Every spring I have an itch to go to the desert, any kind of desert, a place with warmth, where I can put on my sandals, shorts, and a wide brimmed hat. A place where I can thaw out from a Montana winter and find out what my skin looks like in the glow of the sun instead of the shower.
This spring was no different. I was being drawn to Southern Utah this time, picturing myself among the red cliffs, sage brush, and blooming cactus, in my sandals of course, lounging in the shade under a large cottonwood tree. As I drove out of Salt Lake City a week ago heading south, I had no plan of where I was going, and relishing in the freedom of that moment. WOW – I can go anywhere I want, and do whatever I want, whenever I want. How lucky am I to live in a place where I have this freedom and the land to do it on!!
I decide to stop at a library in Nephi, Utah to check out some pictures on the internet in hopes of making a decision of what direction to head (I’m still a bit in the dark ages with technology!). Bryce Canyon NP is what I decide after feeling excitement rise up when looking at the photos. What I don’t pay attention to is that it’s at 8000 ft. So on I drive, and find myself in Red Canyon just west of the park. I stop at a pullout to use the bathroom, and find it’s one of the premier bike trails in the state! So I pull out my bike at 6pm, and have an amazing ride through red canyon at sunset. AWESOME!
On to Bryce the next day. I pull in, set up camp, and ask “why it feels so cold” to myself, but with my typical determined nature, I decide in advance to stay for the next three days because I’m in a National Park after all, and I want to get my money’s worth. So I hike, eat, sleep, and shiver my way through it, with the best part being the day in “Fairyland.” It truly was a fairy land with the Hoodoos of orange towering above me. I even took my pan pipes with me and played among them – I think I called out the fairy’s too.
After my final shiver fest on the last morning, I pack up, and drop 2000ft in my car. I get out, and low and behold, I can put on my sandals. Isn’t this why I came to the desert anyway? Sometimes being determined has it’s drawbacks, and this was a prime example.
I then end up in Kodachrome State Park – the land of sandstone pipes of multiple colors, find red dirt, and the biggest bees I’ve ever seen (they were the size of my thumb, wings not included!). I’m in heaven now. I pull out my bike and find myself in what I title “Magic land” – red, orange, yellow, and one of the most amazing bike trails I’ve experienced for the scenery. Again, I ask, how lucky am I to be here?!!
I find the wonderful experience of a shower at this beautiful campground, and in my fresh clothes and sunshine, I decide to do some yoga to music, and within 10 minutes, I’m dancing around the picnic table to a “Good Life” by One Republic, in utter joy – this goes on for at least an hour, but I lost track of time, who knows how long I danced, but I was in my own personal heaven! I sang the lyrics “when you’re happy like a fool, you got a let it out…” so I did – round and round the picnic table.
On to Escalante the next day after sadly leaving Kodachrome, I camp at a reservoir and find my scalp has about 50 bites on it during the night from invisible biters. Where did they come from and who sent them to attack? Is this what it’s like to have lice? I put a hat on in the morning to pretend they are not there, and drive to a trailhead down the road to meet a friend for some slot canyon hiking.
As we crawl around, stem, push, and pull ourselves through these tight spaces, I exclaim, “It’s like being at a ride at Disneyland, only we’re self motored!” What an awesome experience playing in this land, being in the heat and enjoying conversation – I even forget about the 50 itchy bumps on my head!
And finally on to Calf Creek near the Escalante River. I think I have found paradise. It’s the large cottonwood trees I had pictured, the walls of red rock, the flowing creek, and I’m in my sandals! Heaven. I set up camp, and invite a couple of women driving through the campground to stay with me since it’s full. They are grateful. They pull out a box of wine, home made Indian food, and cook me dinner. I love how life is so unexpectedly wonderful sometimes. When we open up, and allow in the unexpected, the surprise gifts, and rewards of being alive on this planet, we find out how stunning life is!
Categories: Health & Happiness