The problem with every great trip is that it eventually comes to an end.
I woke early on Thursday morning, around 5:15am, about 45 minutes before our alarm was scheduled to go off. My mind instantly started racing with the events of the week, the video recording we’d done the previous night for the Indiegogo campaign, and everything that we had to do to take the week’s work and turn it into a final product that would make people as enthusiastic about this project as we are about it.
More on that later…
With my thoughts moving a mile a minute, it was inevitable that I couldn’t stay put. Unfortunately, my inflatable mattress is really good at insulation, but crinkles pretty loudly when I’m doing anything more than lying still. This is not a good recipe for sleep for anyone within a 15-foot radius. Cynthia got up a bit later, with a minimum of growling and threats of bodily harm.
We didn’t pack our gear so much as roll up our sleeping bags and mats and throw the rest into vague piles of “mine” and “yours” on the left and right side of the back of the vehicle. We hit the road on schedule, and watched the sun paint the surrounding mountains in golden hues.
It was a quiet drive between Bryce and Zion, as we were both tired and lost in our thoughts. Returning to the real world after a vacation is always disappointing, but this was different, because I’d finally gotten a taste of the sort of adventure I craved. On the flip side, there was a surge of hope, as I now knew exactly what it was I wanted to do for the foreseeable future.
As we approached Zion, we had a great “Holy crap, is that what I think it is?” moments. A pair of Bald Eagles were picking at roadkill, and we spooked them as we drove closer. I pulled the vehicle over and grabbed my telephoto lens to try to get a few photos. You know how they tell you that eagles can see the date on a dime from a mile away or something that sounds as insane as that? I have a lot less doubt about that idea now. The closest I could get to them was about 200 yards, if that.
I had the unsettling feeling that they recognized that I was pointing something at them (camera or gun, whatever, in their minds) and as soon as I did, they would take flight again.
Eventually, they settled in a pair of trees long enough for me to get a couple of shots at maximum range with less-than-perfect results.
Ah well. Next time. Talking to a ranger at the entrance to Zion, we found out that there are a number of mating pairs of Bald Eagles in the area, which was some good news for the day.
Because Bryce’s geology is so brittle, rock scrambling hadn’t been happening for Cynthia. So at the first opportunity inside Zion, we unmounted the GoPro from the Gorillapod on the dash, and strapped it onto her noggin before she headed for the hills. Literally.
Sticking to the lower “boulders” (the size of a small building) and hills, I shot a few photos before we packed up and hit the road again.
On the opposite side of the park, we reached the visitor center and watched as people dressed in spring/summer clothes were preparing to do a day’s hike. There was another group with full climbing gear getting ready to go up as well. As always, it was fun to see and chat with others out looking for adventure in the wilderness.
Once we’d left Zion and cruised through a variety of just-outside-the-park attractions, we found where we’d have breakfast:
A great little diner, the photo says it all. Bright and comfortable with a variety of tasty food. We sat on the open-air patio, which had a great view of the mountains behind the restaurant, and allowed us to bask in the sun and enjoy the warm desert breezes.
Fresh salsa and chile verde made that morning just made it that much better.
You’ll have to look at Cynthia’s post to see what she got. 🙂
Once again, good conversation was had with the friendly staff, but the clock was ticking, and we knew it might be close getting back to Vegas in time.
Fortunately, we made good time to Las Vegas, because as it turned out, once we’d repacked our gear to be flight-friendly, and dropped off the rental car, we got Cynthia to her gate just as her plane had started boarding.
But hey, that just means we maximized our time spent outside of airports. I’ll call it a win.
I watched her get on the plane and then headed off to one of the airport restaurants to grab some food and wait for my flight.
As I sat there, eating and going through photos on the laptop, I found myself anxious to be home. Not because I was ready for this adventure to be over, but ready to begin a new one.