Day One. Said goodbye to Koda for like twenty minutes (Pup isn't allowed in any parks in the southwest.) Drove from Boise to Scofield, Utah. Snow. Everywhere. Found out Scofield is a ghost town. Found out I'm the only one within like thirty miles. Wind picks up, snowing like crazy. Decide to sleep in car. Got so cold that night that the trees started exploding. (Yes. Sap expands as it gets to freezing temperatures and eventually the bark can't support it, so the branches starting popping off and shit. Crazy.) Got the shit scared out of me by shapes moving past my car. Deer. Fucking deer scared the shit out of me. I'm pathetic.
Day Two. Woke up, couldn't open door cuz it was frozen shut. Water bottles frozen. Plastic water bladders cracked/leaked for remainder of trip. Car wouldn't start. Fuck. Tried five times before it did. Got the fuck outta Scofield. Sang Keith Urban at the top of my lungs. Got to Dead Horse Point. Jaw was dragging on the ground looking at all the rock formations. I mean, really. Holy. Shit. Pitched the tent. Drove into Moab. Got my doggy fix. Two pups named Tia and Lucy. Blabbed to owners (who didn't give a flying fuck) about how much I missed my own dog. Photographed landscapes in Dead Horse Point. Kneeled in cacti on accident. Didn't make that mistake again. Got in tent. Wind was going like crazy. Thanked my mom in my head for teaching me to always stake out the tent AND put on the rain fly. "Just in case".
Day Three. Took tent down, moved on. Drove through Moab up 128 and found a perfect site. I mean perfect. Away from all other sites. On the river. In the shadow of a huge red rock formation. Pitched the tent in the sand. Set up my chair facing the river and red rock. Read The Lovely Bones and Hilarity Ensues for hours. My friend was driving down to stay with me a couple nights from outside Salt Lake. He came in around 8:30 PM. We made a camp feast; two boxes of Pasta Roni, bagels with cream cheese, and a can of soup. Made a huge ass fire. Smoked Black n Milds and drank beer. Amurica. He brought a shit ton of blankets and pillows to make the tent super fluffy and comfy. I slept like a baby. A dead baby. That is how hard I slept.
Day Four. Woke up and read while I waited for Lazy Ass to get out of the tent. Drove to Moab. Had breakfast at the Jailhouse Cafe. (Used to be the town's jail) Walked to car, saw a sign "Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival". Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, that sounds like a rootin' tootin' good time. Lazy Ass won second place in the seed spittin contest (He's chewed tobacco for years) Got our faces painted. Played kid games and won cheap prizes. Watched rednecks launch pumpkins from cannons built out of their truck beds. Watched a weiner dog race. Bought peach jam from some old lady. Watched a costume contest. Grabbed a bar of soap in town and waded into the colder than shit Colorado River. Never have I been in more freezing water. Scrubbed myself down in record time. Hung around the site and ended the day with a sunset at Arches. Drank more beer before sleeping like a dead baby for the last time on this trip. Lazy Ass taught me how to French inhale smoke. I got way too excited about it and made myself light headed from doing it so much.
Day Five. Lazy Ass did dishes while I packed up the tent and everything. Filled up my (leaking) water bladders and water bottles from a trickle of water coming out of a crack in the rock. Can't get more natural than that. Lazy Ass headed back to SLC then Boise. I set up my tent in Arches and got really homesick. Watched the sunset and read.
Day Six. Kept myself busy so as not to feel homesick. Packed a day's worth of food and water, some emergency supplies, and my camera into my pack. Hiked fifteen or so miles that day. Delicate Arch. Tapestry Arch. Dune Arch. Negro Bill Canyon. Natural Bridge. My mind was blown. I needed to sit down at one point. Got too excited and shit. I can't tell you how raw that kind of happiness is. It's like... Literally nothing matters and all that you can think about is how powerful and beautiful the rock is and how delicate parts of the desert can be. It's insane. I cannot explain it but I have never felt that way in civilization. I don't think it's possible. I felt it in Oregon too. Saw petroglyphs, jack rabbits, abandoned cabins, zero hikers until I reached Delicate Arch. A man offered to take my picture next to it.
Day Seven. Had brunch at some cafe. Met two women from Boise. They told me I was stupid for traveling alone. I thanked them. Met a man who tried to convince me to drop out of school and be a guide in the parks here. I told him I was considering it. The server called me darlin' and I surprisingly loved it. She was awesome. I read Hilarity Ensues and drank my chai and ate my breakfast bagel. Stayed for a couple hours. Bought a biography on Jack Kerouac for my mom. Watched the moon rise over the redrock. Read The Lovely Bones and passed out in the middle of a game of Sudoku.
Day Eight. Packed up the tent. Made some hot chocolate for the road. Drove to Canyonlands, The Needles. Drove took way longer than I expected. Realized I'd driven 130 miles in the opposite direction of where I needed to be. Realized I was almost out of gas. Said fuck it and tried to pitch the tent where I was. My tent poles broke. My phone decided to break. I started to get sick. I listened to the signs the universe was sending me. I stayed in a motel that night. Halloween. I watched Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. Got really sad trying to think of a way I could stay here longer. Tried to fix tent poles. Ruined them more. I couldn't afford to stay in a motel the remainder of the time. Showered for the first time since I left. (Shut up, it's the desert. They didn't even have running water at most the campgrounds I stayed at.)
Day Nine. Woke up and took my tent into town, to see if I could get it fixed or replaced for cheap. I have no money left. Fuck. I flipped off the universe and drove back to Boise.