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From Badwater Basin... To Angel's Landing

From Badwater Basin... To Angel's Landing

IMG 2508The open road is my obsession. If too much time passes between outings, I need a fix. Perhaps a mere two-hour drive ascending along the magnificent Kolob Reservoir Road for an indescribable view and a breath of fresh air is all I need. But sometimes I just yearn to cleanse my mind and sweat it out along a desert highway. The enormous diversity of the Southwest landscape is my addiction.   

I clearly recall the first time I crossed the desert alone. It was 1979, and I was 17-years-old. Behind the wheel of my 1976 Ford Pinto, I headed out from my home in Parker, Arizona, to Southern California on Highway 62, better known as the Rice Road. This two-lane stretch of asphalt was built in 1933 and lacked engineering, to say the least. The twists, turns, bumps, and hills were like an “E” ticket Disneyland ride in my Pinto. Conditions across this part of the Mojave Desert are harsh. General George Patton set up a military training facility here in 1942 to prepare troops for action in the deserts of North Africa. I too, was fairly prepared (but mostly naive). I knew how to change a tire and crank a wrench. The car was loaded with water, blankets, snacks, and my favorite Led Zeppelin 8-track. I was ready for the three-hour adventure and the Pinto was my ticket to freedom.

The trip itself seemed to soar by at 55 mph. I stopped to view any distraction that caught my eye; random historical markers, abandoned buildings, and pullouts where the scenery was the most majestic.
As Highway 62 veered slightly north, the road took me through what would later become the east side of Joshua Tree National Park (1994). My eyes were wide open as I passed thousands of the iconic trees with their branches extending towards the cerulean skies. Who knew that the countless rock formations
I witnessed would become a haven for world class climbing? It was just me and the desert in an
intimate space. It was here that Highway 62 showed me how to love the open road and left me with a profound respect for nature, history, and freedom.

When the highway calls, I grab my husband and go. Sometimes I drag the girls in the office out, other times it’s a friend riding shotgun. Most times, it’s just me and my dogs, but whenever possible, I take one of my grandchildren, sharing with them my passion for seeking the beautiful, vast, mysterious, glorious, isolated, grand places hiding along the unbeaten path ... and to protect them.

From the depths of Death Valley’s Badwater Basin to the adrenal rush of reaching Zion’s Angel’s Landing, the Travel issue of Etched Magazine takes you out on the open road. Journey with photographer and journalist, Nick Adams, as he wanders across the Mojave Desert. Witness the magnificent sights of the Grand Circle’s treasured formations. And travel the tracks to the train depots that changed history in the nineteenth century by bringing people to the region. From two-lane highways to narrow trails, the Travel issue of Etched allows you to truly Experience the Southwest.

When the open road calls, don’t silence it. Indulge yourself in the landscape and allure of the desert;
feel its grit on your skin, and let the sweat roll down your face. Feel how the hot air keeps you gasping for more, and the canyons quench your thirst. This is the euphoria of the Southwest.

Darci, Editor in Chief


Legends of Gratitude

Legends of Gratitude... The Southwest FrontierDarciD
Etched Holiday Issue 2015

I recall the night well. It was in the fall of 1969. My mom packed snacks while my dad loaded the station wagon with blankets, pillows, and the three of us kids. Dad said we were headed off to a great adventure, something about the Old West, and cowboys. At seven years old, my mind envisioned a trip to Calico Ghost Town, or maybe Knott’s Berry Farm. But the short ten minute journey led to the drive-in theater. We merged into the huge line of cars who were all there to see the premiere of what would become the smash-hit of 1969. The film, achieving box office dominance, and winner of four Oscars was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The movie, captivated my attention. And it was Paul Newman and Robert Redford who gave me my first introduction to the “cowboy”.   

But Hollywood’s valiant attempt to bring to the screen the history and people of the western frontier could never capture the true grit of forging the American West.

In the early 1970s I began to understand this when my parents built a home on the CRIT Reservation in Parker, Arizona, along the Colorado River. This massive body of water was the bloodline to the Parker Valley; a fifty mile stretch of land that had been under agricultural development since 1867. Through my friends who lived and worked on these farms, participated in FFA, 4-H, and competed in the rodeos, I came to know the “cowboy” of the times. Still, neither they nor my Hollywood heros were the cattlemen whose essence of lifestyle arose from the most lonely of lands.

The American West Cowboy is a result of infusion from varying cultures, ethnicities, and countries over centuries. In the shortest of terms, he was a cattleman. His life was that of his herd and the horses he rode. It was hard labor and often dangerous. While Vaquero’s preferred the reata and Americans preferred a gun, the American West Cowboy used both. The American West Cowboy’s language and music was identified with a time when Alpine yodeling met the African banjo, the Spanish guitar, and the byproduct of the Italian violin, the fiddle.

