"In canyon country, you pick your own path."

all together on saturday morning we left the hustle and bustle of provo and struck out with our wild adventurous hearts for the desert canyonlands of moab, utah.

couldn't resist a stop in the weird dusty little town of green river. it was fill-a-bag for $2 day at the thrift store, and we made quick work of the place.

we had a big laugh at this next picture later - - thrifting is serious business for these two!

arriving in our beloved red rock country. i am glad i just finished another Terry Tempest Williams book, An Unspoken Hunger, so i can return to it now for echoes of these places that invigorate and inspire our souls.

"Hands on the earth, I closed my eyes and remembered where the source of my power lies."

addie is especially enamored of these lands. it feels like the very heart, the center, of her body she says.
"Each of us harbors a homeland, a landscape we naturally comprehend. By understanding the dependability of place, we can anchor ourselves as trees."

bursting out of the car in some of his weird thrifted finds, my brother matt couldn't help but do a jiggity figgity dance with wild abandon. crazy coyote soul!

we hiked to Corona Arch. you have to cross these train tracks that go straight across the wide empty desert landscape. i wonder if the train still runs? i can feels old songs in those rails.

red sand, sage, yucca, saltbrush. even in january the desert is a rusty sunlit wash of color and texture.

as far as the eye can see....

when we arrived at corona arch, there was a bald eagle soaring up over it, white head shining in the late sunlight.
"In these moments, I felt innocent and wild, privy to secrets and gifts exchanged only in nature."

we had sunset at the arch all to ourselves. amy and matt did a little photo shoot for their etsy. they like to take photos in all the beautiful and varied spots they visit, to give their shop a little pizzazz. 

 "As women connected to the earth, we are nurturing and we are fierce, we are wicked and we are sublime. The full range is ours. We hold the moon in our bellies and fire in our hearts. We bleed. We give milk. We are the mothers of first words. These words grow. They are our children. They are our stories and our poems."

i have said it before and i will say it again. so many times that the words are truths that echo through each of my footprints in red dirt or mossy floor, swing out through the tips of my fingers...it is so good to hike in nature with those you love. under the sun, or clouds or the moon, through the trees or canyons or snow. laughing and glowing like every thirst is quenched.

after a good hike, you get to have whatever you want for dinner ;-)

i had the best veggie burger of my life at Eddie McStiff's.

i am NOT a food photographer, nor a foodie for that matter, and the pictures never come out looking as appetizing as real life. but let me tell you, this hit the damn spot!

next day was a cold one in Arches National Park. this handsome raven seemed to be enjoying some winter peace, and was making the most quirky talkative noises.

we hiked to sand dune arch, through a wide sandy canyon that the kids could play in like a giant sandbox.

"There is no defense against an open heart and a supple body in dialogue with wilderness. Internal strength is an absorption of the external landscape. We are informed by beauty, raw and sensual."
to be in a place like this, hours at a time, looking up, stretching your neck and your bones and your heart, cracking like ancient rocks, letting light in, you become more alive and full, full of a raw bleeding  pure love that cycles through dirt and skin, cloud and rain, fire and sweat and back again.

we had time for a little etsy shoot here too. i modeled a rad crocheted afghan-sweater for matt and amy.

the vistas in arches are so incredible. there is no real capturing with a camera, even a nice one. it is all around you, like a tornado of beauty.

we left arches in the afternoon and headed to another area in the very center of utah, a strange and magical little land called Goblin Valley.

hooray!!! it might be cloudy, but the sun hasn't set yet! the kids were free to roam and play to their hearts' content here where the strange and ancient hoodoos go marching in neighborly groups, in shapes resembling giant snails and bears and aliens.

wearing about ten layers, but some exploring and climbing brings the warmth to your cheeks. 

cool tiny tunnels and cubby holes for kids to make forts in, ambush from, or slide through.

"What most humans really desire is really something quite different from industrial gimmickry -- liberty, spontaneity, nakedness, mystery, wildness, wilderness." - Ed Abbey

as the sun set, the clouds parted a little and the land was bathed in the most heavenly rosy glow.

you go dizzy from the beauty. you get goofy. you run and dance in that light and you know you and everything around you is pure magic.

amy and i had matching coats, which we were more than happy to show off!

we ended up witnessing the most spectacular sunset you could dream of. so fresh and vibrant it stings the eyes. cold winter sun so alive and pure that every cell vibrates to its song.

i think the road trip gods were with us.
we even had the luck to arrive just barely on time to a brewery in Price, utah for dinner. on a sunday in utah it aint easy to find a good place to eat, especially in the tiny towns dotting the remote roads up through the center of the state. Pinnacle Brewery, aka Groggs, provided big fresh salads, pizza and beer and all the other goods to a hungry, happy, desert satiated family. plus, rustic old tools on the walls and a fire blazing in a stone fireplace and a cheerful server who didn't mind our tardiness, well what more could you want?

thanks for sticking with me! it was a long one i know, but those rambles always stick in my skin for a few days after and haunt me awhile. D.H Lawrence writes, "In every living thing, there is a desire for love, for the relationship of unison with the rest of things." i carry my wilderness love with me, i share it here, and i invoke it for the tiny child inside.

again, many of these photos are addie's and can be found here.


