Southern Utah & Boulder

I haven’t given an update in a few days because I’ve been pretty much going nonstop. It’s been a pretty amazing few days.

So, the last time I posted I was still in Salt Lake City. The next day, June 5th I believe, I set off for Canyonlands national park. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but it was incredibly beautiful. I did several small hikes, all of which were incredible. I was in the northern most district of Canyonlands, Island in the Sky.

image

image

Upheaval Dome.

image

 

Initially I had planned to do some more intensive hiking in the national parks, but after the hard hike I did Saturday I just wasn’t up for too much more than a couple 1-2 mile hikes. After spending the majority of the day running around Canyonlands, I decided to drive about 15 minutes up to Arches National Park. Although Canyonlands was beautiful, I actually thought Arches was considerably cooler.

imageimage

Unfortunately, after about 2 hours of walking around arches, I started getting a really bad headache and feeling really nauseous. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I decided to head out as I still had to find a place to sleep for that night. It got even worse in the car, and after a few minutes I realized I might be dehydrated and too hot, give that it was 97 degrees and I don’t handle heat well. After a lot of air conditioning and water, I started to feel better. It definitely made me more aware of how easy it is to get dehydrated and too hot out in the desert.

June 6th, I headed to Boulder , CO. I took a meandering route because I wanted to look around Aspen and drive Independence Pass. The Rocky Mountains were so beautiful. I got up to 12,000+ feet, well above the tree line. Up there, there was still 3+ feet of snow, which was awesome. I made the very poor decision to try and climb up part of a mountain for a better view…in three feet of snow…in Birkenstocks. Not my brightest moment. I ended up with very cold feet.

imageimage

image

On top of independence pass.

I arrived in Boulder in the early evening. I stayed with one of my friends from childhood, Grace. We were best friends when we were younger, but we haven’t seen each other in years. I was nervous, just because it has been so long, but it ended up working out wonderfully. We have always been really goofy when we get together, and this was no different. There were many laugh until you cry moments, lots of catching up on life, and reminiscing on the weird stuff we did as kids. It was a lot of fun.

June 7th, we spent some time wandering around downtown Boulder, having breakfast at an adorable little Cajun-influenced breakfast spot called Lucile’s, and then going on  a hike. The hike we did was about 5 miles long, up in the flat iron mountains surrounding Boulder. The wild flowers were out in full force, and it was a beautiful walk. Plus, even though I didn’t get any pictures of them, we saw two bears! It’s been a while since I’ve seen a bear, so that was pretty exciting. 

imageimage

Today is my last full day in Colorado. I’ll be staying in Denver tonight, and then heading North from here tomorrow. It’s starting to feel like I don’t have a ton of this trip left, which is very sad. Trying to focus on continuing to explore instead of jumping too fast into the future.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Hikin’ gal

Today’s adventure was a hike up to the top of Mount Olympus, Utah. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it ended up being an incredibly challenging hike. It was around 7.5 miles, which isn’t too bad, but over the course of the way up, I climbed 5,000 feet. It felt a lot more like walking up stairs, except there were no stairs. And it was 90 degrees. And I ran out of water. It was hard. There were a couple times I thought about not finishing the hike, but I am glad that I stuck it out. Now that I got the whining out of the way, I can focus on the good parts.

The hike was so beautiful. Their were some views of the Salt Lake City valley and the Great Salt Lake on the way up, but then at the top it was the views of the other mountains that really were my favorite. I also got to climb some rocks on the way up- including one that was a straight drop on the other side. I am afraid of heights, and was shaking the whole time, but I managed to pull it off.

Some pictures are in order, I think.

imageimageimage

SF–>SLC

The drive from San Francisco to Salt Lake City was an interesting one. It took 3 days, although I did a lot of meandering along the way.

As I said in my previous post, leaving San Francisco was kind of sad. But knowing there are other places to see makes it a little less depressing. From San Francisco, I headed to Lake Tahoe, making a couple stops along the way. First, I stopped in Davis, CA. Davis was a cute little town – it actually felt more Midwestern than west-coast o me, but it felt homey and familiar, even though I have never been before. The people also seemed friendlier than most places.

next stop was Sacramento. I walked around the Old Sacramento area, which felt very old-west to me. It definitely felt a little touristy also, but the architecture and the feeling that a cowboy might gallop past at any second made it worth it.

From Sacramento, I went pretty much straight to South Tahoe from there. The drive itself was beautiful, and Tahoe didn’t disappoint.  It’s not the ocean, but it definitely rivaled Big Sur. I spent the afternoon doing some light hiking, attempting to swim and then freezing in Lake Tahoe, and climbing around on/around a waterfall.

image

Lake Tahoe.

image

You just can’t beat that view.

image

For someone who is terrified of heights, this was a big accomplishment

image

The waterfall was too tall/big to get the whole thing in the picture. 

I was intending to camp in Tahoe, but I wasn’t really feeling it. I felt weirdly anxious and a little restless, so I just decided to do part of the drive to Salt Lake that night. During the drive, I passed through Reno. Even though it was midnight, i decided to stop and poke around a little. I did a little bit of walking around the Downtown area, but after a somewhat scary experience being followed, I decided to get outta there. The city itself was just a weird feeling place. I have a short little poem I will share about it in a separate post.

The next day (yesterday) I did some exploring around Nevada. I drove up to Black Rock Desert and did some cruising. It was a beautiful area- unbelievably empty. I saw crickets the size of my hand, two cows, many small rodents, a group of what appeared to be wild horses, an antelope, and zero people during my ~5 hours in the area. I have never experienced that level of emptiness before, which was cool.

image

Lonely cow.

image

The “road,” and this was one of the most well-cared for areas

image

I had dinner in Elko, Nevada before finding a place to sleep about 2 hours out of Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, today I woke up with a completely flat tire. Despite my car doing really well with yesterday’s off roading experience, my tires were not quite so lucky. Luckily, there was a gas station with a mechanic/tires close by, so I got it sorted out relatively easily, all things considered. I drove my car like it was s baby all the way to Salt Lake City, but everything seems to be in order.

I stopped outside of SLC to check out the Bonneville Salt Flats.  They were unbelievably flat. And white. it was so flat and white and hot that it almost made your eyes not quite see things correctly, especially things in the distance.

imageimage