Monday, March 23, 2015

Devil's Canyon soon to be lost...

Have you ever heard of Devil's Canyon?

That is what my friend asked as she talked about the hike she found. She talked about the rock formations, the hiking and climbing and potential for seeing ruins. I wracked my brain but had no recollection of the name. It was just a couple of evocative words thrown together that a quick Google search revealed was facing imminent hand off to private mining along with Oak Flats Campground. Why had I only heard of Oak Flats? Was Devil's Canyon lame? No, just obscure.
A View approaching Devil's Canyon, Arizona

We went to explore. It required a high clearance vehicle. When we got to the dirt access road it was a little confusing, it seemed as if we were driving into a mine but it was just a mine you have to go past to get to Devil's Canyon. A preview of the potential future of Devil's Canyon if we choose to apathetically allow one of the most beautiful and unspoiled sights to get neatly handed off.

Sunset viewed at Devil's Canyon, Arizona

Devil's Canyon has historical significance to the Native Americans who live in the area and who's ancestors used the land. They as a group did not hand the land over to our government, the individual who signed the rights to the land away did not speak for or represent all of the people. That individual, given divination into modern affairs, would not have signed had they realized their signature would herald the destruction of a place they highly valued.

It is not okay to destroy Devil's Canyon. Have you been there?

Devil's Canyon view, Arizona

Breathtaking views surround you as you hike Devil's Canyon

We drove slowly up and down the steep dirt road, over rocks and down winding switchbacks. We followed the trail and found a gorgeous canyon. Rock formations more amazing than any human architecture surrounded us. I felt like I was in a natural Cathedral, looking at what the world once was. Beautiful, natural, unspoiled. Lichen, lazy pools of clear, cold water, and red rocks piled like bricks, statues and faces. A playground for adults! We climbed rocks, we listened to the sound of the wind in the canyon, knowing that we could be among the last hikers to do so. What would the wind say if it could?

Another amazing view at Devil's Canyon, Arizona
It would say, dream and live. The wind plays through the canyon without breaking the rocks, cactus and plants grow from every surface they can. Green accents the views in a combination of shrubs, cactus, and lichen patterns almost glowing green on the rocks. Gorgeous. In my mind, I could hear the heartbeat of a drum in the distance. In my heart I refused the image of dynamite and metal mining trucks lurking in the future waiting to deconstruct the sights I was falling in love with for copper.

It was like falling in love with someone you already know is dying; who is fiercely living because they just do not know how to die. How can you tune that out? Why would you?

Spread the word, contact legislation especially in Washington. Let them know that it is not alright to mine Devil's Canyon, Oak Flats Campground or Apache Leap because it is not alright. It would be yet one more black mark demonstrating that we value short financial returns for a company over the natural world. It isn't all about profits. What will be there in the future? A mine or a Canyon? It REALLY is up to you.