ooooooooooh. utah is so amazing. every picture is glorious. i've never been anywhere like that. soo different from here, but the same majestic beauty the redwoods give is in those crazy red and gold shapes made of rocks. gorgeous. and you are a doll. awesome plaid shirt, awesome big hat. awesome smile.
mo marie said…
Wow it feels like we are neighbors right now on road trip adventures! We managed to escape the crazy snow storm blowing thru these parts. Love how cute your family is, everyone's love of thrifting! That sunset, so wonderful and those colors!! I wish I had been able to visit these parts you were in. We are now in Colorado after a long drive through Utah. It's so fun to venture from home and explore something new!
Sara said…
Heather, I hope it doesn't weird you out for me to say this, but I love you! I felt sadness, anger, and frustration roiling around behind my breastbone for most of the morning and spent a lot of time outside with the animals. Still, I wasn't so happy and the feelings worsened when I came back into the house. But I decided to log on to computer while I waited for my shower water to eat, and what did I find? A beautiful, uplifting post from you. Thank you.
Jacqueline said…
I love that quote by Ed Abbey. Beautiful pictures--thanks for sharing :)
Celynne said…
Oh wow, just... wow. *sigh* Someday I'll get my butt out to a desert! I'd probably break down and cry like a baby from the beauty of it though, I've never been but I believe a place like that would affect me so strongly. I'm just a big suck for nature and land though (I have hugged more than one tree, I admit it). Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful photos! I love coming along with you on your little journeys through the photos.

AND. $2 bag deal at a thrift store sounds too good to be true.
oh honey! it was a long one, but it could've been even longer, i wouldn't have minded at all. thank you for taking us with you...desert medicine received...something my core hungers for. just looking at those rocks and sky, my own wing blades stretch out, i can feel my bones and how GOOD it is to be on this earth. utah...yum yum. i drove through there when i was 19, and i promised to myself i would return. your post also reminds me of that...that seems to happen a lot with posts from you girls...i re-member myself and at the same time KNOW you a little bit deeper.

i just love every pic of your pops. it seems like he has a lot of heart, so warm. and i don't know how to say it for the zabillionth time, but you are such a wonder to behold. you could make any outfit shine...even though your vintage beauty is amazing, you could wear the most benign boring thing and coupled with your glow and your smile....well...you've just got it mama...a mona lisa-esque brilliance and mystery. i adore you. xo
anne said…
"Each of us harbors a homeland, a landscape we naturally comprehend" i will be contemplating that for the whole day i think. it's weird too because this morning, as i drove the kids to school, i was thinking about something similar and then i read the above quote and it was like my thoughts put perfectly into words! does that make sense?

these pictures are just breathtaking. i know i always say this but your words and smiling face ALWAYS make me happy. thank you :D

the picture of you and amy in matching coats jumping is seriously rad! and that sunset! my oh my such beauty!
Crystal said…
Moab! I'd never heard of it before I found myself there, wandering around with my soul full to brimming. I love all of the southwestern desert (that Ive seen) but Moab is especially magical. It's like all those big rocks with their crevices block out the technological frequencies and leave us the empty air that is our birthright.

Joanne said…
Thank you!.. so much for letting us come along with you on your adventures. A much needed dose of desert.. lovelove :)
Amy Beatty said…
:), that's right! P.s. I miss hearing your blood work results. You can call me after every meal if you like. P.p.s. im wearing the cutest snugglest slippers ever. Thank you!! And thank you a million for coming out. Love you. And you KNOW I do, since I'm sitting here writing this with one finger :)
Joanne said…
.. also I wanted to ask whether you've read Ellen Meloy? another great desert woman.. her "The Anthropology of Turquoise" is one of my all time favourite books :) xo
Joanne, funny you should mention her...matt and amy got me that book for my birthday! i will put it on the top of my to-read pile. it is a gorgeous and inviting book. thank you for the recommendation!
whit said…
Love all your pics!! You guys look great. :)
AdieSpringB said…
You nailed it bun! What a beautiful post. What a beautiful TIME. You are ONE inspiring mama to be! I was reading my Falcon guide for Zion and Bryce Canyon for our April trip, deciding on hikes that are off the beaten path. I CAN'T WAIT and wish you'd get a bee in your bonnet to come. I wanna see the pregnant belly heaving up the mountain side !
that beard....wowza. and those sunset photos, so beautiful. it's good to see everyone together! what a happy blooming winter it's been.
Teeny said…
I can't believe i missed this post! UTAH, when i say it, it is as if all the wonderment about the world i possess is exhaled. I understand connectivity to nature, i feel it especially with the wind. I'm going to sound especially crazy here, but i'm sure the trees are talking up a storm when it's windy. you know you're going to have to give us belly pics soon. Right!
Violet Folklore said…
Beautiful beautiful beautiful Heather. My goodness. The images, your words, the words of others. I savored this post like nectar straight from the source.

Man, you Beatty's are all over Etsy! I love Adie's canyon shots in both of your shops.

What you said about being out it true nature with people you love is just OH so true. Your words and pictures here got as close to transporting me there as I can imagine. I remember that feeling, and I want it again and again.

And you know Little Baby felt all those good and wondrous and loving vibes the whole time!

That sunset is unreal, those photos are dreams.
Joanne said…
So glad you have the Ellen Meloy book Heather! I hope you enjoy it.. I fell around laughing reading it at times and my bones ached for the desert.. all her books are amazing and despite having a tragically short life she's left such a great legacy for women desert writers :)
Lovelove.. xxx

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