Western Recreation Photos: Week 01 – Yonder Journal

Western Recreation Photos – Week 01: Words and photos by Yonder Journal

THIS IS A SURVEY OF RECREATION IN THE AMERICAN WEST. The primary purpose of this project is to explore, document, and publish a permanent, voluminous, wide-sweeping, and studied record of the State of Recreation in the summer of 2014.

For The Record, Recreation is essentially everything and anything that isn’t work, it’s the opposite of work, it’s leisure. It’s the what, the where, the how, and the who of what we do with our discretionary time, money, energy, etc. It’s also a biological and psychological imperative. We need to do it. Everybody does it.

While Recreation is an exceptionally ubiquitous and universal form of human expression, it’s not homogenous. In fact, there exist myriad forms, expressions, styles, modes, manifestations, permutations, etc. Because this is a survey, and because this project was initially conceived and further designed to explore and document the seemingly infinite varieties of recreation, we aim to catalog as many examples possible—if it’s Recreation and it’s happening in a public or nearly public space then it is within the purview of this project.

To that end Yonder Journal will spend the entire month of July deep inside America’s vast network of roads, campgrounds, State & National Parks, coastline, beaches, rivers, mountains, lakes, forests, deserts, valleys, small towns, fairgrounds, trail systems, gas stations, parking lots and similar, visiting as many different Recreational Activities in as many different Recreational Areas as possible in our effort to witness and subsequently memorialize leisure, however elusive or obvious.


1: N/A
2: Atwater Village, 7:30 PM: Buried Geopackage #11 near the Los Angeles River, several permanent or semi-permanent encampments on the islands in the middle of the river, old men fishing under Fletcher Street Bridge. The Los Angeles River was recently opened to recreation, i.e. kayaking. From the bottom of the viaduct wall we hear and glimpse several people swimming on the far side of an island.
3: Osborne Overlook, State Route 78/Ben Hulse Highway, NE of the Imperial Sand Dunes Cahuilla Ranger Station,4:45 PM: Dunes, bona fide.
4: Imperial Sand Dunes, 4:51 PM: The dunes are completely empty, there is absolutely nobody present recreating or otherwise. It’s too hot? We begin to suspect the dunes are a winter activity.
5: Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea, 7:59 PM: “I’m out here photographing but there are no birds because it’s too hot.”—Birdwatcher. It’s 105 degrees, 176,000% humidity, and it smells like dead fish and man’s hubris.
6: N/A
7: State Route 179, AZ 6:45 PM: A Tibetan-looking monk in brown nearly camouflage robes, sitting on the ground at the base of Bell Rock a few hundred yards up from a Scenic Overlook parking lot, eyes closed and arms at his side, stands suddenly to take a phone call.
8: N/A
9: Salt River, AZ 1:49 PM: Rafting, Chicken Fighting, Drinking, Floating, Swimming, Barbecuing, Ray-Banging.
10: Woods Canyon Lake, AZ 5:06 PM: Family Fishing (Redear Sunfish), Kayaking, Camping, Hiking.
11: Northern Arizona, All Day: Yonder Journal spent the day with KC Badger, Ex-Professional BMX Rider and Professional Fly Fisher (pictured), Shawn Gregoire, Professional Amateur Skateboarder, and Chad Osburn, Professional BMX Rider.
12: Lone Rock Campground, Lake Powell, UT 2:30 AM: We are parked—”With the Poler LeTent™, parking is camping.”—next to the lake, near the end of a nearly a mile-long row of RV’s and Brraaaap-related equipment like 4-wheelers, jet skis, dirt bikes, etc. We pulled in late. The massive camping/parking/launch area is dark and quiet. It’s windy and raining sometimes. We build the tent and climb into it.

An hour later a dude in a black Poler Napsack and Chacos walks over to our vehicle and, standing at the very bottom of our ladder, whispers up to us: “Hey, hey, buddy you got a lighter?” I’m reading, he sees my headlamp and assumes I’m open for solicitations. He’s nice but wobbling drunk. I tell him that I don’t have a lighter and so, somewhat reluctantly, he leaves.

Thirty minutes he comes back. Everyone in his camp is a asleep, but since I’m awake he’s curious if I wanted to help him with his boat. Apparently earlier in the day he drove it (the boat) onto a sandbar or some such shit, at any point there is sand in the engine, or something. And he wanted to know if I was in a mood to help. I explain to him that I was, until he started talking to me again, sleeping. You see, I tell him, I fell asleep with my headlamp on.
13: N/A
14: Angel’s Landing, Zion NP, UT 2:15 PM: Don’t wear a Manual For SPEED SPEED SPEED shirt when hiking the up to Angels Landing.
15: Virgin River, Zion NP, UT 3:51 PM: Swimming.
16: Grafton Ghost Town, UT 5:31 PM: We buried YJ Geopackage #10 in hardpacked sand at end of some single track on a low ridge next to a bush just above a dirt dead-end roundabout outside the ghost town Grafton.


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