Saturday, April 29, 2017: After three days of being relatively off the grid, I’m finally trying to wrap my brain around what all we have done.
Following our adventures in Arches National Park on Friday, we took on Canyonlands National Park. Our immediate goal was to visit Mesa Arch, but as soon as we entered the park, Nathan and I both agreed that we did not set aside enough time to explore the park.
Mesa Arch was an easy hike that still managed to lead us to a notable arch that framed an incredible canyon view.
We continued to drive around and explore the park’s views, the Grand View in particular. There wasn’t a bad view in the park. Arches and Canyonlands took my expectations shot them into the sky like fireworks. I expected to enjoy the parks, but the hikes combined with the gorgeous surroundings completely blew me away.
Alas, we had to leave Canyonlands around 2:30pm to get to Monument Valley in time to set up camp for the night. That’s right. Camp. I camped. Outside. In a tent. In the cold.
Forrest Gump stopped running right before he would have reached Monument Valley, but we charged forward.
The View Campgrounds overlook the West and East Mitten Butte Monuments and the Merrick Butte Monument. The sun set behind us casting a reddish glow over the monuments, and once the sun disappeared, the stars put on a show. Monument Valley is a Navajo Nation Tribal Park and is located far from any light and noise pollution. Because of this, the stars were the brightest I’ve ever seen them and the atmosphere was extremely quite. Even the other campers were whispering to one another and were asleep in their tents before 10pm.
We stayed up and watched the stars. But when we finally called it a night, the temperature had dropped to freezing, and my motivation to camp had dropped a bit as well.
I had never camped in a tent before, and my first experience was at Monument Valley. It kind of blows my mind that I was able to do that and make it through the night. I was nervous, excited, cold, very cold, freezing, and unsure about what I needed to do. I ended up sleeping in about three layers of cloths, including a sweater, a jacket, a coat, two pairs of pants, wool socks, gloves, and a hat. Yes, I slept in a hat. One would think a flannel sleeping bag plus my layers of cloths would warm me up, but no. I was cold all night. And I was also woken by what I assume were raccoons trying to break into the tent. Needless to say, I slept a total of three hours. The end.