The States, Utah

Searching Southern Utah

My first adventure out West had me renting a car from the Las Vegas Airport and driving all the way to Southern Utah! Being from the East Coast of the United States it was very weird not seeing trees everywhere.

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Kinda glad that when driving I didn’t have to look out for deer jumping out in front of the car, or winding back roads where you aren’t sure if another car is coming the opposite direction!

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If I knew that there would be so much beautiful land to explore, mountain goats running down at me from a cliff, and a guy can herd Bison on an ATV I would have been gone a lot sooner!

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I love road trips because I like to get lost in my head thinking about my life. Where am I going to be in the next 5 years? Should I have eaten that gas station sushi? Did Christopher really say that to Becky? You know, important things.

Hurricane Valley, the town of Hurricane, dubs themselves as the focal point for all of the national parks in the area. There are a bunch of stores and restaurants in the area for you to prepare yourselves for further road trips. What I did (although it was expensive but very worth it) was rented a car during my trip. That also meant I could stop off the side of the road when I wanted to take in the view!

I stopped by a food market and made sure that I was always stocked on water and snacks. Keeping my goodies in the trunk of the car kept them cool in the dry desert heat, even the bananas seemed to stay yellow. Since there was a change in air pressure while driving I almost had a bag of chips explode on us as well!

Besides the impending chip-tastrophe bringing a backpack full of water and snacks allowed me to hike longer and further, especially in the heat.

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Heading Northeast towards Zion National Park was Route 9 which will have you traveling through a lot of cute little towns with a few restaurants and souvenir shops! One of my most memorable moments was when I was driving for more than a few miles of rock and land and spotted a town in the distance screaming out the window “Iv’e found civilization!”

As I got closer I realized that the only retail store was a dollar store and the rest was residential, so I had to go into the next town in order to eat. I ate at one restaurant that I will never forget since the food made me sick and the service was terrible, but it was so ridiculous that I couldn’t help but laugh.

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“Seriously? This requires me to drive during my vacation?” I hear you saying. Hear me out. One of the best parts of the trip was driving to all of the locations. Since the land is a bit barren it was exciting to see that I was coming up to a new town, rock, or view that was different than the last. There are also a few places where you can pull off from the road to get some nice scenic views! Excuse the house fire!

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This is especially nice if you are driving through some of the parks where I witnessed ATV herding techniques, the infamous thumb sticking out once or twice, and a goat that ran down the side of a cliff only to stare at me in the middle of the road.

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Grab some snacks, water, roll those windows down, and blast some music on your road to adventure. If you have always wanted an excuse to blast outlaw country now would be the perfect time! Coming up with a playlist beforehand and bringing an AUX cord comes in handy, er I guess everyone uses Bluetooth now, right?

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One road led me a little farther into Utah and if it was earlier in the day I may have stayed a bit longer to do some tanning at Lone Rock Beach!

It’s weird (for me) going to a beach that isn’t on a coast, but I was not disappointed! The parking should have been $10 for the car for the day but there wasn’t anyone at the post so I kind of just drove past…It’s fine! I only stayed for about 20 minutes! $10 all day isn’t bad considering metered parking on some Atlantic beaches can get expensive.

It’s called Lone Rock for, well, the singular rock that juts out of Wahweap lake. Like who put that giant pillar in the middle of a lake? Probably aliens right? Well if they did it’s pretty cool!!

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After the road disappears and stopping by the toll booth you have to off road a bit to get to the lake, but there are “pathways” that can be followed. It is also a campground so you may even see a long line of RV’s even before you come close to the beach. What is cool is that you don’t even need a reservation to camp and there are even toilets on site!

Although there are trees and deer at my next stop it was unlike any place I have ever been to, and a place where I would love to go back, Zion National Park!

Zion has to be one of the coolest places I have ever been. There are so many different hiking trails all around the park that it was hard to pick which one! At the visitor center I recommend picking up a map as well as figuring out where you would like the bus to drop you off! Make sure to tell the bus driver where you would like to stop, the guy missed my stop and I had to backtrack!

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All the trails are rated in how long they are and how difficult, some being easier than others. I did the Kayenta Trail where I got an awesome view of the valley as it led to other smaller trails as well.

Do not underestimate the trails, it is best practice to double the amount of time stated if you are unfamiliar with the trail. Also remember that some of these trails can be life threatening and dangerous, so please be safe! One day I will make it back and hopefully take a lot more pictures!

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Sláinte!

-K

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