gray sage, it struck me that the connecting threads of what I was looking at through the camera were those lines of wire and post…the common thing drawing together that changing landscape, keeping it whole as it was separate….

White mesa behind rose mesa, east of Kanab, Utah

Red and purple mesas, white and gray and tan and brown rock with their layers of ancient sediment fading into cone-shaped forms of sand and dust riding down from their tops and sides onto an even lower sea-floor…golden grasses, verdant shrubs of various hues, richly green juniper trees, and the constant silver-gray of the unflowered sage…all connected and drawn into a constant vision of roadside landscape by the unspooled wire with its metal and wooden posts so ordered.

Approaching white cliffs, closer to Lake Powell

Looking north from the road at this point, in the photo below, one sees what is likely the southern edge of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument….

Edge of Escalante National Monument

…and looking south, one can see what is likely the extreme northern edge of the Paria Plateau, the mass of land that is bounded by the Vermillion Cliffs and The Grand Canyon…south from here.

Looking south

The grasses in the foreground struck me as more compelling than the skyline with the low mesa in the background of the below photo.

Fence posts among wild grass, north of Page, Arizona

Several miles down the road and the fence looked the same, but the vegetation was changing…looking west…

Fence posts south of Kanab, Utah

…and looking south and east…to the northern reaches of Lake Powell….

Early glimpse of Lake Powell from Utah

The other side of the road revealed more “plain” cliffs of dirty brown and gray…that end-up having gray/blue sediment cones running down from their edges as this mass gets closer to the lake.

Whitish cliffs, north of Lake Powell, Utah

The road is now heading southeast, flying straight and fast towards the imaginary line that separates Utah and Arizona from one another…a contrivance that means nothing when watching the land flow into itself from one region to the next.

White cliffs north of Lake Powell, just inside Utah

The last three images are essentially facing west, with Lake Powell to the east behind us.  Notice this first image is looking directly over the fence-line…

Ancient sea-floor sand-stone cliffs

…and this one, above, is looking to the left/south at another sediment mass that is slowly losing itself with large chunks falling out of its wall and creating a cavern that has also lost its ceiling…and the last image is looking to the right/north at what is actually the forward extension of the mass (to the right and out of frame) in the first of these last three photos.

White sand-stone monolith, north of Lake Powell, just inside Utah border on Highway 89

I guess that’s it…representing approximately 75 miles of scenery between Kanab and the Utah/Arizona border, these 16 images are only a handful from the several-dozen that I made along this roadway…little delays that combined to add more than two hours to the five-hour drive home.

Thank you for enduring the longer post…I hope you enjoyed the drive.

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18 responses

  1. I think I traveled that road . . . I’ll have to check my photos from the last decade.

    August 10, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    • It’s likely that you did if you traveled the north/south route in this region.

      August 16, 2015 at 8:26 am

  2. I very much enjoyed the drive and your images brought back quite a few memories of my own from a long distant past. I found the scenery to be rather dull at first, but it seems to grow on you. Until you finally see the beauty.

    August 10, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    • Well, thank you, Gunta…and yes, I can see how the scenery might be considered dull when compared with some of the great landscapes in our experiences, but the closer look and familiarity do seem to open our eyes to the beauty that can be found here.

      August 16, 2015 at 8:28 am

  3. There is something monumental about these hills… especially the last one.

    August 10, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    • That’s an excellent word for them, Shimon…monumental, indeed.

      August 16, 2015 at 8:29 am

  4. James Cowley

    Awakened to beauty in the fenced landscape that I have traveled many times and that I have always before failed to connect and articulate. Thanks for opening my eyes.

    August 11, 2015 at 1:41 am

    • How nice that you enjoyed it, James…you are most welcome….and thank you, too, for being here.

      August 16, 2015 at 8:30 am

  5. I did enjoy the drive, thank you Scott! Appreciate the time you took to share it with us!

    August 11, 2015 at 2:48 am

    • I’m glad you did, Adrian….thank you very much. 🙂

      August 16, 2015 at 8:30 am

  6. Sometimes longer journeys require longer posts. And yes, it was good to go along with you!

    August 11, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    • Thank you, Gary…I always enjoy your company. 🙂

      August 16, 2015 at 8:31 am

  7. It was worth the extra driving time!

    August 11, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    • I think so, too, Allen. 🙂

      August 16, 2015 at 8:31 am

  8. It was wonderful tagging along for this journey. Such beautiful scenery – the fascinating rock formations – and the wonderful colours: pinks, greens, blues, browns and buffs ……. I love the fencing too – as it waves up and down along the way. Marvellous!

    August 19, 2015 at 9:36 am

    • How nice that it was wonderful for you, Meanderer….thank you very much. 🙂

      August 20, 2015 at 7:34 am

  9. Liana

    what is it about fences??? whatever it is, it is happening here beautifully . . . iconically

    August 23, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    • There is something, isn’t there…?

      Thank you, Liana.

      August 23, 2015 at 7:02 pm

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