The Burton Blog

Discovering life in the desert: Lake Powell to the Grand Canyon

You’ve been staring into the Grand Canyon for three hours.

Yet it feels more like three minutes. Following the route of Burton staff photographer, Gabe L’Heureux, you wander the deserts of Utah and Arizona with a friend, a tent and a camera. You camp beside the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell. You experience the ebb and flow of the road with varying degrees of civilization along the way. The remote miles of unsettled land blend in your mind with the long stretches of highway, dotted with hotels and tourist traps. Your reliance on the comforts of home faded two days ago. Time has become less about numbers or schedules, and more about the rise and fall of the sun. At it’s peak, you find shade and water. When it sets, you watch the stars.  

Room with a view.

Each part of the world has it's defining characteristics. The Pacific Northwest is moist and green. The California coastline is a tree-lined slice of paradise. This is one corner of the world where everything is dictated by extremes. Of all the back yards we could explore, this one makes us feel like our very presence is a defiance against nature. It's too dry, too hot, and that's exactly why we're out here. The adventure is in the challenge. The destination is just a bonus. 

Multiple exposures of a place that's seen enough exposure to the sun.

The six hour drive north from the Grand Canyon to Lake Powell along highway 89 offers more than a few opportunities to detour off into nowhere. You want to get so far out that you can walk a mile in any direction and not see civilization. It won't be long before you start to feel like a visitor in someone else’s neighborhood.

Camping beside Lake Powell. You've never seen stars until you've spent a night in the desert.
Power lines in the rear view, desert ahead.
Big skies over Lake Powell.
A quiet moment beside the Grand Canyon.

In a time when we’re never more than a click away from our friends and families (let alone the millions of people we don’t even know), it’s a special thing to be alone–and if you’re with a friend, to be together, disconnected. If the feeling of true solitude is altogether foreign, you just have to go find out for yourself. You could follow this road or find your own. After all, every part of the world has its complexities, and you're never more than a quick trip away. Pack the essentials, book a flight or hop on a bus. Either way, you'll be glad you did. ∆