In the summer of 2010, my family decided to take a trip to tour the national parks of Southern Utah. My parents had done the same thing about twenty years before during their college years and had been wanting to take my brother and me back for awhile, so we had all been looking forward to it immensely. We left Sacramento at about 10:00 in the morning, thinking that we would drive to somewhere in eastern Nevada, spend the night, and continue to Cedar City, Utah the next day. However, instead of stopping in Nevada, we decided to keep driving, thinking that we might find a hotel to stay in along the way. We ended up rolling in to Cedar City at 1:00 in the morning, searching for ANY place to stay. Just our luck – there was a Shakespeare Festival in town that weekend and all the hotels were filled. Just as I was resigning to the fact that I would have to sleep in our car, we found vacancy at a run-down hotel. The owner was already asleep and we had to wake him up to get us a room; my mom wouldn’t even let us put our suitcases on the ground for fear of bedbugs.
The next day, we drove to Zion National Park and biked around the accessible parts of the park for the rest of the day. That night, I slept wonderfully; however, in the middle of the night, I woke to find my dad pacing up and down the tent because he couldn’t sleep. There was roadwork going on in the park, but to keep the roads open to cars, the construction teams were working late at night. I could hear one worker yelling, “Hey Bob, you want them fire pits over here?!”
But the rest of Zion was simply amazing. Climbing Angels Landing was an experience like no other… I just had to keep telling myself to stare straight ahead and not look down!
After Zion, we left for Arches National Park, where we went on many hikes to different rock formations all over the park. We found that people had made tiny cairns – trail markers – and put them in small holes in the rocks. The way the red rock seemed to meet the clouds was insanely beautiful, and I couldn’t keep myself from climbing to the top of the small peaks. After Arches, we biked Slickrock Trail on the petrified sand dunes… at least, we got about half a mile into the trail when a huge thunderstorm hit. Lightning was flashing all around us as we tried to get off the rocks and back to the car as quickly as we could. As soon as we made it back to our hotel, the storm hit full force. All the people in the hotel sat with their doors open and watched lightning strike the ground, one time after another. The streets of the town flooded at least two or three feet deep, but we had to get to dinner somehow! So we had to run through the rain to an Italian restaurant in the middle of town… this storm was crazy to us, but the residents of the town treated it like it was a normal occurrence!
Later on in our trip, we endured death hikes, bug problems, and huge “flash storms”… all things that proved difficult for us yet made that trip certainly an experience to remember!
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