I was born in Page Hospital almost 25 years ago. Dr. Darrell Bunch was still delivering babies in those days. My first-ever car ride brought me down the hill off of Manson Mesa, across the Glen Canyon Bridge, beyond Wahweap Marina, Greenehaven, Lone Rock, and the Entrada Sandstone cliffs that now play host to the famous Amangiri Resort; to my parents home in Big Water, Utah at the foot of the Kaiparowits Plateau. The furthest I’ve ever moved away was to the other side of Big Water, “BeunaVista”, and let’s just say that felt too far. I now live in my own home on the same slice of Real Estate I was raised on, next door to my mother: Heather Rankin, Owner and Broker of Rankin Realty at Lake Powell.
As I grew up here, I rode along that drive to and from Page and Big Water often. I remember early on being confused when I’d hear people complain about that commute, something about it lasting too long? Nonsense, I thought. It wasn’t long enough! When I would gaze out the window at the other-worldly formations of our homeland on trips to Walmart, my frustration was that we seemed to be in such a hurry.
What’s that road over there? Why can’t we drive down it? Let’s go climb those rocks. Let’s find out what those cliffs look like up close. There’s not a road there? Well let’s just pull off this highway and start walking out there.
In 2nd grade at Big Water School, a day in Cathy Reed’s class brought us a spelling list with the word “detour”, and she taught us what it meant. It was as though a warm breeze coursed through my soul… there was a word for what I had always wanted to do! In future car rides to and from Page, I vowed that when I grew up, I’d never let adult responsibilities outshine taking detours. Detours every day! What made those adults think all those little errands were so much more important than the desert? Come on! 😉 I was going to learn every square inch of those wild lands.
For a long time, my 16th Birthday and the freedom to explore that it would bring felt like a far-off daydream that would never be realized. It has now been close to 9 years since that day came and went, and I can tell you that I’ve kept my promise to take the detours in this adult life (although I *can* admit that I underestimated how tricky it is to not get so busy with life that we forget to slow down and actually live.)
On long trips out of town, I search for different routes home than I took there. Often, when I’m coming back to Big Water from Kanab, I’ll opt to take the long way through the Kaibab National Forest, Marble Canyon, and Page. Last summer, on my way to an appointment with a client at my office I realized the moment was perfect to stop at the Marina and jump in the Lake (fully clothed, at that) for a quick swim. A visit to friends in Cannonville, Utah was much better attained by taking the 47 mile long unpaved “Cottonwood Canyon Road”, instead of the highways…
I live for detours. I had that part right. What I couldn’t have known as a little girl growing up here though, was that my endeavor to learn every square inch of these wild lands was an impossible one: because this region is infinite. Every time I load up my two sons into our Dodge Ram and set out, we discover something new. Some new vista we’ve never beheld before, a hoodoo we’ve never stood beneath, a slot canyon whose walls we’ve never touched. Even if I return to a favorite location: the changing position of the sun in the sky throughout the year casts new light and new shadows on the same formations, changing the character of the rocks. And then, I am changing also. My outlooks change, my attention to details changes.
While I know that to some, the drive between Page and Big Water gets old… I’ve been doing it for 25 years myself, and I just can’t relate. I’ll take cruising that 17 mile stretch of US-89 at 65mph through some of the most scenic country in the United States as my commute to work over just 10 minutes of traffic in a city any day.
In my posts here on my mother’s site, I hope to share a drop of insight into rural living in this region by writing about some of the detours and adventures Noah, Archer, and I have taken here locally. We are also festival-goers, so you’ll be hearing about those experiences as well. I hope that if you’re a local, my posts will inspire you to get out of the house. If you’re not a local, I hope that you’ll be inspired to become one (and that you’ll choose Rankin Realty for your Real Estate Purchase journey.)