From Moab, we made a quick stop in Grand Junction Colorado to drop Scott off at the airport, and then continued on headed toward Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. The road to Zion is beautiful and takes you along beautiful parts of Utah where the desert gives way to the forrest, and then turns into desert once more. We happened to roll through the Escalante National Monument area whilst the Aspen where dressed in booming yellow fall colors — a gorgeous sight.
Chris and I spent a rainy night in Bryce Canyon, but were rewarded with sunshine the next morning. We proceeded to walk down into the canyon along the Queen’s Garden trail — an easy path with quite a few hikers on it, but we found it well worth our while. Bryce Canyon is so unique, there really isn’t a bad photo to take. In just about any light condition the colors really pop. I tried to shoot some lightning at sunset, but alas, that is a tough proposition and I did not get a capture. I found it a fun activity though much akin to fishing, and I will try again in the future.
On we rolled to Zion National Park, where the rain let up initially, and we enjoyed a sunset hike to Angel’s Landing — a somewhat perilous hike with rewarding views looking down the majestic Zion Valley. The park’s names nearly all are biblical and Mormon references, and that seemed apropos as the place feels heavenly. The following day we had several options on the table, but Chris had a hankering to hike The Narrows — a famous slot canyon hike popular in summer (it was now fall), and I was certainly interested in checking it out as well. To tackle the hike, we were recommended to rent drysuits and some special canyoneering boots, as most of the hike is spent wading through the river that formed the slot canyon. The only hitch in our plan was that there was rain in the forecast for the afternoon, and flash floods are a real threat in slot canyons. The lovely girl at the shop assured us we would be fine as long as we got out of the canyon by 1pm. That seemed doable enough, so of we went. The hike was marvelous,and very unique. The dry suits turned out to be a smart decision, particularly in case something were to go wrong, and we were forced to spend some extended time in the canyon. All turned out fine even though the rain did show up creating a dozen waterfalls on our way out of the canyon. By the time we were covering the final quarter mile or so, the water level had risen noticeable and we had to swim some parts we walked before. I can imagine if we had stayed in much longer things might had gotten sporty.
When you’re cruising through the desert, you come across some interesting pieces of Americana — Ghost towns, lone structures in the middle of nowhere. They seem kinda creepy at times — cars parked, but no one around — gently bubbling meth labs, but no cooks in the kitchen…
This trailer reminded me of the one in Kill Bill 2 where Uma and Daryl Hannah duke it out, until someone loses an eye.
So, basically, the original motivation for getting the bus was to go explore southern Utah and environs with the underlying ambition to eventually take the bus to Baja for kitexplorations. It took a while to get there, but at the beginning of October I finally made it to the colorful south of Utah. The area holds a slew of national parks, national monuments, and various other classifications protecting this incredibly interesting and geographically varied part of the US.
My friends Chris and Scott joined me for this part of the trip, and we picked the city of Moab as our base of operations, planning on visiting Arches NP, Dead Horse Pt. SP, and whatever else we had time for before we had to drop Scott back at the Grand Junction airport. We ended up having a blast in this veritable outdoor playground. We hiked up to Delicate Arch, got lost in the Fiery Furnace, and engaged in various other adventures in Arches. Outside the park we amused ourselves with stand up paddling the Colorado River (even some Class .5 rapids), and mountain biking the fabled Slickrock trail above Moab — a global classic in mtb trails. We managed to finish all these treacherous feats without personal injury or loss of limb though I’m afraid my rear wheel will never quite be true again…If you go to rent a bike for Slickrock, I would recommend a full-suspension bike with 26″ wheels — not a 29’er hardtail, but anyways.
Having these guys on board was the a great testament to German RV design, as we camped for five days with three adult males fitting inside a 34 year-old, 15 ft vehicle. I think everybody was comfortable (especially me in the penthouse) though longer than this would become a challenge. We had a fantastic time all together, and I was excited to share some of the kitebus chronicles with my friends.
Here’s a video of Chris showing us the ropes on Slickrock: