It sounds like an oxymoron to breathe the words hike with fashion, or to utter life-threatening danger with breaths-stopping runway. For when was the last time that adventure turned vogue? That a treacherous hike turned glamorous?
My annual trip with Gastronomypix took us into the arms of the vast, desertly, wireless signal-less, uncrowded, sweltering and adventure-doused terrains of Utah. Where, after an ethereal meal in Salt Lake City, and many hours outside civilization, meandering around Kanab, we happened to win a lottery (courtesy of her boy luck, i.e. yours truly) to hike to the Wave. Which, for those like me who are unaware, is the trail-less hike to a natural sandstone formation that is the size of a football field, but with the depth of a vivid imagination.
The fashion infusion commenced in our packing phase, where instead of hiking gear, compasses and walking sticks, we packed designer clothing, coordinated accessories and zoom lenses, aiming to seize the opportunity for a photo shoot. For what better way to remember an enigmatic, enchanting place than with a series of ethereal blowouts? Thus began the quest of the cowboy in red plaid and a matching hat, albeit without a cow.
Notwithstanding the enchantress in hypnotic yellow with black bling and wispy hair and pouting expressions maintained through a scorching, sunny terrains.
The Wave was a surreal texture of horizontal hues of desert red, sunset orange, fiery white and suntan bronze. With death gnawed twigs and branches at its feet, the lush blue water was a mirage that captivated out lenses and imagination. Aside from the curvaceous linearity of the Wave’s natural construction, the water body became a focal point of our work.
The way to the destination was by no means easy. Before the cowboy and enchantress phase was what we can view as a backstage edition.
After lengthy and long sunrise circling drives that looped around identical mountains, we came to a dirt road that constituted of dried up streams like a dry octopus’s evil tentatcles, ready to strangle at the wince of a muscle. This physical hike came next, through jagged cliffs, cactus stitched grounds and swarms of quicksand, with faces in the rocks peering at us as we strolled passed them, with an eerie feeling of being watched under the sun’s vile gaze. We were guided by an ironic series of photographic watch points, which spelled ambiguity when combined with our intuition and a rapidly languishing bucket of drinking water. The practice shots, backstage if you like, were impactful and exemplary of our subsequent photo shoot, albeit sans the surface glam.
\We were in our skimpy attire, which was comfortable to get hot in, and easy to get in and out of. Naturally it also sufficed for the lady’s yoga style stretches and the man’s pushups.
We actually got lost en route back, as the sun promised to kiss us goodbye into the arms of a pitch black night, where our legs and bladders began to give way as our eyes darted from rock to rock seeking a way out of this abyss. As fatigue from an endearing day and fear from coyotes seeped into us like tea from a teabag, the eventual familiarity of making it back to our car wrung it all out of us, replacing it with the dire need for sleep, and a new inspiration.
So, adventure seekers, never shy from glam. For where there is stubborn and jagged rock, there is succulent flesh and flowing fabric. Match the deathly valleys of hiking with the depth of imagination, the squint of a bullying sun with the glare of a zoom lens.