I’d seen pictures of the rainbow mountains of China and the strata of Iceland’s Landmannalaugar range, but nothing prepared me to step inside a rainbow on the border of Arizona and Utah. In fact, I didn’t know this landscape existed until I saw it for myself.
In May, I booked a hike to White Pocket, Arizona. After an awe-inspiring day hiking through Dr. Seuss-like rock formations, I was tired. However, the tour wasn’t over. Our guide had saved the best for last.
We pulled off the dirt road two hours outside White Pocket, and started walking. The dirt path became narrower as got nearer. The muddy wash gave no indication of what we’d see when we emerged from the dirt trail.
There it was — a theatre of rainbow-striped hills
Our guide instructed us to watch our steps to avoid damaging the pristine landscape. This painted desert looked virtually untouched and there was no one around for miles. Known as the Vermilion Cliffs, the name literally means a brilliant red or scarlet pigment originally made from the powdered mineral cinnabar.
The colors became even more brilliant as the sun revealed itself. I was serenely happy in that moment.