The momentum of my trip picked up quickly and I have been on the go since my last post. The computer became less of a priority while we explored the parks, forests, and coasts. Stunning beauty has surrounded me for the last few weeks. The earth is quite an artist! These images make me want to study geology.
From Arches Craig and I headed to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. It was too snowy to visit Canyonlands, so we departed for an 8,000 foot canyon west of Moab. Sounds silly, I know, but we thought we’d drive through the storm to the other side. With good tires on my car, I was very confident. So, we rolled up to the Best Western of Bryce Canyon just before the sun set in a blizzard. After a dip in the heated pool and a soak in the hot tub, we hardly cared that there was two feet of snow accumulating outside.
A herd of desert big horn sheep (no, not goats) greeted us as we arrived in Zion National Park. Dropping 4,000 feet into the valley, we were glad to leave the snow behind.
I love tunnels. I love driving through tunnels, blasting my music, pretending I’m in a sleek car commercial. Zion has a mile and a half long tunnel, so I had about three minutes to fully enjoy the tunnel through the mountain. I may have driven through it more than once.
Ah yes, driving on paved roads through America’s National Parks…that is another topic I’ll save to discuss next time. It’s an important one that I’ve thought about a lot. Our country is too accessible via automobile. One scary abbreviation: RV.
When I used to hear the word Nevada, all I thought of were casinos and Lake Tahoe. Now, I think of Valley of Fire State Park (you have to go if you’re out there!), the Hoover Dam (traffic jams), and Las Vegas (not the place I thought I’d spend my birthday). The only funny part of our time in Vegas was the fact that we stayed at Circus Circus Hotel and we got lost trying to find our room on the 8th floor every time we entered the building. The fountain show was impressive, but lacked bright color. Everything else I will try to forget.
Let’s end on a more positive note. The rest of my birthday I celebrated at Death Valley National Park. Birth, death… kind of ironic? How strange that such a desolate desert could inspire so much life into my soul after a deadening day in Vegas.
After setting up camp, I walked through the washes toward one of the many mountain ranges surrounding us. This is where life began long ago in what used to be an ocean. The stark contrasts in just a few hours boggles my mind. I went from flashing lights, loud music, and gambling to a calm grey sky, silence, and meditation. To calm my mind, I thought of some of the ways the world has benefited from having me in it. I was grateful to be alive and sitting on a boulder in the middle of sharp gravel and ragged brush.
Death Valley , the largest National Park in the U.S., is full of many diverse landscapes from sand dunes, salt basins, castles, pastel-colored mountainsides, sharp volcanic rocks, and sandstone canyons. To see it all, we drove 250 miles, just within the park.
I dare say, I am a little tired of driving. This country is enormous, and I didn’t travel in one straight line. I’ve driven over 10,000 miles in the last 5 weeks. Can’t say I’ll do it again, so it has been a special trip. And it’s not over yet!