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UTAH national parks

Well, we returned to California late Saturday night after driving virtually nonstop for 14 hours and over 900 miles. We had planned on spending the night in Reno, but once we started seeing signs for Sacramento, we couldn’t resist the lure of sleeping in our own bed. It was a good trip, but exhausting – a combination of long rides in the Highlander and long hikes in the parks.

So where did we go? Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Arches National Park. All three are in Utah, yet they’re so different from each other, they might as well be on separate planets. Just driving through Utah is an amazing experience. One of my favorite sites was a huge white rock – aptly named Ghost Rock – that just rises out of nowhere at the side of the highway. Since it was half-shrouded by fog/mist when we passed by it, it was doubly dramatic.

So here’s the play-by-play. If you want sheer grandeur coupled with a great place to hide from bad guys, you want Zion. If you want other-worldly, try Bryce – it looks like something from a sci-fi fairy tale, gorgeous but cold, and ultimately inhospitable. The views are magnificent – not just of the weirdly gorgeous rock formations, but a sweeping panorama of all of southern Utah with some Arizona thrown in.

My favorite park was Arches, and we ended up spending the most time there. It was reminiscent of Monument Valley, which is my favorite place on earth. Red rock, red soil, amazing rock formations – just so inspiring it truly takes your breath away. I am becoming convinced that in a past life, I lived among these formations, maybe even worshipped them. When I’m near them, I’m at peace. Time honestly stands still, which is a huge event considering how antsy I usually am when I'm away from home.

The difference between these new parks and Monument Valley is that I want to go back to the latter. Not just once, but periodically. Arches was cool, but I feel like I experienced it completely. Bryce and Zion? I was ready to leave after a few hours, and have no need to return.

I’m dying to meet someone who reacts to Bryce the way I react to Monument Valley. I’m sure there are dozens/hundreds of such people.

My favorite part of all this was realizing again what amazing natural formations were available to the early North Americans to admire and worship. Unlike the Druids who had to drag big rocks into a circle, the first North Americans were confronted with the most awesome natural temples imaginable. No need to build pyramids in Utah and Arizona. It was all provided by Mother Nature. That feeling of power/insignificance, pride/humility, immortality/vulnerability – yowza . It doesn’t get much better than that.

And needless to say, I walked away with some great story ideas. Unfortunately, we also listened to a Clive Cussler book-on-tape during our long ride, so uppermost in my mind is a desire to write about the first female NUMA operative/heroine. Oh well…

It’s nice to be home.

Kate

p.s. We met so many nice people in Utah! Especially in Moab. And the roads are good. All in all, it's a great place to visit if you're looking for a relaxing, inspiring vacation.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Oct. 10th, 2006 01:58 am (UTC)
Bryce
My forefathers immigrated from England over the Mormon trail and lived near and ran sheep in Bryce. But they didn't do so well, seeing as how there's nothing for the sheep to EAT in Bryce. Haven't been there in about 20 years. Guess I should go to a family reunion again sometime.

Am glad you had a good time. I'm glad to be home myself. My tavels this year were great (and included Carnac, Brittany) but I've had enough of a good thing.

Penn
katedonovan
Oct. 10th, 2006 03:57 am (UTC)
Re: Bryce
Yep, sheep wouldn't last too long there. Or people either. Everything looked so sharp and dangerous -- but gorgeous.

We were supposed to go to Mesa Verde too, but we got rained out. You went to Colorado, didn't you? I still haven't been. Now I'm determined!

But you're right -- home is best.

Kate
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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