Since I’ve been home I have talked to a lot of people about my blog. The thing that continues to surprise me is whenever someone tells me that they enjoyed reading what I thought were predominantly semi-boring ramblings. Between the encouragement I have received, and the gooey joy writing brings me I have decided to continue to document my adventures, even when they aren’t quite as extravagant. So, it begins:
At the start of September, I got a call from my friend Bettina. She was in the middle of a solo road trip through the USA and wondering if I had any interest in exploring some of Utah with her. As a general rule of thumb, I never say no to adventure. Especially adventure that requires I go to REI and buy things suddenly deemed “essential”. Like a new backpack. Or a tent…
Equipped with my new tent, I found myself not only back on a plane setting off on another journey, but also in the company of my Swiss friend I had last seen in Africa. If anything, that tongue-twister alone is proof that having friends around the world comes in handy.
Our camping-road-trip kicked off where anyone might expect, at a Walmart in Las Vegas. It was here we began our never-ending battle with two tiny coolers, the joys of creative camp-stove cooking, and the reintroduction of flapping dishes** back into our lives.
From there, we set out for Lake Mead- home of the Hoover Dam. Apparently, early September is not the most popular time for people to venture out into the Nevada dessert. Being notably over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and still a balmy 80+ at night it is hard to imagine why. All the same, feats like the Hoover Dam are always worth marveling at and then slowly backing away from because being high up is scary.
Rising the next morning before the sun in an attempt not to fry like eggs in a skillet, from Lake Mead we set off for Zion National Park. Of all the National parks in the US I’ve been to, Zion seems to be the most “on trend”. In fact, the park even has a Disney like feel to it as you ride a narrated bus into the heart of the park. Which begs the question, should Disney parks be national monuments? Just sayin’. Think about it.
Zion has a few hot spots, one of which is the hike Angel’s Landing. Though as nature has a mind of its own when I was there mudslides had ripped the trail up and it was closed. So, Mom once again no I did not hike “the popular hike on Facebook” that your friend did. However, I did spend several hours walking up the Narrows to the realist of “Wall Street”’s, which was worth every rocky step.
From Zion, Bryce Canyon National Park is just a hop, skip, and an hour and a half drive away. This is where there are magical rock formations called “hoodoos”. While Zion was beautiful, something about how nonsensical all the hoodoos are definitely places Bryce above Zion on my ranking of things you can’t really compare but try to anyway. It is easy to imagine characters by Dr. Seuss thriving in Bryce Canyon which is a standard indication of how interesting a place it really is.
The next stop was state park Kodachrome Basin. Things that were amazing about this park: the drive, the rocks, the views, the campsite bathrooms!!! I kid you not, the campground showers were some of the nicest I’ve ever used. They were definitely nicer than my shower at home.
The final National park on this journey through Mormon country was Capitol Reef National Park. Of Utah’s five National parks I get the impression it is the least talked about. Though I struggle to understand why because the entire time I spent there was with my jaw on the floor. The rock formations are stunning and come from seemingly nowhere. One moment the land is flat and the next you are looking up at rock palaces and fortresses. Humbling when you realize just how tiny we humans really are.
When it came time for me to go home once again, I found that the lingering feeling of everything being “over” was gone. Coming home from six months of travel was a lot harder than I thought it would be, the idea that coming home was “the end” had been weighing me down. This trip was a huge reset for me, as it showed me that when one adventure comes to an end the next one can finally begin.
**for those of you who don’t know; “flapping dishes” is when you methodically wave your arms up and down while holding freshly washed dishes and silverware in desperate attempt to dry them without a towel. It is also an unconventional workout.