The trip happened in late August, but the idea started months before. The year 2017 started with a new challenge – hike every week for the entire year. The hiking started locally in Dallas, Texas near home base and would branch out occasionally as variety was needed. Some would call it a travel bug, others just an itch for adventure, either way a bigger, more spectacular trip was needed to satiate the outdoor cravings. The search for flights began and included many great destinations such as Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, and others cities near scenic public lands with great hiking. The search for the perfect flight continued over the span of a few weeks and the destinations were whittled away as prices increased, departures didn’t work, or arrivals were too late. Vacation days were thin, sick days needed to be saved just in case, and work was about to ramp up to the busy season anyway so the flight and timing had to be just right. One day, it clicked and a flight to Salt Lake City was perfectly timed with an arrival on Friday night and a departure late on Sunday for a reasonable price from Dallas. The flight was not purchased, but was tracked and discussed for another few weeks. The price increased and it seemed hope for an adventure would be lost. The disappointment was accepted and the promise of other, future trips was made internally as the tracking of the flight prices was canceled. Fast forward about two weeks, the urge to adventure still burning, prices were checked again. With much surprise, and delight, it was discovered that the price was back to what it was on the very first search. Second guesses weren’t allowed, the flight was booked and it was written in permanent marker on the calendar in the office. News was shared with a dear friend, and it was decided the spontaneity of this trip was to their liking and they also booked a flight from their airport to meet up for the ambitious weekend adventure.
Trip planning commenced, and there were 100 things to fit in to less than 48 full hours in Utah. Having visited Utah in the past, there were things that were only enjoyed briefly that deserved a revisit. Arches, an obvious attraction, had been thoroughly investigated so it was off the list. Zion would be a bit too far south, as would Bears Ears for this trip. So, a route was planned from Salt Lake City through Capitol Reef National Park to Devil’s Backbone and back out to Bryce Canyon National Park for the Saturday portion. It was a lot of miles to cover in one day and proved to be a real challenge to visit everything. The main objective of the trip was obviously to hike, with a side aspiration to see the sunset over Bryce Canyon and sunrise at Cedar Breaks. Hiking in Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Cedar Breaks was determined to be the most important with any other hikes being a welcomed addition. A short hike in Capitol Reef in the morning sun led to driving miles with scenic views of storms on the horizon to the arrival at Bryce Canyon in the late afternoon. The road to Rainbow Point, the end of the park, was longer than anticipated with many necessary stops to admire the views. Once to the point, a hike on the Bristlecone Loop was taken while the sun was still pretty high in the sky. Making the drive back to the entrance, the plan was to hike at Inspiration Point for the sunset. Stops at a few small loops such as Natural Bridge and Piracy Point along the way allowed the sun to sink down a bit more and the views to be taken in a bit longer. The arrival at Bryce Point prompted a race to the edge to peer out at the darkening hoodoos, as the sun was suddenly almost gone. A quick drive to Inspiration point led to a view of the cherry red sunset in the distant clouds as it faded away. The mission was complete, the sunset was viewed in Bryce Canyon National Park and it added more magic to the hoodoo views than could have been expected.
This post was written in one hour for the first #NatureWritingChallenge.