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?
A few months ago, in early October, I took a road trip through southern Utah, visiting four National Parks along the way: Zion, Bryce, Arches, and Canyonlands. It was the beginning of an extended trip. The plan was to start at my home base in California, then a week of driving through southern Utah, then on to South Dakota to visit family, then on the way back visit a few friends in Oregon. I was pretty low energy at the time. Due to my summer tummy troubles, I wasn’t able to eat much, but for the first leg of the trip I felt well enough to be able to soak in the stunning southwestern scenery.
For me, 2018 was another bad year. Apart of me really hates to call a year “bad” — or any time period. We live and learn from any and all experiences, blah, blah. We call know that we can make the best of difficult situations, etc. A part of me gets it and understands that I can’t control the circumstances of my life and that in order to successfully navigate tough times, I ought to be mature and learn from shitty experiences, but some years are just harder than others. So, another part of me is fine with saying that 2018 sucked.
Damn these lazy, self-entitled Millennials….Also, Colin O’Brady finished his 932 mile crossing of Antarctica ahead of schedule after he got into a “flow” and did a 32 hour ultramarathon to finish off the last 80 miles. http://www.businessinsider.com/colin-obrady-first-to-cross-antarctica-alone-unaided-2018-12