In and out of Utah, anyway. We have spent crossing the border almost on a daily basis. First stop Bluff where we have spent the night in the most unremarkable campground ever. At least I think it was Bluff. It was the end to that day when Jupiter rolled down from Ouray Colorado and across the border.
From Bluff the next reasonable stop seemed to be The Monument Valley, unexpectedly we have run into a couple very picturesque trading posts at Twin Rocks and whizzed through and past some oil fields. The wells look like a steampunk reincarnation of ancient dinosaurs. What I liked is that I could walk right up to these machines. And I mean up close. Only a small sign would inform that I was about to trespass beyond this point. But the machinery just moved slowly, silently and with a grace of a long extinct species. Fascinating... Hardly, right?! No, I mean it. This is oil industry like I've never seen it before. Usually I just get the toxic fumes. By late afternoon we were by the entrance to the Monument Valley National Park. Funny thing is that while the entrance gate and access road are in Utah, the park itself is in Arizona. And so it happened, that we have camped right under the famous monuments. The ones you may know from the western movies of legendary John Ford. It is a funny feeling to be in a set from a favourite childhood movie... It was like John Wayne would ride into a sunset somewhere in the distance. Or I could almost smell the beans that Bud Spencer and Terence Hill would prepare for their breakfast. Unfortunately as we have learned by now, it's a just a lot of 4x4's and the unsettling dust behind the constant trickle of the tourists like us. It is quite obvious why everyone had to see this landscape with their own eyes. Next up was a short ride to Bryce Canyon. Yet another monumental landscape to which dominate red, this time needle like sand-rock structures, that have been eroded to the landscape. Some of these 'needles' with remains of trees on top of them. Again very surreal. If it wasn't for the green pine trees I would say Martian like. Not that I've been to Mars. Yet... Quite a few very nice hikes around there (we're back in Bryce Canyon, try to keep up! Duh). We did spend a couple of nights and enjoyed many of the sights, some of the walks. There was one more stop in Utah that we have scheduled on recommendation from Linda, a girl from Seattle(?), whom we've met in Guilin, China. That last stop in Utah is a very much worthy Zion National Park. Again, nature, trees, rivers, views, natural monuments, waterfalls, but the most enjoyable and the one that sets it apart is the hike up a riverbed. Yepp. Basically you can hire waterproof shoes that might keep you dry and you set out for the good few hours long walk in water. Or you can just take your shoes off and go barefoot like we did. I admit that the two of us only went about 30 minutes up and turned back. Mainly for the reason if you're not cautious you may end up in a chest deep pit or even lose ground under your feet drawing all your kit. I've seen it happen to people walking just a few metres ahead of me. Naturally I've chosen to abandon the strangers and chose a different route...
Yepp, landscapes of Utah are also magnificent. And all those parks have so much to offer. You know, apart from fresh air and adventure. Past few days we have been spending in the wilderness while enjoying value of million star hotels in various national parks. But next... Vegas, Baby!