Wednesday, April 24th – Thursday, April 25th, 2013
First thing in the morning, some hippy driving around in a van with his dog asked us to jump start his van for him. We didn’t want to since our van was older and already had enough problems, but we tried anyway. He then told us he had a bad alternator which meant his van was running completely off of our battery and wouldn’t fire back up on its own. So it was all just a huge waste of time and waste of our battery. He seemed annoyed as we wished him luck and carried on. I’m not really sure what else he expected us to do.
We took US 89 North into Utah. I was sad there wasn’t a visitor center, Trevor was not.
We drove through part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument which had some nice scenery, before arriving in Kanab, UT. We took the free tour offered at the “Little Hollywood Movie Set Museum” which housed a lot of movie sets and props. Kanab is the location of a lot of western films including, but not limited to:
- “The Outlaw Josey Wales” featuring Clint Eastwood
- Disney’s “One Little Indian”
- “The Lone Ranger”
- “The Attic Door”
- “Truth or Consequences New Mexico” featuring Keifer Sutherland
- “Black Bart”
- “Desperate Hours” featuring Mickey Rourke and Anthony Hopkins
We took Highway 9 to the east end of Zion National Park and drove through part of the park along the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway before reaching the visitor’s center. On the way there, you pass by massive peaks and drive through several tunnels. I had absolutely zero interest in visiting Zion (even less than the Grand Canyon), however, Zion would become one of my favorite national parks.
The campgrounds were full, but one of the rangers gave us a map of BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land where we could camp for free. We exited Zion into the town of Springdale, then got turned around trying to find camp and we were starting to get frustrated. We returned to Springdale to ask a gas station attendant for directions. The guy was very helpful and was kind enough to offer us his driveway if we weren’t able to find it by the day’s end.
We were successful in locating the BLM land, made some instant coffee, and watched cars struggle up the steep hill, a grade we didn’t even bother attempting, as the sun went down.
It was our first big day exploring Zion National Park, and after catching a glimpse of it, I was excited! We got started bright and early at 6 am and reserved a camp site inside the park at South Campground for 2 nights. We had a sweet view of both Watchman and Bridge Mountains from our site.
We took a power nap, then talked to our campground neighbor, Don who had a cat named Ashley who he let wander around on a leash outside (adorbs!) Then we met an annoying festival junkie who wandered into our site and climbed in our van uninvited. He asked us for some pot which we did not have, and if we were going to “Rainbow” (The “Rainbow Gatherings” which is a bohemian congregation of sorts that pops up at random locations around the country), which we were not. He would proceed to tell us how he takes advantage of the kindness of Mormons by asking them for stuff because according to him, they have to give him stuff if he asks, “because of their religion.” This guy was a complete twat.
We had a torn t-shirt on display inside our van that said “Marriage is So Gay” and he apparently was too stoned or stupid to understand what that meant. He was like, “Whoa, dude! That’s not cool!” I’m pretty sure he missed the point that it was a pro-gay marriage statement, but we didn’t really want him around anyway, so we let him interpret it as he wished.
This experience would be the origin of the term, “rainbow” to describe this category of person for us. Just to be clear, “rainbow” equals stupid, festival hippy garbage, not to be confused with the gay “rainbow” (ladies, gentlemen and everyone in between, you are all are cool with me). We would later see his friends get popped for having hard liquor at their campsite (This is Utah, by the way! It’s a dry state). Most people in this world are good people who mean well, this guy was not one of them.
We took a short hike along the Archeology Trail which turned out to be boring, then we found some enjoyment on the Watchman Trail, which was short, but sweet. I was really enjoying myself outside. The trees smelled like perfume, and there were hummingbirds, lizards and pretty flowers galore.
After our hike, we decided to check out the shops in Springdale. We got groceries at Sol Foods Market (which had an awesome salad bar), failed to locate bear mace (which we would be needing once we got further north), went to a crystal shop which had a weird, whimsical woman working there who talked as you would imagine a unicorn might sound (if they were real and could talk), and we dropped by the outfitter before returning to camp and making dinner.
We decided to go for one more hike before the day ended, and strolled along the Pa’rus Trail. One of the trees we walked by smelled like grape cough syrup, there were tiny plants that looked like they were growing mini-heirloom tomatoes, and Trevor had a “Battle of the Stink” with a beetle that leaned over to challenge him. The beetle then rolled over onto its back in defeat.
Jump Back to Part 19: Spilled Soda, Shutterbugs & Canyons