Yesterday I mentioned my travel philosophy is about mindfulness while exploring new cultures and places. Dwight is just as passionate about travel as I am, but has a different approach. His perfect day would begin before 6am and end after 8pm with food mixed in the day. He would see as much as possible – preferably on foot hiking through the bush. He is fun to travel with! Sometimes I have to ask him to reassess his plans for the day because I don’t want to get home and need a holiday.
Nevertheless we have learned to love and respect each other’s way of traveling. We have both travelled internationally solo and are comfortable on our own, but we truly enjoy traveling together – especially road tripping.
We spent the morning together finishing up the debrief for the Bryce Canyon 50K race from last weekend. Dwight will share his race report this weekend – We came out of the weekend with a great deal of lessons learned. Dwight always finds the best restaurants and local hangouts when we travel and this morning was no exception.
He took us to Oscar’s Café – a small local southwestern food restaurant with a walled courtyard. We sat outside as it was beautiful and we had some work to do on the debrief. We worked while we waited for our food – the best heuvos rancheros I’ve had in a long time and a Horseshoe breakfast for Dwight. They had gluten free verde chile sauce which is pretty uncommon in this part of the world.
It was nice to have a leisurely morning – I was trying to avoid too much sun as it was already well over 100 by 9am. We decided to drive north and visit Kalob Plateau, which is in the northern part of Zion National park – so much is made of Zion Canyon, its famous landmarks and its beauty, but Zion National Park is so much more and the reality is that very little of the park is accessible without some serious backcountry hiking.
As we ascended up to 8000ft the temperature dropped from over 100 F to around 80F. It was a much needed relief and I was glad Dwight wasn’t hiking in the over 100 degree heat. We had decided to turnaround at Lava Point, but when we got up there and realised the reservoir was only about 3 miles ahead we took the opportunity to explore a little more. The water stretched out like glass. The kayaks and canoes on the surface were joined only by Ducks. The sound of birds were the only sounds that punctuated the serene scene.
Lava point and its lookout were an unexpected treat. Strangely, it put the grandeur of Zion Canyon in context and reaffirmed just how small each individual human being is in this landscape.
What I haven’t mentioned is that even though Dwight is the one that ran a 50k the other day, with all of the steep climbs (include a 3 mile hike on sandy rocky terrain I didn’t plan for) I irritated an old leg injury (ironically originally sustained while hiking a scree in Wales) and so I’m not much good on uneven surfaces right now.
As I mentioned earlier, Dwight and I like to give each other room to explore in our ways, which means that sometimes we go and do our own thing when we are travelling for part of a day. It might be that I will go to see an exhibition or sleep in, and Dwight will get up early and run in the city we are in, or, like today, hiking The Narrows on his own. I would have been so disappointed if I had prevented him from doing a 6 mile hike like The Narrows.
As we look to start heading back to New Mexico tomorrow, I know that this hasn’t particularly felt like a break (or a vacation) for me. It has been enjoyable to see a new part of the USA with my best friend, to explore parts of the Golden Circle, like Horsehoe Bend, Bryce Canyon, Grand Escalante, and Zion National Park. We have scoped out some possible places to come back to explore, including Antelope Canyon, and Kalob Canyon.
Every time we come away with ideas for how to make our travels even more fun, efficient, and our car camping on point. I’ve learned a great deal about being a ultra marathon crew chief and I am looking forward to supporting Dwight and some of our friends even better in the future.
I’ve also realised, just as an aside, that this wasn’t a bad trial run for my American Identity Tour in terms of testing out some of my equipment for working on the road (or on the rails, as the case). Mostly, things worked well (I’ll explain in another article exactly what I’m using during my train journey), but I do need to investigate an alternative wifi – a different network to my cell phone – to increase the chance of coverage as I travel.
Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.
Traveler. Scholar. Photographer. Writer. Dreamer. Teacher.
Anna Rabe is a speaker, writer, and social entrepreneur. She is proudly Team Rabe. The American Identity Tour is a crazy adventure marked with photos and word and inspired by the incredible women in Anna’s family, especially her late grandmother, whom she knew as Nan-Nan. Anna is currently finishing her book, “Not a Pedestrian Life.”