I say that because the small river that's cut this canyon flows through hundreds of acres of largely populated pasture land up Pine Valley mountain before it deposits all kinds of biology in her red basins. You really don't want to swim in it, though that's a secret we like to keep to ourselves.
Besides dinosaurs and natives, I have history here, too. It's a sacred place to me, thirty years of memories beginning as a college student, then as a father, now as a companion, and always as a photographer. Thirty years is enough time to watch a massive lightning-struck juniper turn into the elephant tree, to see the thumb of the Okay rock vanish leaving its dangling forefinger, and to witness the gradual defacing of what was once this area's best kept secret.
Most of my analog pic files are of this place, with some notable vacancies, 4x5 Plus-X and color reversal film that vanished after a move.
After a busy week of commencement and volunteering for the Ironman we took off for an overnighter, this being the first time in thirty years for me, and a first time for Mindy, to camp there.
A portable kiosk now guards the way, keeping control of vehicle traffic in the park. I'd argue that pedestrian traffic needs the same control; hundreds of visitors.
We were lucky to get a site and set up quickly to enjoy lunch and a walk up the canyon.