We left Montana on the 19th of September and spiraled into a full blown action packed adventure. I recently concluded two work contracts and needed to take some vacation time before diving into my next big undertaking. We took advantage of this down time and the new-to-us surroundings to 1000% experience Utah.
In the last 3 weeks we explored:
- Arches National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- St. George Temple
- Little Jamaica
- Hurricane UT
- Zion National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Horseshoe Bend
- Antelope Canyon
- Labyrinth Canyon
- Lake Powell via jet ski and kayak
We have earned this feeling of pure exhaustion. Not only did we rock star hard through these activities, we spend the last three days in the car making our way to Arkansas. We rolled in last night and forced our bodies to get on the treadmill (I am running a half marathon in two weeks and my training has been iffy).
We woke up pretty miserable this morning. An adventure hangover. That’s okay we are staying put in Fayetteville, Arkansas for the next month. We have time to relax and focus on work.
I want to highlight a few of my favorites from the last few weeks. I really encourage all y’all to plan a Utah vacation next year and tackle these amazing sites.
Arrive in shape, you will enjoy yourself in Utah if you are physically fit.
My new workout hack for when we are on the go a lot is a jump rope. I will literally step out of the truck during a potty break and jump rope for five minutes.
Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park
Jena hiking the Narrows
Jena’s hiking buddy Sierra from Oregon
My highlights in Utah
The Narrows in Zion –
Hands down the coolest thing I have done in my life. I was prepared for this hike through the Virgin River, as I had attempted a short stint of this hike last March. Last March I had no idea what to expect, this year I was a pro. I had my closed toe water shoes, back pack and trekking poles.
I left Hurricane at about 6am to catch the first shuttle to the starting point of the hike. I knew this can make for a long day if I wanted to make it to the end (most people don’t, probably 99% of people don’t). Walking through water on top of rocks takes a lot of time. So I marched. I marched so fast that I got to the point that I was first in line and there was no other person to be seen.
It got spooky. At one point there was a fork in the river and no sign and I did not have a map (I guess I wasn’t a total pro). I continued on to what appeared to be the main route, but in the back of my mind was wondering if I was supposed to turn. At this point in the hike, I wasn’t feeling confident and almost a little worried.
After another thirty minutes I decided to stop and have a power bar and hope someone caught up to me. Luckily another solo female (Sierra from Oregon) made her way to me. Neither of us were certain if we were on the right course. She trekked on ahead of me, but quickly waited for me as the hike got wild. At one point we were clinging to the side of a boulder while wading in water deeper than Kayla Moylan (almost to my armpits).
We wondered if we had gone too far at many points along the way. Well, we made it almost to the end (now we know) before turning around. We thought we had gone as far as we could, but found out that if we climbed over the boulder field a just a few minutes more the trail actually ends at a waterfall. Well, another reason to go back.
I’m actually very happy that I went alone. I am certain that if I was with anyone else, they would have thrown in the towel long before I did and I would have missed out on some of the most thrilling parts of the hike.
Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell –
This lake is unlike any I have ever been to. You feel like you are living on another planet, like this must be what the moon is like, right? This isn’t just a lake you go to chill on. It is a lake that you go to explore. People actually pack their paddle boards and kayaks with gear to last them weeks and head out into the canyons.
There are so many canyons on this lake that you can never see it all. We explored Antelope Canyon by kayak and Labyrinth and Navajo Canyons by jet ski. Zach is going to write a full post about the epic-ocity of Lake Powell so I won’t go into too much detail. However, when we kayaked into Antelope Canyon we also hiked through the part of the canyon that was above the water table.
This was my second favorite activity and one of my favorite moments. As we neared the end of the hike a man’s deep voice announced our arrival, “Welcome Travelers”. Something about that statement and how he greeted us made my heart sing. Yes, we are travelers, we are on an exceptional journey that no one else is on. In that moment I felt extremely gratified in the unique life we are living and the experiences we are having along the way. Our life is one that not many people would ever choose to live yet it thrills me and makes me feel so completely free.
Zach hikes in flip flops
I will absolutely return to Utah.
I will hike the Narrows again, maybe even from the top down and return to Lake Powell. There is a canyon outside of Cedar City that I want to explore called Kanarraville Falls. Every time I check an adventure off my list, two new ones are added. I hope you will join me next time.