Where I Went: Utah

If you're from New England like me and haven't been out west, or southwest, I don't know how to convey to you how big it is, how much earth exists outside our cities. New York seems small and Boston seems even smaller, comparatively. But I'll try: It took four hours to drive from the airport to our little cabin in Utah and we did not need to consult a map on the way back because we only had to make three turns. The population of our temporary home was 100 and something. On our last night, we exhausted every restaurant option within a reasonable proximity to Bryce Canyon, all were closed (s/o to good ole' Subway for being the exception). There is never even one object obstructing your view of the sky. There's so. Much. Sky.

How do I convey how big it is? Valley of Fire State Park is only an hour and fifteen minutes from Las Vegas and you can still easily get shots of the road without vehicles in them. There's trails, sure, but an eighth of a mile in we abandoned them to scramble up boulders on the side. I don't have any idea how far we could have gone. Until death.

It's big. Route 12 through Grand Staircase Escalante is 124 miles. We drove all of it, but those 124 miles were just 10% of what we put on the rental car in those four days. The BLM road we drove down was 4.5 miles long, but another one went all the way to Arizona. The Dixie National Forest is 2 million acres. I grew up in a house that sat on just two. At it's highest point it's over 11,000 feet. I couldn't breathe.

It's high. It's high and I am not used to elevation. Boston's elevation is 141 feet. We descended 1500 on our hike in Bryce Canyon, my heart felt it on the ascent. 

I took a thousand photos in Bryce. I tried, over and over again, to capture how big it was. I knew it was impossible. And it is. After we hiked in Bryce, we drove to every scenic vista there was. At Bryce Point I stopped trying. I snapped a few, but it is impossible to convey how big it is. So I'll stop there. It's nice, when you think about it, to have a view to your mind only. Sometimes places are worthy of seeing but it's only a disservice to attempt to convey why. I guess that's Utah.

The Places I Went:
Valley Of Fire State Park
-Mouse's Tank Road
-Mouse's Tank Trail

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
-Scenic Route 12
-Willis Creek Narrows
-Lower Calf Creek Falls

Dixie National Forest
-Red Canyon - Birdseye Trail

Bryce Canyon National Park
-Figure 8 Loop: Navajo Loop and Queen's Garden Trail
-Bryce Point
-Under The Rim Trail
-Rainbow Point
-Natural Bridge

Winter at Flume Gorge | New Hampshire

I've been dying to hike something big lately. I haven't made it up a real 4k footer in the Whites all winter, which is a shame because one of the best times to be in the Whites is when they're...white. And yet, time and weather, and life continue to get in the way. 

But I'm happy to spend even a few hours up there at a time, so Madeline and I took a quick trip to the Flume this weekend. This was actually my first time going to this rather touristy spot in the Whites and while I'm sure it's great in the Summer, my advice is to go in the Winter. (I'm not saying this ONLY because it's free in the off-season, but, don't mind one bit).

During the Winter most of what is *usually* a boardwalk through the gorge is taken down. But since everything is frozen you can pretty much just walk on top of where a river is. Guys. We out here walking on water. 

But also, LOOK AT THAT ICE. This is where I tell you for the 7,000th time in my life that pun is intended when I say, IT'S COOL. Full disclosure, I do not ice climb. Would I like to? Absolutely. Will it be easy? To me it just looks like all you have to do is slam a sharp thing into a wall of ice, so I'm sure I'll say "looks simple!" and then be 95% incapable of being able to pull my body weight more than a foot off the ground. Teach me.