In the arid region of California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas, cattle grazing was sometimes the sole economic prospect until dams and irrigation techniques were developed. Emerson Hough’s 1918 article, Cowboys On The Frontier described the cattlemen’s professional ‘hay day’ as such:

“Large tracts of that domain where once the cowboy reigned supreme have been turned into farms by the irrigator’s ditch or by the dry-farmer’s plan. The farmer in overalls is in many instances his own stockman today. On the ranges of Arizona, Wyoming, and Texas and parts of Nevada we may find the cowboy...but he is no longer the Homeric figure that once dominated the plains...when wire was unknown, when the round-up still was necessary, and the cowboy’s life was indeed that of the open.”

What I discovered in all of my research was that the southwest remains the home to many a cowboy. This rough, tough, dedicated frontiersman lives on despite the generations. The Holiday Issue of Etched takes a picturesque look into the lives of these modern day frontiersmen and women who live and breathe the western heritage as it was. The images fill our pages and our hearts with gratitude for the cowboy’s relentless commitment to preserving their heritage.

Though I’ve dispelled my Hollywood version of the old west, it’s legends are alive in my soul. What I appreciate most about the “cowboy” is the ability to hold true to his origins; his profession, despite technology, remains similar to that of a century ago. There’s something very special about that...

“Out from the tiny settlement in the dusk of evening, always facing toward where the sun is sinking, might be seen riding, not so long ago, a figure we should know...He would ride as lightly and as easily as ever, sitting erect and jaunty in the saddle, his reins held high and loose in the hand whose fingers turn up gracefully, his whole body free yet firm in the saddle with the seat of the perfect horseman. At the boom of the cannon, when the flag dropped fluttering down to sleep, he would rise in his stirrups and wave his hat to the flag. Then, toward the edge, out into the evening, he would ride on. The dust of his riding would mingle with the dusk of night. We could not see which was the one or the other. We could only hear the hoof beats passing, boldly and steadily still, but growing fainter, fainter, and more faint...” - Emerson Hough

May you and yours be surrounded by the legends of gratitude in your life.

Darci - Editor in Chief


The Fall Issue 2015

The Storytellers of the Southwest
Etched Fall Issue 2015

darciarrowWhen my husband, Steve, and I moved our four children and two dogs to southern Utah more than two decades ago, we never looked back. ‘The city’ would always be an attractive location to visit, but the stagnant air of metropolitan life was not the place this rural girl envisioned raising her family. Steve gave up his thriving business to bring me back to the quiescent desert and begin life anew.

Starting over with little in our pockets but a lot of love and an extraordinary work ethic, we literally dug into the harsh red dirt of ‘God’s Country’. Side by side, we labored to plant new roots. Come the weekends, we’d load the kids and the dogs into the car along with an ice chest filled with enough supplies to last us through whatever adventure was waiting. We didn’t know which direction we were heading. Our drive was always determined by wherever the road led.

With seven different maps in hand we roamed desolate dirt roads and climbed to the top of tree-lined mountains, never ceasing to be amazed at the splendor surrounding us. Each location had a story. Sometimes the story was a road sign or historic plaque. Other times, the tale began with one of the kids finding a trinket on the ground. Rusty nails, tree carvings, abandoned homesteads and corrals, all had a story to tell.

Endless hours in the car gave us quality time together. The kids would ask us to tell them stories—some were true, and some we made up. The laughter was infectious. The memories are priceless.

Our children, now adults themselves, are telling their own stories. They can appreciate the sacrifice Steve and I made to begin our narrative in southern Utah. They each know that chapter of our lives well and value their own role in it.  

The Fall Issue of Etched Magazine shares the real life tales of those who reside in the great southwest. From notable times and historical places, to people who are changing the landscape, and those who are preserving it. You will meet Teresa Jordan, a captivating woman whose diverse background, talents, and passions inspire new conversations. Journey to the Escalante River, whose preservation is dependent upon community collaboration. Explore a multitude of cultural arts, and experience the desert’s night sky like you’ve never seen it. Such substance and beauty can all be found in this issue.

Everyone has a story. And there are great storytellers amongst us who speak from a space of wisdom and experience. Perhaps they will suggest a new road to explore. Try them all. The page count of your story is endless. 

Editor in Chief


A Peace of Summer

A Peace of Summer - Etched Summer Issue 2015

IMG 3986In a land of vast open fields, soaring canyons, and colorful deserts, the southwest is illuminated by the sun’s desire to linger a little longer in the summer. That’s a poetic way of saying, “It’s hot here!” Let’s face it, there are about 60 days of extremely warm temperatures in the region, that give way to ten months of “simply fabulous.” But, I for one, can’t imagine being cooped up in air-conditioning all day long during the time when the desert is showcasing its most distinctive characteristics.

