Hey readers! When I’m not researching, writing, editing, or publishing books, I love to travel—especially when it comes to hiking in the U.S. National Parks. This March, I drove to southern Utah to visit Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and Bryce Canyon National Park. I’m back now, but I’d love to take a moment to share a little bit of my trip with you. No history, I promise!
I started my trip in Moab, Utah, just south of Arches National Park. I began the day early by getting up before dawn and hiking to Delicate Arch, perhaps Utah’s most recognizable rock formation. I spent the rest of the day exploring the park by traveling up and down the main road and doing short day hikes along with one longer hike on an unmaintained “primitive” path. Then, that evening, I headed out of Moab to a camp just outside of Canyonlands National Park.
My first night at (or near actually) Canyonlands National Park was a cold one. The temperature dropped below freezing. I know this because my water froze and my tent was covered in a thick layer of frost that morning. After waiting for the sun to rise and taking my tent down, I went into Canyonlands National Park and parked my car at the trailhead for Big Canyon Spring. This is because I was headed into the backcountry for a two night stay. This means that carried all my supplies on my back, including all food, water, sleeping necessities, and even human waste disposal bags!
For the next forty-eight hours I hiked the canyons and valleys of Canyonlands National Park. This was an amazing but somewhat stressful experience. On the one hand, I got to see some of the most incredible, expansive views a unique and beautiful landscape. On the other hand, I had to tread carefully through ravines, up steep canyon faces, and over/around large boulders. Finding my way wasn’t always easy and I had be very careful about each step I took. Often times, I found myself saying “Just don’t look down.” It worked!
After finding my way back to my car, I made a long drive from Canyonlands to Escalante, Utah, where I had a very nice stay in warm and comfortable travelers lodge. I also used this opportunity to catch up on emails, wash my clothes, take a shower, and get some hearty food.
After a good night’s rest I drove south from Escalante down a long dirt road to the a trailhead called Hurricane Wash. That’s because I was doing another overnight hike, this time in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Specifically, I was hiking from Hurricane Wash to Coyote Gulch. I’m not exactly sure what a gulch is, but it was worth the hike. While there, I hiked along a meandering stream that was surrounded by high, arching canyon walls, each one bending inward to form a natural amphitheater. These natural amphitheaters stretched above me like a roof and around me like walls, enclosing me by about two-hundred seventy degrees! Plus, I saw some more remarkable arches such as the Jacob Hamblin Arch.
After camping overnight in Coyote Gulch, I hike out via Hurricane Wash and back to my car. From there I drove back north and then west on my way to Bryce Canyon National Park. Originally, I had planned to camp at Bryce Canyon, but, because Bryce Canyon is at a high elevation, the temperature was in the 30s and the snow was piled high. So, I got a hotel room! It was still early in the afternoon when I arrived, so I explored as much of the canyon as I could by car. Then, the next day, I did a longer hike down into the canyon. Getting into the canyon was somewhat challenging because I had to use my crampons to hike over the ice and snow while being very careful not to slip down the steep slopes. But it was worth it because the unique rock formations of the canyon were amazing to see up close.
I hiked up and out of the canyon in the afternoon, got back in my car, and headed north to begin my 1500 mile road trip back home. Along the way, I stopped and visited some friends in Colorado. Otherwise, the drive home was fairly uneventful.
Overall, it was a wonderful though challenging trip. The scenery was stunning and I’m grateful for the time, health, and resources to take such a trip. Now that I’m back, I’m focused on preparing for the launch of my novel, Reclaiming Mni Sota.
For more photos from my trip, visit my travel blog here.