Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

WORDS & PHOTOS: JOSH FRANER

I’m from the country of Texas, an illegal alien in LA going on ten years now. That makes me as city as anyone else, I guess. When I venture beyond the plain of twinkling lights I feel overdressed, my clothes too fine, my car too clean. It’s always the air, the impossibly fresh air, that I notice first.


With Neil Young singing about a lost America six hours from LA to Zion really wasn’t that bad of a drive. Most of the Mojave was at night, when you could imagine more interesting things than actually see. Breakfast at a roadside diner in Hurricane, Utah: eggs, bacon, potatoes, coffee, more coffee. I need coffee like David Lynch and his characters do. I dream Twin Peaks dreams of coffee these days.

From Zion I entered Bryce Canyon to electronic music, Mr. Young still on the road. The story is the natives never entered the canyon because they considered it a sacred and mystical place. Cars don’t think that way. White men don’t think that way.


The rocks played with your reality, oversaturated striations pinked and purpled out, or maybe that was just the polarized Garrett Leights I wore. Everywhere there were these massive chiseled lines going up the sides of the canyon, to be explained away by someone else. Trail paths cut horizontally across the vertical nature of the landscape like they were interrupting a thought process. The rock coloring looked like wet paint dripping off the side of the earth. Weeping water fell into weeping pools. It felt good to be small.


Bryce Canyon looks like a Dr. Seuss x Disney collaboration, if they met up, smoked out, and then drew up plans for a national park. Like Disneyland, there were foreign tourists everywhere. I barely knew this place existed. How did everyone else know?

Six hours got me to a real autumn; fog, cold, rain, all felt like it was the first time. At night, the scent of a roaring fireplace escaping out of the lodge and into the air. Of course I paired Bon Iver with it.


See more of Josh Franer's work on Insta