I’m camped at Zion National Park, Utah right now. It is May 4th, 2014. It’s been nice not blogging every night, though I have been keeping up with the tumblr and instagram accounts, so I’m still reporting my goings ons. It’s just easier to do from the phone. The blog. This blog. It takes a lot of writing, which isn’t easy when…hold on. I’m going to try something. I could install a blogger ap onto my phone, so that I could save posts on my computer, but then I realized for me to do that, I’d already have to be hooked up to WiFi in which case I’d just post from the computer.
Where was I? Oh yes. My lack of writing here. I’ve been keeping my written travel journal, so I’m not without record. I’m just writing in the journal I started in 2011 when Ma, Pa, and I went to Utah. So when (if) I finish it up, I’ll start a new journal. That way I am keeping with format. I have a bajillion other style of journals and sketchbooks packed. I’ve done a few drawings in one, but I am very much underusing the supplies I have on hand. Tomorrow is devoted to hiking and drawing, provided I get a camping spot. If I don’t get a camping spot…. Well I’ll figure that out later. I wanted to just pitch up a tent, spread out my stuff, and keep it like that for a few days. But that didn’t happen. So tomorrow I’ll try to find a first come first served spot in the South Campground. Fingers crossed!
I guess now is when I pick up where I left off: in a coffee shop in Los Angeles. Courtney let me crash at her place (well her parents) and that was nice. Got in a shower, and we ate tacos and watched TV. I was up early and out the door (I said a goodbye, I didn’t ditch her). The ghost town closed at 5, and I wanted to get there relatively early. There was about three hours between me and there, so off I went! I stopped in Barstow for fast food breakfast, and away I continued. It was a very not pleasant 90-100 degrees. I’ve been applying sun block and I’m not burnt (yet).
Calico Ghost Town…I could have arrived later. I think I was expecting more hikes or lengthier things to do. But also I guess I planned to allow myself time to draw, but it was ridiculously hot. Just 100 degrees and hot and the only A/C was in the shops and I didn’t want to buy anything. I did do a landscape drawing. Just one though. I need to be drawing more! I feel like I’m not. But I’m also just starting…I’ve got a long ways to go.
Anyway. I did the gold panning/mystery shack/mine tour trifecta. All were neat, but nothing too exciting. I think I just wanted more from the ghost town. I filled up my tank in Barstow, and headed to Las Vegas. That straight line across the desert to Las Vegas. That hot, continuous, hours of driving line. I kept hydrated. I didn’t push the A/C too much as to avoid overheating (I saw a sign saying to turn it off to avoid overheating, and I went by many parked cars with their hoods up). I listened to podcasts, drank water, poured the ice water out of my cooler, and pushed onwards. I stopped in Las Vegas for a pee break and ended up getting Subway because I hadn’t eaten much that day. I GPSed Valley of Fire State Park and off I went. I cruised through the rest of Las Vegas as the sun was setting and dang it was beautiful. Then the landscape became engulfed in dark. I pushed forward, and despite it not being late, I didn’t have much company on the road. I turned off towards the State Park. I began to dread a sign informing me the camp ground was full. I drove on and on. No sign appeared, but drivers came from the other direction. Oh no, was it full and they were turning around?
I arrived at the entrance and no sign informed me of it being full, so I grabbed a pay stub and headed in. I pulled into the first campground loop and grew anxious when spot after spot revealed no car but a tent staking claim. Then THEN campsite 19! Nothing was there to indicate someone wanted to be there, so I drove right in and plopped down my cooler. MINE! I went to pay, set my stub in the window, and set about getting my tent erected.
I had to clutch the flashlight in my mouth, but it went up all right. Tent spikes make everything much easier. All by myself! In the dark! And my first time with this tent (Dad helped last time and there were no tent spikes). I put my bedding in. I brushed my teeth. I got my jammies on and then I got comfy! And I read for a while.
Sleep was not easy, as it was VERY windy. Tents & wind = noisy. And it was windy all night long. I took the top cover off, and that helped, because the wind kept pulling it up and all around. Still, not the best night sleep.
