ROAD TRIP : DESERT NINJAS

 Desert camping in Page, Arizona. 

Desert camping in Page, Arizona. 

 

This was my first trip of the year and my first trip tagging along with my younger brother. He has driven around the United States countless times and it's been on my bucket list to go on a trip with him. So this trip started in Gilbert, Arizona. I had been staying at a friends house there and my brother, Andy came up from the Tuscan Gem and Mineral Show to snag me. We took off from there and went north - straight to the Grand Canyon where it was cold - our first night in the tent and it got down to 8 degrees, but we still managed to get out and get some rad star shots and see some critters along the way. We explored some awesome parts of Arizona including Horseshoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon where we actually had to be driven in on a big 4x4 rig by some Navajo Natives. 


 

We were able to keep traveling north into Utah and hit a handful of National Parks. This was my first time in this state and it was awesome. Zion National Park was/is probably my favorite park that I've been to so far. I loved climbing the rocks and hiking on the edge of cliffs - a lot of the trails were literally on the edges of cliffs. My most memorable hike was when my brother and I explored the Hidden Canyon Trail. We had reached the end of the steep 3 mile hike, but the trail looked like it continued so we went for it. Over the next mile and a half or so we found ourselves scrambling through this 'hidden canyon'; repelling down ledges, bouldering over fallen rocks, and eventually walking on snowpack until we couldn't go any further. It was one of those situations where you ask yourself if you should keep going or turnaround, and I'm glad we kept going.

Towards the end of the trip we were getting pretty exhausted. We would ninja camp almost every night on this trip. This is when we rock up to a campground late at night, usually after 1am and we setup camp, go to sleep, then break down our camp and leave before the Park Ranger comes back to work in the morning. If we were too tired to setup the tent, we just slept on the ground. Bad karma - I know, but it kept things exciting and kept us moving. During our 15 day trip we drove 2,600 miles, spent $406.13 in fuel, explored 5 national parks, went to 2 national monuments, got creepy in 2 ghost towns, had one shower, got one flat tire, and took one 148 mile tow truck ride back to home base - thank you, AAA man.

Overall the trip was amazing. Spending that much time in the desert was starting to get to me though - you're constantly fighting dust in your eyes, nose, ears, and sometimes in your food. This trip made me realize how much I appreciate living in the Pacific Northwest and it made me happy to encounter rain on this trip. It also made me realize that I have no shame washing my hair in a Wal-Mart bathroom. 

-Race