Venturing Southern Utah Solo.

Three things I gained from my solo-trip to southern Utah- I am not alone, because I will meet at least a few people/friends along the way, I can travel alone or with company and have someone to share my experience with, and deserts are windy and beautiful.

Recently, I had a trip to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and Grand Staircase-Escalante. Each place brought me something new, from meeting new friends, discovering a new landscape, and sleeping with a little sand and squeezing through tight slot canyons. Also, overcoming a fear of heights and driving some of the most remote yet beautiful roads ever was a dream-like experience.

 

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Burr Trail Road off of scenic highway 12 in southern Utah.

If one drives the Burr Trail Road, he/she should have a full or nearly full tank of gas, plenty of water, and food, as there is no civilization out there for the approximately sixty-six miles from Boulder, Utah to Capital Reef National Park.

I only drove about half of the road due to time constraint, but it was probably one of, if not the best and most scenic drives I have ever explored. It was like driving through Mars. Imagine Mars habitable and with a road threading through it.

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A slot canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante – Hole-in-the-Rock Road.

Traveling solo brought the risk of being lonely and bored. Bored I was not. Loneliness came and went, as I was busy discovering new locations, meeting new people, and uploading pictures to social media. Not only did I meet people, I hiked, ate dinner with one, and added them to Facebook and Instagram, and they added me! When alone, as I was most of my overnight in the Narrow and camping in Grand Staircase-Escalante, thoughts of ‘what would people I know’ think of this place? Slogging through water, clambering over boulders and falling trees, wading through mid-section-level cold water in areas, they might think the idea was insane, or fun. Perhaps, both of these thoughts could occur at once. My new friend, Audry, told me she thought Zion looked like the place in the movie, “Land Before Time.” Thinking about it, I have to agree. But I never saw Little Foot.

 

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A section in the early part of the Narrows thru-hike, scramble and slog.

 

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The Narrows. The first about ten miles of the Narrows from Chamberlain’s Ranch(the dropoff and start for the overnight in the narrows) will treat you with views of lofty canyon walls with various shapes, lush green vegetation, and the streaming, sometime waste-deep, water.

I had ventured solo before but not across the map. However, with technology, I knew I would be able to communicate with friends and family when I had a signal. Southern Utah has some remote places, such as the majority of the Narrows before the last three to four miles back in Zion, and highway 12 and Burr Trail Road. Grand Staircase-Escalante has some of the most remote places I have experienced while traveling.

 

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Driving scenic highway 12

 

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A view from Hole-in-the-Rock Road in Grand Staircase-Escalante.

 

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Looking through my tent at my camp in the Narrows.

 

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I made to the top of Angel’s Landing, and someone took my picture to prove it!

As shown above, I ascended Angel’s Landing to the top. I also conquered a fear of falling from heights, for the most part, and when coming down, the fear of a crowd coming up. I’m glad I started the ascent early.  There were three fears I faced on my trip: fear of falling from a long height(never happened, obviously), the possibility of a flash flood when camping and traversing the Narrows, and something happening to my rental car in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, the scariest part of my trip was driving through Las Vegas’s lunch traffic on the way back to the car rental location.

If one wants to travel somewhere and is passionate about it, I suggest making it happen. The person can organize the trip so when it comes time to embark on the adventure it is easier to explore and she/he will not have to worry about things becoming a mess along the way, such as losing belongings or forgetting essential items(passport, wallet, keys, jacket, underwear, socks, etc.).

Ask friends and/or family to join the experience. Setting out on an epic adventure could be a good way to nurture relationships. No one can go or is not interested in going with him/her? The person should go anyways; he/she will more than likely meet at least one or two new friends along the way, despite traveling to remote areas. I used to be shy but have become pretty social over the years; oddly I seem to be more social when traveling. There is some magnetic energy at times that tells me to talk to a stranger. Bottom line, if one truly wants to go on an adventure, he/ she should go regardless if he/she is traveling  with company or traveling alone.

However, I always make it clear where I am going, when I am going, and when I plan on returning if traveling alone. And these days it is easy to stay in contact with friends and family back home via technology, so they can be updated. Having company can reduce cost as each person splits the cost of gas, rental, camping, lodging, etc. I will save this topic for another post. Get out there and live your adventure!

 

 

 

 

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