Those of you who live in the Phoenix area can catch Annette McGivney talk about her new book, Pure Land, 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 10 at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe.
Years ago, I was having my morning coffee, perched in an alcove tucked above a trail in Glen Canyon. Annette had recently released Resurrection and had invited me up north to have a look at some side canyons. Elias Butler was there to shoot some photos.
Out of nowhere a couple of backpackers came walking by, one of them fascinated with the echoes that rippled as his voice carried in the canyon. He started yelling, confident he was the only person for miles around: Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!
I forget exactly how Elias put it, but he later said something about look on my face as he walked by me. Like I was being beaten and just wanted it to stop.
He walked out to where the hikers could see him and they quieted down.
On the way out, we took a wrong turn somewhere, so we just started walking toward some cliffs on the horizon. We knew that Hole in the Rock Road ran parallel to the cliffs; find the road and we could easily circle back to the truck. It worked. It was further proof that sometimes getting lost is a privilege. The trip was also a chance to see part of the recently reduced Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Pure Land is a story about Tomomi Hanamure, a Japanese citizen who was killed on May 8, 2006, her birthday. She was stabbed 29 times on a hike to Havasu Falls on the Havasupai Indian Reservation.
The last time I talked to Annette she was in the early stages of writing the book and expressed some frustration with the project. The struggle was just beginning.