Oh Beautiful Toroweap!

Out there, the desert whirl winds pass across white, cracked wastlands, beneath turquoise sky; sending tumble weeds into flight and stirring thick clouds of fine dirt. There are ranchers somewhere in those foothills below Mt. Trumbell. I am betting over half of them have never seen the Toroweap Overlook of the Grand Canyon. They’ve spent their whole lives ranching, farming, and taking care of livestock, but they really haven’t seen the complete beauty of this landscape or what hides in it?

When my grandfather was a boy, he ran sheep out on the Arizona strip. He wandered all over the foothills and the wilderness of Mt. Trumbell, but he never actually journeyed to Toroweap. Very few people will get a chance to see this eery and sacred place. I’ve been to Toroweap twice, and I promise you, it is one of the quietest spots on Earth. The Toroweap Overlook is a 3,000 foot drop from the rim, down to the base of the Colorado River, that makes its way towards Lake Mead.

There are voices on the wind. There is dead silence out there. The silence of mystery, and the howling wind as it shakes your spirit, and whips through your hair. Go out to the edge of the cliffs, along Toroweap, and hang your arms over the edge. Occasionally, wind comes rushing up the sandstone face, and slams into you. It feels like sky diving!

Most tourists wouldn’t dare traverse the 67 miles of rough dirt road, that it takes to reach Toroweap. It is one of the greatest beauties of the Grand Canyon. On a cloudy, rainy day, just before sunset, the sun burns the clouds, and the place becomes alien to its own existence. Like an incredible painting, it becomes awesome and surreal.

Most people have never experienced absolute isolation. Bring Easterners out here, from New York, or elsewhere, and they would never want to return to their old lives. They would feel an immense peace. I?ve been a sheep herder, and I’ve wandered the lonely hills of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. There is nothing but absolute peace out in them hills, which the Junipers call home. Those Junipers talk, and they talk to humans. You’ll hear them, if you know how to listen.

So, one of my secret spots, beside many on the Arizona Strip, is Toroweap. I am revealing that to you. If you truly want your breath taken away, go to this silent place. And be careful and mindful there.

I cannot get the wild places out of my mind. I cannot ignore the wilderness. It haunts me. The blue sky haunts my dreams. My heart is apart of the beauty. The landscape is truly my love. I wander in solitude, and know beauty. I go deeper into these dreams, and I cannot resist their power. The land has infected me with happiness that most will never know. When I watch that setting sun, as it slices through the Pinion, I want to remain under the big sky forever.

My life is in two places; that of the wild, and that of civilization. My existence remains there in the cities and towns, and then something waits for me, beyond the city limits.

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