how to not see the wave at coyote buttes

Okay, so this was supposed to be the super awesome post with incredible pictures of The Wave. I was supposed to be posting pictures such as this:

Photo Credit:

no i did not take this picture *tear*sniffle*sniffle*

I was supposed to expose all of this top secret information as to how to venture out into the desert to find it. But, alas! The Wave gods did not reign down their glory upon us and we lost the lottery two days in a row. It is an experience worth sharing though as it is quite hysterical how you get to witness human passive aggressiveness at its finest.

The reason for all the drama is that only 20 people are allowed to visit The Wave per day. They give away 10 permits online in an online lottery that sell out months in advance and then they give away the other 10 in a lottery at some random visitor center. First off, they don’t make it entirely obvious where the visitor center is. It actually happens to be in a completely different state than The Wave itself. I am going with the underlying assumption that it is one of the many hurdles you are made to clownishly jump through just to get to The Wave all for the pleasure of those in power. It really is a wretch to try to include it in your agenda–mostly because you can become addicted to this lottery business and screw all your other wonderful plans that you had for your vacation to simply participate in this ridiculous endeavor.  Let me clarify that this lottery is much like dangling a blo0d-dripping zebra meat in front of a pack of emaciated hyenas. If you have ever seen the movie Jingle All the Way, you kind of feel like Sinbad for the time being.

The alleged reason for doing this 20-people-a-day thing is that US Bureau of Land Management has designated the area in which the land is found as a “Wilderness Area”. This lovely terminology was defined in the Wilderness Act of 1964 that was designed to set aside land that would literally, I quote the lady, “give people the feeling like they are in the middle of nowhere”. Okay, that’s cute. If we want to get all emo and be as dramatic as the actual wording in the Act: “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain…” LOL. However, as hard as it is to try to refrain from bursting out laughing, I do somewhat appreciate the actual preservation of the place. I mean, after hiking the Narrows at Zion National Park or visiting the South Rim at the Grand Canyon, it is nice to visit a place that isn’t a circus.

get out of my picture

get out of my picture

Okay, back to the lottery: It all seems like a jovial atmosphere upon entrance of the visitor’s center, fake smiling upon all those in the room. But deep down, everyone is cautiously scanning each group of people. Counting. And recounting. And glaring. Common thoughts unleashed in one’s subconscious:  “Uggh, they were here yesterday, haven’t they moved on yet?”;“Whew, I think that guy is by himself.”; “Do they really have six people in their group? That is so inconsiderate.”; “Okay they come all the way from Tokyo, I guess I won’t feel that upset if they win.”; “OMG, that lady just said she has been to The Wave before. That is so unfair if she wins.” [among other varying immature subconscious whines]. 

The actual lottery starts around 8:30AM. There is no point in getting there early because it is of no advantage and they don’t even start picking the numbers until 9AM. Therefore, you can show up at the lottery at 8:59AM [as one obnoxious hipster couple did] and cause everyone to lose their minds, dispensing long, heaving sighs and a susurration of disapproving grumbles.

Anyways, they open up the “lottery room” at 8:30AM, but before they herd you in like a pack of mules, they give you this “ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO GO OUT INTO THE DESERT AND PROBABLY DIE” speech to try to scare everyone away. Of course, no one runs away and everyone barrels over each other to get into the lottery room. On both days that we tried our luck, there were over 60 people. However, apparently it frequently is over 100. Rumor has it the record for trying 11 days in a row.

You fill out your lottery entry (which takes about 37 seconds) and then you must sit in a room with all of your arch-nemeses for the next 29 minutes and 23 seconds. One appropriate way to pass the time is to do a “wave dance” (one such as this would probably do) the The Wave gods; however, we must have been a little out-of-tune because this critical step in the process didn’t really seem to work for us. If you are lucky and have the nice lady park ranger, she will tell you a bunch of interesting facts about The Wave like badass album covers that have been photographed there and what not. [Making a friendly suggestion to Alt-J ∆ to shoot here if you are going to keep up with the whole An Awesome Wave theme].

from wikipedia

Scale the Summit-Carving Desert Canyons

Pink Floyd @ the Wave.

i need this hanging in my room

Then, after what seems like decades, they announce which number you are going to be and throw all the balls with little numbers on them in this little spinny-thing. As each moment of glory is unveiled, two of the following scenarios unfold before you: [1]screams and yelps of joy and gladness from the group chosen usually followed by a makeout session if it is a young traveling couple [2] huffs, puffs, and looks of utter disdain cast towards the group chosen followed by everyone secretly devising a plan to slash the tires of the group chosen. You are pretty much totally screwed if the group called is of six people because that already uses up 6/10 permits. If it is a group of 2, you don’t feel too hateful at first because all is not really lost until 2 or 3 more rounds. On one of the days, the first three chosen were groups of 2, leaving 4 remaining permits. The last number drawn was a group of 6 and the group is supposedly supposed to banish 2 members of their group. You didn’t hear this from me, but I’m pretty sure it goes without saying it would be easy to sneak 2 people in your group into the desert.

Welp, there ya have it. In a flash, all the hype is over and you feel totally feel cheated and feel that the entire universe is against you. You briefly gossip about all of “the chosen ones” and then pick yourself up and try to think of something to do for the day if you are planning to show up again the next morning. I tried to take is as a sign that The Wave gods thought the timing isn’t right and I am supposed to come back another day.

Probably when it is not 118 degrees.

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