I was enjoying a nice drive, heading west on Highway 16 in central British Columbia, when a tire flew at me, loosed from a vehicle that was heading the opposite direction. My car is fucked but thankfully there were no injuries. If anyone has any advice on handling auto insurance claims while traveling abroad, I’d love to hear it.
I’m slowly working my way north in my subcompact Fiat 500, which I converted into a little camper car, of sorts. I stripped it down to the bare bones, took out all the seats with the exception of the drivers seat (which I admit to giving consideration, however short-lived, to the idea of taking it out as well), and I stuffed it full of stuff with just enough room for a sleeping area where I can stretch out long-ways on the side of the car that formerly housed the passenger-side seat.
I’m trying to make the most of my remaining time here in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I start out tomorrow and in the meantime, I’m packing and getting the car ready for the trip up north to Alaska, but I try to squeeze in some walking and hiking time. I was hiking a few weeks back with an activist friend, Nick, a union organizer. I was introducing him to Fall Creek State Park, which is walking distance from my house. Fall Creek is also my go-to trail because apart from being so close and accessible it’s also not very heavily trafficked. It’s got all the splendor you’d expect from a Redwood forest — towering, serene trees, a barrage of gorgeous greenery, and a stillness that serves to refresh the civilization weary soul.
On the occasion of the expiration and intended renewal of my passport.
After a morning meadering through Arches, I drove an hour or so, to Canyonlands National Park. Whereas Zion had been overrun with buses and cameras and all their many peoples, and while Bryce and Arches were pleasant but still felt a bit crowded from time to time, Canyonlands was like hitting the paydirt of personal solitude. Of the four Parks I had inadvertently save the best for last. Canyonlands was my fave.
After viewing the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, I drove for a while and spent that night at a rest stop on the Interstate, which probably doesn’t sound particularly appealing, especially since I was sleeping in my tiny Fiat 500 (converted into a little camper-car), but the views from the rest stop were quite phenomenol. At this point, I was in the heart of some of the grand scenery of southern Utah — and most significantly, I was well off the beaten path, so I could take in the views the way the writer Edward Abbey and other writers and desert monastics have always talked about: as a reflective, solitary endeavor.
After my day at Zion National Park, I was a bit uneasy. Zion was completely overrun with tourists. I couldn’t even find an open parking place at the Visitor’s Center, even though the parking lot capacity was like a shopping mall. I had three more Parks to visit, and I wondered: would they all be crowded out with homo spaiens? I spend my summers in McCarthy, in the middle of what is the largest National Park in North America. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is also fairly empty, and I often have the sense that I’ve got the whole damn Park to myself. Was I just spoiled by the unspoiled Alaskan wilderness?