USA Travel Diary by Tegan Butler September 07 2015
Tegan is an Australian transplant working in the music industry in Los Angeles, CA. On weekends, she likes nothing more than escaping the grit and grime of the city and exploring the natural beauty all around. Here are some of her favourite...
WALLOON LAKE, Northern Michigan
I was first taken to Northern Michigan by my love and number one partner in crime, Andy. He is a small town boy from the Midwest, and spent his childhood in one of the most northern parts of the state in an area called Petoskey. There, candlelit lamps light the streets and flower boxes exploding with seasonal blooms line the windows of every store and cafe. We travelled in the middle of the night to Walloon Lake and in the shadow of the tallest pine trees we went to bed, awaking in awe. A freshwater lake (one of the many in the state of Michigan, known as home to the ‘Great Lakes’), Walloon is aquamarine and turquoise in color, depending on the depth. Life on the lake is simple - swimming would act like our daily bath, where we would wash our hair and bodies and be left with perfectly messy tresses and silky skin. But one of the most magical parts about Northern Michigan is the lush, leafy woodlands full of wildflowers of every color. The sun streams through the trees like a kaleidoscope of gold as you hike into the balmy summer evenings.
The Yuba River is approximately 6 hours north of Los Angeles, and about 1 hour from California’s capital of Sacramento. It’s one of my favorite bodies of water in the whole world, let alone the US. With crystal clear, glacial waters that run down from the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges; giant, marble like boulders cradle the river from every angle, creating a perfect stream of natural waterfalls, whirlpools and untouched rock pools. A short hike from the main river mouth, and you can easily find a quiet nook to lay a blanket, bring a picnic and nestle down for the day, where you’re able to strip free from swimwear amongst peaceful surroundings and not see another human for hours. Millions of years of water rushing through have made the rocks smooth and slate like, and trapping in the sun’s heat until after dusk you can lie and absorb their warmth as the chill of the evening sets in.
There are few moments in life where reality in actuality, surpasses the idea of something. Expectations are too often a curse, as fantasy and imagination take hold. As one of the natural wonders of the world, The Grand Canyon could easily fall quarry to the curse. However, as I laid eyes on the endless valley of rocky canyon from the vista point of the South Rim, my eyes welled up with tears - it was breathtaking. Early morning fog slowly rose from the bottom of the cliffs to creep over and above the rim, looking ghostly and magnificent. The layered colors of burnt orange, pink and even blue of the rocks burst out from our photos. We hiked down the South Kalibob trailhead, the red dirt of the path making our jeans a canvas of color, and not one rail or fence separated us from easily falling to our demise. It felt like a force to be reckoned with – it was us, versus this enormous natural powerhouse. After making it to Skeleton Point and back, our knees were weak from the intense hike. One day we will return and hike 8 hours to the canyon’s floor, where waterfalls of the brightest aqua await.
Words and Photos by Tegan Butler
Tegan's SUKU pick, Flamingo Quilt Cover