I go to the John Wesley Powell Museum in Mount Carmel and talk to Paul Bingham. He shows me his exhibition of some of the very first images ever taken of native Americans in this region. It is a controversial topic, as many of the pictures are obviously posed and supposedly the fotografier tried to fit the “objects” into what he wanted to portray as the “savages” suiting his imagination. I am glad I get this insight and food for thought.
Then I go to Palm Springs National Monument where I have the chance to talk to Autumn, a member of the local Paiute Tribe. Everything she tells me is not only very informative, but also moving and I take many notes for my book.
My favorite detail is, that she tells me how she shows her gratitude to the earth. Whenever she would take something from it, like a plant to use for anything in her life, she would also give something back to it in exchange. I love this very simple and obvious gesture and I will take it with me and practice it on my way forward.
Then I am hitchhiking towards Page, where I will finally be picking up my boat again. A Sprinter stops and the moment I get in I know this will be good: Abbey, named after Edward Abbey, is obviously a creature of the outdoors. Her ride is full of gear and I soon learn that she is a firefighter in Grand Canyon, heading there for the summer season, after working on ski patrol (like most river guides) in the winter. When she invites me to spend the night with her and her friends, lend me her bike to explore the touristic parts of the Grand Canyon National Park in the Morning and then show me around the helipad, I do not think twice. It’s the beginning of a friendship. I can feel it.