Well, here I am, back from my trip, and I am now a full-fledged, red-blooded, low-maintenance, rootin-tootin’ outdoors woman. Bring me a tent and I will pitch that bitch like there is no tomorrow.
No, seriously. Time me.
Ok, probably not.
But I loved my trip to the Wild Wild West! I always get a little nervous that places won’t live up to the hype or that I get so excited that things won’t meet my expectations . . . but they do! They always do!
They usually do.
I really can’t wait until I have the chance to go back. There is so much more to these parks than I got to explore, and while it was a great overview and introduction, I am dying to go back and focus on one park to really have a full experience. It sounds like most people do what we did and spend half a day to one day at each park, and that’s awesome, but if you’re serious about hiking or canyoneering or biking or rafting, you really need a couple of days at least to do the real trails, and I have now decided that I’m serious.
No, seriously. I told John that I want to move to California and be a two-armed Aron Ralston.
This is a trip that every American should do. It’s like nowhere else in the world, and I have to say, I did feel some pangs of patriotism . . . even though I had to constantly explain why people are so fat. And why there are so many fast food places. And why people are so poor and dirty. And listen to why everything is better elsewhere. There were times at which I felt like I understood the mindset of Sarah Palin. Mostly the gun part.
So anyways . . .
There is a lot that happened on this trip that I really, really, really want to write about because it would be so entertaining and hilarious and gossipy and fun, but it would come across as mean and when I was little and really into writing in a diary (because I loved Anne Frank and Jo March) my mom taught me not to put anything in writing that I wouldn’t want to have read. Which, hello, is the point of a diary for a young girl, but nevertheless it kinda stuck with me. But you guys . . . really. Some of this stuff is golden, cannot-make-this-scheiss-up stuff that I would LOVE to gab about, so let’s plan a dinner, you’re all invited, and I will fill you in.
Let’s just say:
Me = Maureen O’Hara
Someone-else-on-the-trip-that-shall-remain-nameless-let-me-throw-in-some-untranslatable-words-into-this-like-skidamarinkydinkydinky-cromulent-embiggens-atchison-topeka-santa-fe-dinglehopper-so-that-it-confuses-non-english-speakers = forgettable actress that plays the stepmother
Such an understatement. And while it didn’t uinray the iptray, it did idday akmay emay an ittleay . . . annoyed to say the eastlay.
But whatever, it got to the point of being comical, so not too big of a deal.
Bitching aside, this was the (loose) itinerary . . .
Vegas – fun, but you know, it’s Vegas . . .
Stop in Williams, AZ – typical little town on Route 66 with stores wherein you can/should buy things like this . . .
Grand Canyon – it’s just so . . . grand. Too grand. Literally too large to even conceive.
Petrified Forest/Painted Desert – Interesting. Sort of cool. Skipable, so here’s a picture of the group . . .
Hubbell Trading Post – The only reason I’m including this is because this is an example of precisely the kind of dorky, historic places that I wanted to stop by, but was met with glazed eyes and bored stares. OH god I mean azedglay eyesyay and ordbay arestay! Oops.
Canyon de Chelly – Amazing. So beautiful. Astounding. Needed more time there.
Monument Valley – This is in Navajo Nation, and you can pay an entry fee ($5 per person) to drive and see the “monuments” up close and personal. We did this, but the roads aren’t paved and our family van couldn’t deal. We drove through the “normal” road, however, and it was just as impressive. I think.
Camp in Bluff, UT – You can drive for very long stretches in this part of the country without really coming across any civilization. Or having any 3G connectivity. But then every once in a while, little towns like Bluff pop up and have a campground and a few restaurants. We found (meaning, drove down the one street in town) a really cool restaurant here.
Arches – More amazing than I thought it would be. It’s hard to believe this wasn’t a movie set or an art installation. Visiting this park was #12 on my life list, so I’ll write about it in greater depth soon.
Moab, UT – Not one of the little towns. This place is relatively booming and full of outdoor adventure outfitters, hotels, restaurants, & shops. We went rafting.
Canyonlands – This is sort of like a miniature Grand Canyon. In fact, Thelma and Louise, who supposedly died driving off the GC in actuality died driving off a cliff in Canyonlands. It’s gorgeous and compact in comparison, plus nowhere near as crowded. I’d like to have spent a few days here.
Camp in Capitol Reef – We didn’t really have plans to go to Capitol Reef, but we read that the campground is really nice so we decided to visit there for a night. Gorgeous, not fun. So cold. So, so cold. Ground, so hard. But, we did wake up to a beautiful view and ate goodies made from apples from the orchards in the park, so it was in a way worth it.
Bryce Canyon – When we first got to Bryce, I wasn’t that excited. It’s weird looking. But it’s got a few easy-peasy hiking trails, and going that extra mile really changes your experience. I ended up loving it and it turned out to be one of the most memorable (not to mention picturesque) points of the trip.
Zion – Was. Not. Expecting. Zion is one of the most incredibly beautiful places I’ve ever been. Have you seen the Land Before Time? No? Well they make this trek to a place called The Great Valley, a wondrous place where everything is lush and there is water and happiness and an endless supply of love . . . this is Zion. Unreal. I need to go back for a week at least.
Back to Vegas – Ick. Don’t get me wrong, Vegas is fun. And it’s funny. But I’d rather have been in Zion. There is absolutely no reason to be in Vegas for longer than 2 days. You can only eat and drink and spend money for so long. OMG, listen! I really am a wilderness girl now!
I crossed a few things off the old Life List, so stay tuned. And let’s plan that trash talking dinner.