In March, Neil and I were fortunate to travel to Las Vegas to see his best friend get married. After witnessing a lovely ceremony and celebrating with a wild night out that included watching my husband win an air guitar contest (not exaggerating here…), we set out for southern Utah, my homeland.
I usually return home twice per year, but knowing that those visits will be fewer and farther between during the next few years made this trip all the more special. The first 22 years of my life were spent in Utah, and my roots there run many generations deep. Visits always feel like a bit of a whirlwind, and it’s impossible to see everyone that I love during each trip. I do my best. If I didn’t see you, know I love you and hope it will happen next time around (I will be coming at least one more time before our departure). If our schedules aligned, I am so glad they did. Mom, you are always the best part of every trip.
This was Neil’s fourth trip to Utah and the first that did not take place in the middle of winter. FINALLY, I got to introduce him to Zion National Park, one of the most incredible places on our planet! Shaped by millions of years of erosion and ongoing uplift of the Colorado Plateau region, Zion’s (pronounced by locals similarly to “lion” with a “z”, not like “lie on” with a “z”) is among Mother Nature’s masterpieces. Dramatic cliffs, picturesque and colorful, keep watch over sandy crevices and riverbeds. Determined plant life force through sandstone to find the sun and embellish the already beautiful landscape. It’s amazing! Weeks could be enjoyed in exploration. I highly recommend that you nature lovers add Zion’s to your bucket list.
The weather was perfect for a demanding hike – not too hot, not too cold, and the sunny sky was adorned with fluffy, cumulous clouds. Angel’s Landing is a spectacular hike that will take your breath away and leave your thighs burning. The hike is only about 5 miles but the trail climbs nearly 1,500 feet. The final 500 must be ascended with the aid of chains, and over 1,000-foot drop-offs to the canyon floors lurk below. It’s awe inspiring and exhilarating.
Living on the high seas is a far cry from the high desert where I was raised. The striking juxtaposition between the red sands of my southern Utah homeland and the lush greenery of the Pacific Northwest, where I now call home, makes me appreciate both all the more.
There were too many other highlights to describe, but I’d be remiss not to mention chasing goats, puzzle building, and playing monopoly with my 5- and 7-year-old nephews, who happen to be two of the coolest kids in the entire world!