The End of the Trail

Day 96 – Emily’s Entry – July 17 – 5:17am – Watchtower- Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Currently, we are sitting by the Grand Canyon Watchtower watching the sun rise over the canyon.

We witnessed a spectacular sunset with pink and golden clouds against a brilliant, blue sky last night. There was a double rainbow in the sky as well. Sitting on the cliffside last night felt like the epic beginning of the end of this trip. Last night, Corey shot the Milky Way over the tree line. I will miss seeing the stars at night.

Day 96 – Emily’s Entry – July 17 – 5:44pm – Forked Pine Campground, - Coconino National Forest, Arizona

What a lovely day it is. Our campsite overlooks a small lake on a meadow of tall grass and wildflowers. We can see the San Francisco Mountain peaks in the distance. Families are fishing and kayaking the lake. Three black labs of a neighbor camp family chase tennis balls in the field. I had no idea Arizona was such an American paradise.

An American Pipit (a bird) just ran through my legs!

It’s strange to think today is Friday, and we end our journey in Burbank, CA on Tuesday! For over 3 months, our lives have focused around the question, “Where next?” I do look forward to a full kitchen, bathrooms with sinks, and reliable internet, yet I’ll miss my pristine views, wildlife pets, and promise of everyday adventure. The journey’s been long and near its end. I have made many a friend. We’ve traveled far and around the bend. And yet, it’s only the start.

Day 99 – Corey’s Entry – July 21 – 3:15pm – Joshua Tree National Park, California

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” – Robert Burns

The last few days have been touch and go. After Antelope Canyon, we headed to Sedona, Arizona. The only thing I heard about Sedona was how it housed an energy vortex called Cathedral Rock. We stopped in a local restaurant for lunch and to work. Across from us, we met a shaman and a medicine woman who practice Reiki and energy transfers. Places like Cassadaga, Florida, Asheville, North Carolina, and Sedona host a kind of energy that artists are drawn to. You can almost feel the energy and it shows in the towns with all the artwork and gorgeous scenery. Rain and thunderstorms struck once again last night, so we missed the sunset and couldn’t go outside. So unfortunately, I have nothing but memories. We will travel back there someday.

Our next stop was going to be the Kofa National Forest, but we rethought that stop for a couple reasons. The tread on our back tires was completely worn, not even a penny can rest in them. And another monsoon was brewing, so we decided to continue to Joshua Tree.

We met with some fellow travelers at lunch then shared some drinks and swapped stories with our good friend Joey. I’m sure glad we did too. Had we not stopped to see him, we would’ve been caught in a flash flood trying to get into California. See, on our way after Tempe, AZ we hit some major traffic. A flash flood had wiped out a section of the i-10 and flooded the area four feet high. So if we blew through and didn’t stop we would’ve been in that or trapped at Cottonwood Campground, which was also flooded. Strange how the world works like that and thank God we got a room that night in a hotel. There really is always a reason.

So now I’m sitting on a rock in Joshua Tree thanking God we weren’t in that mess. It’s Day 99. I know it’s not over until tomorrow, but my thoughts are swimming. I don’t want to stop. I want to keep traveling like this. I know I complain about bugs and wanting to be in a clean bed, but overall I love living like this. New places all the time, outdoors, enjoying nature, and making friends with strangers I’ll never see again. Something is very poetic about that last part.

Truth is, I love being a traveler. Okay, settle down once in a while, but this trip has been incredible. I’ve learned a lot and grown up a bit. I think when I retire, I want to be a ranger, volunteer if they’ll take me.

Day 99 – Emily’s Entry – July 20 – 3:15pm – Jumbo Rocks Campground – Joshua Tree National Park, California

This feels like a mythical day. Day 99/100. It’s similar to the day the world will end or your 50th birthday. You always knew it might come sooner or later, but definitely not yet. Well, here we are. I’ve learned better what I can handle like I’m remarkably calm when I might be struck by lightning. I’ve learned not everything is what is seems to be. Sometimes something that initially seems terrible can easily be a blessing in disguise. I’ve also learned my limits. 100+ flies at my campsite is my limit. Side note: I’ve never seen so many flies in my life and I’m completely over them. I understand you, Winnebago Man. I really do.

Corey and I feel we’ve gotten used to this lifestyle. It took us about 2 weeks to get used to it. It’s important to stay positive. Even though of all the creatures we’ve encountered, people are by far the most complicated, confusing creatures on the planet. The city’s not all bad though. L.A. has good food and good friends. Corey and I are also very excited to get back to our other work. We plan on selling prints, canvases, and other products soon in addition to shooting work. We also will soon begin plans for another epic road trip to Alaska 2016.

I feel so blessed to have gone on this journey. I went with the love of my life and saw so many other people I love and met new friends. I want to say thank you to everyone who sheltered, fed, followed, met, and rooted for us on this trip. You are loved and appreciated more than you will ever know.