Travel | Canyonlands National Park, Utah
I woke up suddenly when my brother pulled over to take a picture of the 'Welcome to Utah' sign. We had been driving for who knows how many hours after leaving Santa Fe. The Visitor Center at the Canyonlands was adorable. Cozy with tons of maps, attire, stickers & a table planted enough to the middle to showcase the park miniature sized. I could tell my brother was excited because he kept showing me the different locations & where we were going. I was too sleepy & didn't know what the hell he was talking about at first, but I was curious. So I continued to ask questions & of course, he answered. Guhbaby (Sisybae's cousin Yoli) bought me a National Park's Passport (THANK YOU!) per my brother's instructions. I felt like I was 5 & the excitement continued to build up as we purchased our stickers & learned how to properly decorate our passports. We were then off to find camping ground (which were actually full) & prepare for what will be known as the longest & "hardest" hike of our trip.
We parked at the top of a tiny canyon at the end of the road. I really should've taken more pictures at this park now that I think of it... as I am writing this. We should've caught two red flgs before we left; we were short on water & lost our sunscreen. But what the heck? We are pumped! We are young! THIS is what we came for so WHY NOT just go for it! We were excited & as we started descending & climbing up the huge rocks, there was no way anyone was going to tell us otherwise. We didn't have breakfast that morning & no snacks could be found in our bags,we'd left them in the car. Halfway through the canyons, we took a wrong turn & continued walking & climbing up & down rocks towards our final destination. the Confluence overlook. Our water was almost out, but we agreed to continue anyways, More selfies, random yoga poses & stories were shared to make time go by a little faster. We bumped into several hikers along the way who all told us "Oh, you're just 3 more miles away", every time. It became a joke eventually, but at first, we were like "Wait.. what?" After what felt like forever, we made it. That last climb... that view. We were all speechless for about 15 minutes. We threw our bags off our backs, sat on the ground & took all of what the Green River & Colorado River had to offer. The breeze felt incredible & the sky was so blue & clear the canyons look like perfectly created paintings. We relaxed for a few before heading back & took our first group picture. I was so proud of us. YAY!!
Utah's 'Life Elevated' slogan is as honest as its going to get. We were not prepared at all for what was yet to come. No one had water to walk back the remaining miles & hours ahead of us. No food to keep us going. We had about three and a half hours to go & believe me, all that walking, climbing, jumping.. it gets to you. The sun was slowly finding its way down & we were worried to walk back without daylight. We had two small flashlights that probably wouldn't be enough light to illuminate our path through the now enormous looking canyons. My brother & Sisybae, being in better shape, lead the way & tried keeping us from staying too behind. I kept telling myself "we will be ok" "we will make it" "DAMNIT I DON'T NEED WATER". HAH! My body slowly started shutting down & it was when Guhbaby laid on the ground & didn't want to get up when I really started to freak. Are we ever going to get out of this!??! The beauty of it turned into a neon orange nightmare. We followed a Jeep path thinking it would be faster & would lead us to our car. Not sure if it was actually faster but we found a few Needles that looked familiar. So we deviated & found our original path. I could hear my brother echoing our call to make sure we were alive behind him. And then, there was the car. I couldn't see it but my brother & Sisybae kept hollering that it was close. I couldn't feel my legs & that disgusting taste in my mouth was killing me. I remember telling Rob I couldn't climb any more rocks. He just kept telling us to keep going. I wanted to faint. One huge last push & an angel named Mo suddenly appeared sending a gentleman off to walk to the Grand Canyon from where we were located (ok, read that last part one more time!) From his truck he gave us water & shared his stories about the dessert & how long he's been hiking these canyons. All I wanted was to shower & eat. He directed us to the closest RV park that would let us shower & possibly spend the night. We thanked him, Him & the universe for sending Mo to us when we so desperately needed water. Help really. We drove off into the sunset after our convo, I almost killed a baby cow along the way (lol what?) to end up in the town of Moab. We slept in our van since all the campsites were closed & waited for sunrise. The hike, seven hours & twelve miles, what felt like a 'near death experience' was absolutely worth it. I'll never forget the feeling & the sight of the canyons. My heart jumps every time I think about that day. And to think that was the first park we went to during our trip. We had so much to go, but we felt excited, ready. So so ready.