I was up early and loved all the rocks that I could now see in daylight. Red formations, very familiar due to previous Utah trips. The bulbous formations. I took my time. I showered (free shower!). I nibbled some cheerios and drew and worked on my journal. I drove around the park a bit, and swung by the visitors center to see if they had any stamps (they did!) and then off I went to Zion. It was an easy drive. 2 hours? Cutting across Arizona on the 15 was nice. It took me through mountains and everything wound this way and that. I got some groceries in Utah, and then I continued on to Zion. Well actually I went to Kolob Canyons…because my GPS took me there. I didn’t look close enough at the map. So I back tracked. The Watchman Campground is reservation only, but there was a group site that the people didn’t confirm on or something, so I am now located on it with three other people: Kyle & Ron, and this other guy I haven’t properly met. And tomorrow I’ll have to get up early and pack up and hope I can score a spot in the first come first served camp ground. But if I can, I’ll just put in my tent and pack out some stuff, and then I won’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day. So here’s hoping! I don’t want to cut my time in Zion short.
I’m in a coffee shop in Springdale, trying to connect to their wifi. I bought an iced mocha. I think this is my “coffee drink” now.
So Rob (not Ron) and Kyle made this hearty stew for dinner, and they shared with me! They were very good company for the night. We chatted about James Clavell novels, movies, and travel. They are sort of my travel opposites. Lots of Midwest, not a lot abroad. We had a plan to share a camping spot in South Campground, if we could find one. Just to make it easier. Had to get up early to nab a spot, but as I’ve now lost an hour due to time zone change (or gained? Oh wait it’s gained, I’m behind an hour). Anyway. Yeah. We sat around the campfire and there was a group of Western University Geology students in another group site, but they went quiet when it got late. I slept very well, and when my alarm went off I did not want to get up and pack. But I did. Kyle and Rob left before me, and I packed haphazardly.
I headed to the south Zion campground, which did not have a “full” sign, and looped around looking for Kyle and Rob, but I could not locate them (also the loops are totally stupid, and you have to start at the start after one loop). BUT I did find the walk in tent sites, and they were open, so I grabbed one, set up my tent, and paid for two nights! Two nights in Zion! So now I get two full days to explore and hike, and a third day to do whatever.
And I was able to unpack my car a little into my tent, so now I don’t have to deal with all my stuff. I can just enjoy the park. And I don’t have to get gas or anything. And I have food. Just gotta throw myself at hiking and art making.
Okay I’ve obviously NOT found wifi. Argh. It’s all password protected and the coffee shops are closed and I don’t want to buy more treats.
Anyway. I drove up the scenic route, which went through the tunnel. This park lacks loops. Lots of go up and then go back down. The loop was nice. And the weather isn’t scorching hot! And the breezes come through at just the right time. Everywhere I look, I see lovely rock formations. It’s a really great place to be. I parked at my camp site designated parking spot and packed my backpack up with art making supplies and food: granola bars, baby carrots, celery, an apple. Good healthy eating! Of course I also ate some candy, but hey. I’ll burn off those calories post haste!
Today I set out to hike the emerald pools trails. There are lower pools (easy) middle (medium) and upper pools (difficult). I did them all. Though difficult just meant lots and lots of rock stairs for about a mile. Nothing I can’t handle. I did draw. And I got ink all over my hands in doing so. I think I’ll forgo ink for a while and stick to watercolor and pen. Hard not to look dodgy with ink staining your fingers.
At the upper pools, a squirrel stole my apple core! The cheeky bugger. I didn’t mean to feed the wildlife, but it took it upon itself to get fed.
I hiked the route back, oh I forgot to mention I went to the museum and saw the informational video. I took the shuttle, which is a smart thing to have in a park: just shuttle everyone up and down and there will be no congestion! I took the shuttle to the Emerald Pools/Lodge stop and got some ice cream and ate that while reading a bit of Where’d You Go Bernadette, and I got another crusher penny. Then I set out to the Emerald Pools hike. Anyway, returning from the hike, I took the route which dropped me off at the Grotto stop. Three signs on the trail said “The Grotto à .8 mile” Okay, a destination can’t be point eight of a mile away multiple times. Either way, I was proper pooped by the time I got on the shuttle back to the visitor’s center. I walked back to my campsite while eating the rest of my food. I tried to find wifi but thus far I have failed. You’ll just have to wait.
And follow my posts on Instagram (@totallytrillian) and Tumblr (travelswithtrillian). There’ve been plenty of those. It’s easier to post to those than it is to my blog.
At the market in Springdale, they had the wifi symbol, so after I bought an LED lantern and some gummi cola, I asked for the password. AND NOW I’M CONNECTED! So I’m going to do some internet things, then go back to my tent and crash.