Paria Gold by Ian Whitehead
Paria Wilderness Area, Arizona

Silence is Golden. And some of the most incredible peace and silence lie within this deep, narrow gorge of undulating sandstone walls of Paria Canyon.

The journey itself is a huge part of the experience of Paria Canyon. It is a living testimonial to mud. Slippery mud, sticky mud, wet mud, dry mud, cracked mud, colorful mud, quick mud, slow mud. Mud, mud, mud.

At night, the darkness is thick between the tall, narrow walls. I imagine this is what it might feel like to be blind. As I sit in the incredible silence, I also imagine this may be what it is like to be deaf.

As I lie in my sleeping bag looking up at the narrow slit of sky between the towering walls above, I see the stars of the milky way galaxy as if for the very first time. Occasionally, the swoop, swoop, swoop, of Raven wings, echo through these vast corridors of time.

Another span of incredible silence and then, I am startled by a loud noise that seems to be coming from very close by. My imagination runs wild, for a micro-second, before I realize the source of noise is my own stomach, gurgling over our evenings dinner.