Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The sort of camping that only happens in dreams

We hiked Bryce Canyon. That was super awesome. Hiking Bryce is fun because the whole time you're walking along you can make out shapes in the hoodoos. Hoodoos, for those who don't know, are: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoodoo_%28geology%29 .

Hey that one is called Thor's hammer! That one looks like snoopy! - Jesse. Hey look it's George Washington's head! - Mikey G... and so on.

We only did a moderate loop. The boys biked the first half of the day and they I drove over and caught up with them, so we only had a few hours to hike. We initially wanted to hike the Navajo loop, but that was closed due to rock slide, so we were diverted to the Queen's Garden loop. This was very pretty and very neat and also a very easy loop. We stopped and took a ton of pictures (no one was killed or harmed in the taking of the pictures) and still made it back within two hours.

This is definitely very different from the Grand Canyon experience. I've never done a little loop before. I hadn't even really gone camping before. I suppose this requires explanation. I was in girl scouts and we went "camping" in cabins. Then I went to a campground and had camp food and watched a meteor shower before driving home without sleeping because I had work at 8 am.

Basically before I picked up and went to the Grand Canyon I hadn't been backpacking or camping before. It turns out that I really like camping, which is good to know considering I had better like it on such a long trip.

So this trip I am doing the two and a half month camping trip thing. Basically, I only do long epic camping trips rather than little weekend ones. When I get home I should try out camping for funsies in local forests, like normal people.

Anyway, when you get to the bottom of the loop there are a ton of rock piles from people who have been there before. They're stacked on boulders and trees and the ground and between things. We took video and will post when able.

Well we got out of Bryce and the guys biked the last few miles to Tropica, Utah. Yes there is actually a place called Tropica, Utah. No, it is not Tropical. Jesse had run into a cyclist that owns an inn in Tropica and he let us pitch our tents out in back of his inn.

It was so completely windy. I woke up from a dead sleep and shot into the air grabbing the top of my tent like I thought I was being blown away. Then I blearily looked around and fell back down into a sleep. I rarely wake up once I'm asleep. I'm a champion sleeper. In fact, I come from a long line of champion sleepers. We are so good we should win awards.

The next morning, the boys set out and I set off to find a shower. This was no longer an option. Being in wretched condition is all well and good when you are hiking in back country for a week, but when you are camping outside of towns and then going into them and sitting next to people there is a limit of not showering.

I went to one of the RV campgrounds and bought a 5 dollar shower. Five dollars for as long as I wanted, which translated into a half an hour shower. Money well spent. It was glorious. Each shower on this trip is better than the last. Funnily enough, each bed is more comfy than the last.

I sat in a restaurant and wrote in my notebook, where I'm keeping track of where I've been and who I've met. This little girl kept walking real close to the table and turning around and running back to her seat. Her grandmother finally told me that she's fascinated by journals and keeps a dream journal. It was rather cute. I let her take a look. She looked for two seconds and ran off again.

While I was writing one of the employees at the place was sweeping the floor next to me and told me to put him into my book. His name was Clark, so here he is making an appearance in the closest thing to a book that I'll probably ever write.

When I got to where we were going, after Boulder, UT and up a mountain, I ran into Jesse halfway. He got in the car because his knees were killing him. We passed Mike and he hollered, 'The thing is open!' What thing? The thing on top the car with all our camp gear in it. All of Jesse's stuff had fallen out; we had forgotten it was open this morning when everyone left.

We get to the top of the mountain and run into Pacella and another cyclist. The other cyclist was traveling with his bike full loaded and was heading towards maybe the Great Lakes. He's done college except for his senior project. He just has to write a novel.

We unloaded everything we needed and Jesse took the car back on a search for the missing things. There is no way to find them, it was all sharp turns and cliffs and sheer drops. Not to make the parents worried...

I walked over to the edge and wow. Oh wow. over 9000 ft up and you can see for miles and miles where we'll be heading. We pitched our tents next a bit back in a meadow next to an aspen grove. It was so incredibly beautiful.

It was perfect out. We made some rice and tuna and pb&j sandwiches and shared them with our new friend. Mike German rolled in and has apparently met his match in the other cyclist. We didn't think it was possible. The world is probably imploding as we speak.

Went to sleep and it stayed perfect. I can't even describe waking up on top of a mountain, in a meadow next to an aspen grove with a perfect view. It's just... perfection. It's like the camping people dream about having and never get. The fairy tale camping that shouldn't exist. But it does and it did and we experienced it. I highly recommend coming to Utah. It's beautiful.

Signed from a dream,
Shelly Kessler, Future camping extraordinaire