June 9, 2015


For a long time I thought I would grow up to be a writer. Since I can remember I was an avid reader and spent most of my hours constructing fantastical worlds; filling them with characters, ridiculous plots, romances and histories. (I hadn’t seen much of the world then, and my imagination seemed much better than any kind of mapped reality.) In those days I thought that writers were born, not made; that the best novels I read came into existence all at once — springing fully formed from the author’s heads. I wanted for epiphany to strike, and doodled and read in the meantime.

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I’m not sure when, but at some point I just stopped writing. Or thinking that one day I would be a writer. Many years later this blog began because eventually I realized that nothing well done comes without practice; nothing springs into being fully formed. Hands on experiences are everything; practice makes better — and better — but probably never perfect; art is made, not born. What does this have to do with the Grand Canyon — or the fact that I haven’t published a blog post in 4 weeks? May was the month of two destination weddings, one out of town birthday, a large number of social engagements, and a very long road trip. Foolishly, I thought I’d be blogging all along the way. I forgot that when you’re traveling you’re (hopefully) not online, wifi (and/or reception) is scarce, and at the end of the day you’re completely exhausted. Even so I regret falling out of practice — it’s made it that much harder to get my head back to the space where it was — where I craft these little stories about San Francisco and life and the world and send them out there with my love to the known and unknown friend, as much for your pleasure as our connection as my own practice.

IMG_1488But after a full month of non-stop doing things and photographing most of it, I have some stories to share with you. Since we’re here — let’s start with the grandest canyon of them all.

IMG_1443I’ve actually visited the canyon many times but have never tried to camp there until now. Word to the wise — the few campgrounds inside the park itself fill up about one year in advance. I had amazing luck and found a cancellation two days prior, but you shouldn’t risk it if you can help it — because physically camping inside the park is amazing. The campsites are spacious (including a picnic table, fire-pit and parking spot), beautiful; the bathrooms are clean, and you’re a few minutes walk from a nearby grocery store, restaurants, hiking trails, and of course the rim itself. Immediately after pitching our tent a gigantic deer — even taller then M — leisurely strolled by and gave us a nod. It was just our fourth day on the road, and we were full of energy from snagging this spot and from visiting the canyon itself; as the sun set we cooked bacon over an open fire and in the dark I made BLTs while we passed the one flashlight back and forth. At dawn I walked to the rim and sat for a long time — thinking about water and the passing of years.


Find & book your campsite on the South Rim here

There’s no bad ways to explore, but be sure to check out the Desert View Watchtower

In the park you can find cheap wifi at the Maskwik & Yavapai Lodges


Moccasin: Minnetonka/ Skirt: UO (similar here) / Sweater & Blouse: Vintage

I feel so out of touch — what have you all been doing this summer so far? And what’s been happening in SF while I’ve been physically and mentally gone? If you have the time to leave a comment, I love reading them and connecting with new friends and old. If you aren’t yet, keep up with me on bloglovin to hear about the latest posts, and follow me on instagram for the daily grind.

Until next time!

  1. I am breathless with the beauty of the canyon just from the photos. What an awesome, truly, an awe-inspiring group of photos. And Jess, your joy is shining out of your smile. I can’t wait to return to the canyon some day.

    • jm

      Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. Seriously. Thank you. Your words give me so much encouragement and *joy* to keep going with this silly project, in the beautiful moments and not so beautiful.

  2. I’ve been waiting for this post… gah!! words can not express how deeply moving these photographs are. Good thing you found a campground!

    As for being a writer, aren’t we all hopeless wannabes? I sometimes think the occupation is a complete illusion. But perhaps that’s only because my words have yet to make a buck. Sad, isn’t it? That said, I do plan to blog intermittently during our time in Japan (we leave Saturday!). Maybe I should just unplug… we’ll see.

    Also, I sent you an email about this, but you should join our travel blogging Pinterest group board! A post like this would be a perfect addition. Let me know if you need more info… I think it’s all in the email. xoxo

    • jm

      Oh my gosh — JAPAN! That dream really needs to become a reality for me. For some reason it has always languished in that ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful but it’s never gunna happen’ category and it’s time to erase that negativity. I don’t know what the problem is — maybe the price, the alienness of it — but I am dying to go some day and I cannot WAIT to hear and see all about your travels. May finally give me that motivational kick in the pants I need =)

  3. Thank you for this beautiful post. I love the orange motif, and the lovely words, as always. Your years of dreaming and writing have paid off–your prose is something special.

    • jm

      Definite! And next time I’m down south we’ve really gotta make this hook up happen!!!! This time plans changed and the timeline was out of control, but I feel like I barely scratched the surface of the SouthWest. I’ll be back ;)

  4. “your joy is shining out of your smile” oh, mama linda, you got that so right! between the IN.SANE. photos and the rusty (HAHAH) writing that leaves the reader longing for more and the reactions that people have to it all….you’re just a wonder of the world, JM.

    • jm

      It’s all you Annie!!!!! Thank YOU so so much! This blog is basically my ode to Montgomery Fest ^_^


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