Great 48: Arizona

Straight off of Whitney, we had an 11-hour drive to Arizona's high point, Humphreys Peak. I dropped the crew off at the trailhead and headed into Flagstaff to refuel, do laundry, and pick up other supplies. I ached for some stillness, and the providentially-placed laundromat next to a bakery & coffee shop provided exactly that. Our dirty laundry (stowed in black plastic in our car-top carrier) had become a self-perpetuating energy source that, given a few more days, may have sprouted its own gravity field, sucking bugs, socks, coffee cups, and Clif Bars into a careering orbit. I picked up a coffee and four asteroid-sized peanut butter croissants for our long drive from here to Texas.

It was there, on my short drive back to the trailhead, that I felt most like my Midwestern photographer-self. Short on time, I scanned the trees off the road for patterns, bits of light shuttling here or there, making sense and simplicity of the forest. My eyes didn’t search for expanses, but minutiae. It was no different than the way I drive my county roads to work each morning. I was happy to find these aspens evenly lit by the encroaching storm. No peak this time, but I was content with the small mercy of beautiful and even light on a restful afternoon. We had another long, long drive to start within minutes of their return.