You would assume that Lord Shiva (et al.) would flock to Washington or Colorado for his summer vacation in the U.S. But that is where his daily duties would call (tax exempt on all recreational herbs, because inventor benefits). It would rather be Arizona; or at least that’s the kind of feeling we harbored this Labor Day weekend while road tripping in the Grand Canyon State. Having glanced at Mt. Kailash a few times, albeit in pictures, Arizona stood out as the desertified rendition of his abode.
It is unfortunate that Arizona, that is so much more than dry desert heat, gets associated with unpleasantly hot weather most of the time, for the misconstrued etymology it holds of an “arid zone”. In fact, I got plenty of eyebrows raised initially at the idea of spending the long weekend there in early September; I was told that the heat index still lingered around 100s on cooler days. But when the airfare to California refused to climb down after weeks of waiting, a family outing in AZ proved more plausible than any other picturesque state for the time frame. And they weren’t wrong – the naysayers: when we landed in Phoenix close to midnight, it felt like entering a preheated oven and bathing in a 104 degrees heat wave. Yet, even the extreme heat coupled with an hour long wait at the airport car rental did little to deter my plans of enjoying the short vacation for the next four days. There was no time to lament. And as the trip unfolded, it turned out that the “preheated oven” analogy did not befit all of Arizona.
My idea of vacation rarely means chilling in a pool or beachside tanning. Living in a Minnesotan suburb and driving nearly everywhere, be it grocery store or work, I’ve developed a reverence for hiking, soaking the nature and realizing this planet’s grandeur. Rather than spending my precious holiday as a mediocre margarita-and-movie weekend, AZ turned out to be the perfect getaway: a road trip among roadside cacti, green valleys, red rocks, Grand Canyon, cool caverns, craters and perhaps America’s own Mt. Kailash that may have even housed Lord Shiva’s summer cabin.
(click on images to enlarge)
Etymology: Arizona – alĭ ṣonak, meaning “small spring,” origin: Spanish (source: Wikipedia)