Life goes on as usual for us desert dwellers during the summer while tourism reaches its peak. An early morning hike along the red cliffs or paddleboarding into the sunset on one of the local lakes is just part of the lifestyle. Yet, there is still that thing called “work” that happens to the best of us. I often sidetrack business meetings to a nearby trail finding greater clarity and creative energy in the fresh air. Then there are those other meetings that require my presence to belly-up to a conference table. Those meetings are a little harder for me to sit through.

A while back I was asked to attend a “Round Table” meeting with regional professionals to review economic and environmental impacts. This meeting I looked forward to. My commitment to sustainable growth and environmental preservation has deep roots. Having done my research, I arrived to the conference prepared to engage in the discussion. I gazed around the table and was reminded of the professional setting I had left behind long ago. It wasn’t the people – they were charming, intelligent, and passionate leaders. But it was the monochromatic dress code that caught my eye. My brightly flowing maxi skirt and flip flops made me stand out like a bowl of vanilla yogurt with a single strawberry on top. And then I remembered the saying my dear friend, Carmen, instilled in me years ago. “It’s better to be looked over than overlooked.”

I was reminded in that conference room of how grateful I am to be a part of the small, independent business community. More importantly, I counted my blessings that I had finally outgrown the need to fit into the mold – my own expectations are enough. I am at peace. And my presentation that day was executed with perfection (and I’m sure my flowing skirt was dazzling).

Southern Utah’s own Krissa Beatty was recently crowned 2015 Miss Utah. I caught a clip of an interview she did following the pageant. When asked about her crowning moment and whether she was surprised, she replied, “I have focused and prepared for this moment for years. When it came down to the end, I knew it was my time.” She owned it – her truth, her success, her hard work, and dedication. She did it her way.

The Summer issue of Etched Magazine is filled with the people and places that stand out amongst the landscape of the southwest. The believers, the dreamers, the visionaries…the people who skipped the norm and forged their own history. The pages of Etched are a celebration of regional festivals and events that rock their own creative uniqueness. And then there’s adventure – a signature of the southwest lifestyle.

There are many flowing skirts hanging in my closest these days. Each with a matching pair of flip flops. Sometimes I wear my Jimmy Hendrix shirt with them. Wherever your journey leads, keep it real. And don’t forget to take a peace of summer with you.

Darci Hansen - Editor in Chief


Quenching the Wanderlust

Quenching the Wanderlust


As one might imagine, an editor spends an enormous amount of time behind a computer. Add to the mix my Virgo’s drive for excellence, and the result is, there’s always more work to do. It was not by chance that my husband and I landed in Southern Utah. I desired a place where we both could escape the desk and see the hand of Mother Nature for miles. I longed to quench my restless soul just by stepping out of my front door. I dreamt of a ‘wanderland’ of sorts, filled with beauty, solitude, history, adventure, serenity, and a spiritual sense present each time the wind blew that door open.

To acquire a case of wanderlust is to have a deep desire to walk or travel about. The interpretation of that definition can be left to the wildest or mildest of imaginations. There are the soul-searchers who unexpectedly gather a mere change of clothes, slinging their backpack over their shoulder, and walk out of the door. My scenario of wanderlust is less complex. But make no mistake about it, when I long to wander about, I go. And I always come home.

“All that is gold does not glitter;
Not all those who wander are lost.”
- J.R.R. Tolkien

Back to my desk.

After hours of working, I instinctively find myself aching to wander. Often, I can just gaze out of my office window and see Zion in the distance.
For a moment I am lost in the memory of a prior hike or experience there...Delicious.

Or, maybe I will take a break and meander around a website like, Pinterest. There I can create “pin boards” of places I long to visit, or look back on the adventures I’ve already taken...Gratifying.

When the gravitational pull is more than I can resist, I am out the door. I head to my ‘remote office’ and conduct meetings along one of my favorite trails. With mobile internet access, I utilize my laptop to write the grandest of stories along a river, atop a mountain, or from a charming cafe in the heart of a national park. I can ride my bike downtown and sit on the cool grass under a shade tree and hear the birds sing...I don’t have to wander far to be lost.

Quenching the Wanderlust does not have to be about leaving the old, but rather embracing what’s new to you. The Travel Issue of Etched completely opens the door to destinations throughout the southwest. From historic inns to ancient old civilizations, you don’t need to travel for days on end to soothe the desire to experience something different. The Travel Issue of Etched delivers clean water in full color to quench the thirsty soul.

“I love going out of my way, beyond what I know, and finding my way back a few extra miles, by another trail, with a compass that argues with the map...nights alone in motels in remote western towns where I know no one and no one I know knows where I am, nights with strange paintings and floral spreads and cable television that furnish a reprieve from my own biography, when in Benjamin’s terms, I have lost myself though I know where I am.” - Rebecca Solnit, “A Field Guide to Getting Lost”
There is so much to experience in what the rest of the world sees as the arid southwest desert. When the door opens, step out. Fill your mind with vibrant dreams. Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to wander, walk, explore, and discover. Rejuvenate the soul. Quench your thirst. 

Darci, editor in chief