The Canyons of Utah (and Arizona), Pt. 2

There´s a fine line between total fulfillment and frustration. We experienced this line in southern Utah.

From Hanksville, Utah, we headed south to “Bullfrog Marina“. Mainly because it sounded nice, and it was situated in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which sounded promising. We were super excited to see this

GlenCanyon

but sadly, we only got to see this…

Truck and Boat

Turns out that you can only get those pretty views in the top picture from a boat, and we had to leave the canoe behind in Canada. So we were stuck in the world´s ugliest place, surrounded by motorboat enthusiasts who loved their truck and boat more than their wife and kids. We had to find a different way to see some impressive Canyons. From Bullfrog, we headed west, and reached “BLM-Land” soon enough. After we had found an amazing spot to spend the night our “neighbor” who put up his camp 100 metres from us, decided that he´d like to have the place all to himself. Since we didn´t want to mess with an american redneck we decided to keep driving and find a different spot. The last sunrays were shining upon our car when we found a place in the middle of nowhere that we could call home for the next night. What a rollercoaster that day had been!

We cooked some delicious couscous and got lost staring into the galaxies when we noticed that it got quite cold. So we went to bed to start the next day early enough to catch the first sunbeams of the day! It was stunning how the light in the canyon had changed from sunset to sunrise. The mood was incredible, and although it was really cold it was worth getting up that early.

We had a brutal day of driving ahead of us. From the Glen Canyon, we wanted to head west through the Capitol Reef National Park, where we came from, and then further to the Zion National Park. Since driving with a cold and a fever wasn´t the best idea, we stopped in Escalante just past Boulder (Utah), where we found an amazing organic shop called “Escalante Mercantile”. Also, the visitor centre in Escalante was very informative and it was about time for us to catch up with the folks at home and the WiFi there was pretty good!

One thing led to another and soon enough we found ourselves in a guesthouse on a beautiful ranch in the quietest place in southern Utah, staying the night and getting over our cold.

The next day we organized our stuff and headed towards Zion National Park. We made it just in time for a quick hike on the Canyon Overlook Trail at the east entrance of the park, where we could watch the sun lighting up the red cliffs of the National Park. We headed back to our very nice campground that was just outside the park.

We went to bed early to gather our strength for the next day. Good thing we did, because it should be a very rough one.

Having a broken radiator hose in the traffic jam right before a tunnel sucks. On the bright side, we were lucky that this little “incident” didn´t happen 10 minutes later, because then we´d have been stuck in the tunnel. Anyway, shortly after we had reached the magical Zion NP we left it – in a towtruck that was driven by Hank, a man who called himself a “hick” and who is very proud of the fact that his 12 year old daughter can handle a “small pumpgun”.

Although I´m positive that Hank voted for Drumpf and is therefore partly responsible for the upcoming World War III, we got our radiator hose fixed and our car towed for 250$, which was not too bad considering that we were in no-man´s-land and would have paid any price to get out of this situation.

After we´d lost another day, it was time for us to visit the greatest of all canyons, El Grande, the Grand Canyon.

I will spare out further descriptions and just say this: Visit the North Rim in mid-october, avoid the crowds and take in breathtaking views, narrow trails that lead you through millions of years of earth history and an awesome campground in the pine forest!

 

The Drive-Thru Park

The idea of having National Parks is awesome. But, after my visit to the oldest one of them, the Yellowstone National Park, I have mixed feelings about the whole system. Sure, the density of breathtaking sights, wild animals and healthy forests is just incredible. Animals are being protected here, and the Visitor Centres are very educational! On the other hand though, the amount of people that visit those parks and therefore the amount of cars is just ridiculous. All of the National Parks saw a drastic increase in visitor numbers in the past years, and so did the Yellowstone NP.

No wonder. It´s incredible what you can see here just sitting in your car driving around. To me, that is exactly the problem. After having experienced places that were hard to reach and therefore very lonely in British Columbia, this park was very “non-rewarding”. Why would you get out of your car, when there´s a road that goes through the most incredible, unique spots, like the Mammoth Hot Springs? For dayhikers, there are lots of options to get away from the crowds – but it´s really frustrating if you end up at a viewpoint that is also accessible by car. After two of those hikes, we were close to leaving the park early. On the way to the west entrance of the park though, we spotted a Grizzly and her cub! Even though we had to share that moment with quite a lot of people, it was majestic. The bear, knowing that it´s absolutely safe, grazed in the meadows just  a couple of hundred meters from the road.

Although that made up for a lot of our frustration (we were absolutely STOKED about having seen that even a week after), I couldn´t help but feel a little sad about the fact that everything in this park is so accessible. It makes sense for people who would otherwise not be able to see those natural wonders, but it just makes people so lazy, which I found very shocking.

Nonetheless, Yellowstone was an incredible experience!

See the pictures below – three of them were not taken in Yellowstone, but on the drive there through the massive state of Montana!

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