Here's what we've been up to
We have been counting down to this trip all year. A week in Utah's national parks, then meeting up with some of our Boise Buds. What more could you ask for? Impatient to begin our adventure, Caleb picked me up in the morning from work after a night shift and we drove straight there. I "slept" for about 20 mins then was wide awake with anticipation. We rolled into Moab around 3pm on a Thursday thinking we wouldn't have a problem finding one of the many first-come-first-served BLM campsites. Yeah, ok. We drove around for two hours before we came to the realization that we would not be setting up camp that night. Sleep deprived and frustrated, we drove an hour outside of Moab and crashed at a cheap motel for the night. We woke bright and early and full of optimism. Surly plenty of people would be checking out that morning and we could fill their sites. It didn't take us long to discover that competition was still fierce at 6am. After stalking a few leaving campers to no avail, an adorable couple from Washington ran over and told us they were leaving. SUCCESS! We "dibsed" the site with our coolers and ran across the campground to fill out our slip. Even then, three other groups attempted to grab our spot- but our PNW buds held the site. We really lucked out. The forecast was 90 degrees and sunny- everyday- and our site was one of the few that had shade for most of the day. Right next to the river, and with a view of that infamous Utah red rock-- we set up camp, and exhaled.... let the fun begin.
^^View from Camp
Here's the thing about Arches-- most of the people just want to drive to the parking lots and see the arches from there. If it requires a hike, they probably won't go. That's fine with us!! Long hikes left us alone with massive arches and sweeping views. And as you know, we don't like to share our views! :)
Delicate arch at sunset was spectacular. You can't look away when you are in the presence of this guy. As the sun set, the redness became deeper. It was so beautiful we put up with all the crazy tourists...
A little sunburned, a little sweaty, but so much happy happened this day.
After putting in the miles on Devil's Garden, and boulder jumping until looking down made us queasy-- we took a recover day to stroll through Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse State Park. This time we were the parking lot tourists. Although we didn't work for the views-- they were still kinda fantastic.
The next day we drove 5 hours south to Snow Canyon State Park to meet up with our Boise Buds. Although we had never been there, it felt like coming home seeing these people. The days that followed were full of cold growlers, gourmet camp cooking, and a feeling of total contentment.
Zion. Aptly named. This place quickly jumped to the top of my list. As we took the shuttle deep into the canyon, we looked up at the red/white rocks with bright green plants poking out. I could help but hum the Jurassic Park Theme song. (Go ahead and hum it to yourself now as you look at these pictures...).
The "classic" hike in Zion is Angel's Landing. But we opted for the lesser traveled, more difficult, higher elevation trail of Observation Point. 2,500' of elevation gain in 8 miles straight up hill. I lost count after the 200th switch-back. (Not really, but it felt like that many). The best part of hiking with friends are the frequent breaks that offer much needed laughter to distract us from the crazy trail choice we made. But as we sucked wind, and climbed high about Angel's Landing- we knew it would be worth it.
We worked for this view. So much validation. I love hiking. I love the dread of looking up the switch-backs when you first start and I love the feeling at the top. I love looking down at the river-now a squiggly line- where we started 5 hours ago. But most of all I love the bonds you form with the crew you hike with. You put in the miles together- share every step and every cramp. And you share the satisfaction at the bottom. Then you share some beer. Cheers.