I read about a monthly vegan potluck in the area and decide to go. In the morning we hit the farmer’s market where I buy a load of local collard greens and onions. I take those home and prep them. We’d like to sneak a hike in before the event, so we find the well-disguised trailhead for Hellhole Canyon. It’s in a nice neighborhood now, which supplies a gutter to park in and a new name: Kayenta Canyon.
It’s soon clear we won’t get as far as we hoped. The going is wiggly, sandy, and rocky stumbling up a wash toward the canyon. We still make it to some amazing big red walls. It’s hot enough that when I suggest that Ann does her headstand in some shallow water, she goes for it.
We’re ready for some vegan food when we return. Upon arriving at the park we’re greeted quietly by Jeanette, who was selling homemade sun hats at the market this morning. I need to sautÃ© my collards still, which separates me from the group. Once the food is ready we’re all a little awkward and the conversation sputters, but there is a genuine kinship to be felt in the diet alone. This is not vegan territory, and these folks find the fortitude necessary to survive here in their own ways, some with righteousness, some in quiet solitude, and others uncertain how long they can keep it up.