Sunday, April 27, 2014

Canyon Country Cruisin'

The Cuyama Badlands at Muhu Tasen, Quatl Canyon.

Here are some photos from a day spent bouncing up several different canyons while chasing wild geese. A day of research which didn't pan out, but revealed new mysteries to be solved. A day of crawling in holes, climbing up to caves, and scraping through narrow arroyos. Apache Canyon. Quatl Canyon. Santa Barbara Canyon. I explored the vacant flat where Muhu Tasen resides, a juniper studded aluvial plain hosting Native American sweat lodges, dance circles, and Buddhist meditation platforms set against a remarkable backdrop of striped and haunting badland cliffs. A place of incredibly stark beauty. I poked around the drainages creeping away from Santa Barbara Canyon and stopped for a 45 minute chat with Fred Reyes, the rancher whose family has owned Santa Barbara Canyon since 1944. We spoke of paying for feed, praying for rain, selling off the old stuff and the young stuff, keeping the yearlings and the fertile cows, the history of his ranch and of his family in Lockwood Valley. The man is 80 years old, smoked his last cardiac treadmill, and still throws 120lb hay bales around. The old breed. I drove up to Nettle Springs at the head of Apache Canyon, searching for a way to delve a little deeper into the bottom of the San Emigdio Mesa, problem solved but requiring of a return trip. It was a day of exploration, discovery, photography and off-road fun. I've got some good brain food for future follies. 

A desiccated grey fox, found in a cave near Santa Barbara Canyon.
A sweat lodge at Muhu Tasen.
Mortars and ceremonial seashells.
The lava rocks are heated and brought into the sweat lodge.


  1. Chasing Wild Geese Up Quatl Canyon? Wonder who sent you up that way??

    Nice country; liking those badland cliffs!