A part of my heart will always belong to red rock country. Technically, I grew up in Brigham City, UT – a town most people have only driven past and where the school year can’t start until after the county fair. While the town and community obviously helped mold me into who I am, my soul will always claim the muddy waters of the Green River, the sagebrush strewn trails of the Wasatch front, and the red hoodoos of Southern Utah. A desert girl at heart, whenever my feet are on red dirt, I’m home.
I have always been fascinated by things that are green since they are rare to my natural habitat, but I remain fiercely loyal to the land I was raised on, loving anything that is dusty red. To borrow Edward Abbey’s words, “If we had water here this country would not be what it is. It would be like Ohio, wet and humid and hydrological, all covered with cabbage farms and golf courses. Instead of this lovely barren desert we would have only another blooming garden state, like New Jersey. And where then would people go when they wanted to see something besides people?”
Generally, when we get homesick for sandstone we head to Red Rocks, but at some point the hole in our heart gets too big and we have to have the real thing. We didn’t make any plans for Spring Break this year. We were just going to hang out at home and I’d take the kids to do some cool local stuff, but when I talked to one of the other preschool moms and she mentioned their plans to go to Moab I became painfully aware that the emptiness inside of me had grown so big it was dangerously close to swallowing me up. Our souls were in dire need of the comforting warmth of desert heat. In what may have been our first spontaneous act as a couple, we obsessively began planning a last minute, extended weekend trip to South Eastern Utah. We were giddy with excitement.
When Noel woke up in the middle of the night shivering uncontrollably, only hours before our planned departure, both our hearts sank and one or both of us may have even cried. After sufficient moping, napping, and general consumption of bland foods we regrouped the following afternoon. Noel was feeling significantly better after some uninvited purging (food poisoning?) and the car was already packed, so we decided to resume the trip one day late. Little did we know that a huge Jeep Safari was going to kick-off that weekend and our first and second choices of campsites were already full. Luckily, I’d read about a lesser known campground on my friend Valerie’s travel blog and the folks at Pack Creek Campground were able to squeeze us into half a group site. It was not ideal as it felt like all the jeeps, trucks, and RVs were closing in on us, but we were glad to have something. Every morning the jeeps would file out in lines and we’d head off to wander the desert on our own two feet, even the little people, quenching a thirst only a desert can.