Hot & tired I stop in the shade of an overhanging ledge and take a drink from my canteen. Resting, I listen to the deep dead stillness of the canyon. No wind or breeze, no birds, no running water, no sound of any kind but the stir of my own breathing. Alone in the silence, I understand for a moment the dread which many feel in the presence of primeval desert, the unconscious fear which compels them to tame, alter or destroy what they cannot understand, to reduce the wild and prehuman to human dimensions. Anything rather than confront directly the antehuman, that other world which frightens not through danger or hostility but in something far worse—its implacable indifference. // Edward Abbey Driving our way west through Colorado, I thought about the miles that were ahead of us for the long journey to the arid desert south of Moab. Southern Utah was uncharted territory for Zach and I, a place that until coming to Colorado I had scarcely considered adding to our long list of “must sees.” With the journey being less than 7 hours away, it seemed wasteful not to at least take a weekend to see what the fuss was all about. As the sun parted ways for the night, the mountains and enormous rock cliffs seemed to grow, the moon illuminating their scale and ambiguity. The last hour before arriving at our campsite was spent staring out into the night trying to grasp and visualize what was exactly outside the window – these massive crags that had no resemblance to the mountains I had come to be familiar with, jutted from the earth in every which way. It was almost like the night had transformed the world around us, as everything felt foreign and exotic in the moonlight. It made me anxious to see what this rugged rock jungle would look like come daybreak. That next morning didn’t disappoint as I woke surrounded by red earth, ruddy cliffs, and lush shrubs. The earth here felt so dry and dead, yet life seemed to still be abundant as small lizards scurried past and rabbits teased Toby on our hike that morning. Our campsite at Indian Creek is a popular destination for crack climbing so I spent my afternoon staring up into air, yelling words of affirmation at my husband as he attempted to handjam his way up a route. The views from the crag were breathtaking; the flat terrain flaked with towering flat cliffs and spiky peaks held no other sole for miles, blue sky met red earth, and it was dead silent except for the occasional grunts from our fellow climbers.Night came on fast and the cold set in. The elderly ladies camping near us kindly offered me a seat around their campfire and I soon fell into an easy conversation as guitars were strummed, folky voices filling the air, while the spunky one of the group twirled a hula hoop through the frigid air. I sat as close as possible to the fire and watched the colored lights on the hula hoop blend together. I thought about how this is what it’s like to relax, not have an agenda, shooting the shit with strangers and taking in the moment. I thought about how this is what I need to do more often, what I need to embrace. As the sun slowly came up that next morning, I eagerly woke up knowing today would be the day we’d explore renowned pieces of wilderness. If you ever get a chance to visit Canyonlands National Park and take the south entrance in, you will be floored how it creeps up on you out of nowhere. We ventured into the Needles district where rock spires and deep canyons stretched out in every which way. With the La Sal Mountains in the background, the scenery was staggering and almost impossible to take in. I almost felt bad for leaving so early as we had barely seen a quarter of the park, but I knew I’d want to spend the rest of our day in Arches. We took the opportunity to knock out our run through the park and I couldn’t have asked for a more stunning place to jog through. Heading up to the north side of the park through Devil’s Garden I kept asking Zach to stop so I could take pictures. The dramatic fin canyon, fragile arches, and fiery towers were mind blowing, yet these photos don’t do any of it justice. Years of wear and tear to get to this state made me wonder how this land will look thousands of years from now. Exhausted we started our drive back home. As i drifted in and out of sleep, my legs slightly twitched with fatigue and my face flushed from the heat. Good weekends do that to you and this was one helluva weekend.