Whenever someone would ask me about the trip to the States, I always say two things:
First, that I was much more impressed than I’d expected, and second, “What do you think of when someone tells you ‘Utah’? Nothing, right?”
I’ve already spoken about that first part – and it will be coming up again, trust me – so I’ll get right to the second part.
What do you think of when someone mentions Utah? I don’t mean to sound presumptuous, but I’m pretty sure, unless you are from one of those Four Corners states, it doesn’t ring any particular bells. And if you’re European or just anyone who’s never been “across the Pond” at all (although, I guess the Japanese would not call the Pacific that but… you get the point, that’s what the quotation marks were for), then I’m willing to bet on it.
This is not to say anything bad about you or the region. On the contrary – Utah is a hidden gem! I didn’t use to know, let alone think, anything about it. To be completely honest, the one thing that would come to mind was Joey and “Chandler’s dumb states game” 😀
So how surprised was I to find out that Utah is packed full of national parks and awesome things to do?! There were so many destinations, we didn’t even manage to see them all in the days we had set aside for this, but those are at least five posts worth the stories, so let me get started.
First of all, leaving Colorado looked a little something like this:
The occasional drop on the windscreen and the gloomy looks of this picture should not throw you – it was a lovely day, you can see the sky is nice, but it was partially cloudy and the road was winding alongside a river for a while. I couldn’t get the river in the picture earlier on, this is us already leaving the valley and subsequently the mountains.
It is an odd change of pace from a 4000+ m peak yesterday to now be seeing this:
It is pretty, though. Especially if you’re able to distinguish how the colours in those hills are blending together. They remind me of those sand bottles with desert landscapes that are popular knickknacks to buy in Northern Africa or the Arab countries. Yep, like this one, this is ours from that day and a half in Dubai I haven’t yet told you about 🙂
This really colourful example might not have been the best way to bring out the nuances in the Utah landscape above, but really, if you think about it in more pastel colours, you should get what I mean. A little boring maybe, but still quite pretty.
And then, just when you start thinking how dull and boring those colours are, and you’re hit with a view like this one:
Ok, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. But this is just a teaser of what you get in Utah.
You know, just a random massive rock, jutting out of the ground in the middle of a vast red thorn field.
Then you see some more of those and they become stranger and stranger, and you know you’re going the right way because our first destination in Utah is Moab, and more specifically Arches National Park. You remember that video of some guys rope swinging off a huge stone arch? Yep, that’s in Arches, but by now it is probably banned to swing from any of the formations. We didn’t go to Corona Arch, because once again the hugeness of America got in the way. We saw a bunch of other cool stuff, though.
The left one is called “Three Gossips” and is one of the first formations you see when you enter the park, which is why I only have a picture taken from inside the car, we had not time for gossips ;). On the right picture, you can (hopefully) see “Balanced Rock”.
You probably have heard about “The license plate game” or some other reference to the license plates in America, but in case you haven’t – every state has its own, sort of personalised, license plate and there usually is something on it that serves to represent the state, along with a motto.
This is what Utah’s is like –>
You get where I’m going with this, right? Yes, we just had to go and see the even more popular than the Corona Arch, namely the Delicate Arch.
Surprising: it was not that straight forward to get to it, it’s sort of hidden away and you have to meander a little up and down and between some other less interesting rocks. And before you get to it, you get some nice panoramas:
Not surprising at all: there was a bunch of people there, waiting to take pictures of or with the famous rock. What was annoying though was that everyone was waiting not because there were so many people, but because of one particular person.
This mother – and it seemed a soon-to-be-mother-in-law – had the two lovebirds perched on the base of the rock and she was shooting away, directing them, how they should sit, when they should kiss, etc., etc. You’d think it was the official wedding photo session when, in fact, she was taking pictures with her iPhone. Mind you, that was a year and a half ago, iPhone 5 was not even out yet. ‘What she was thinking, I don’t know!’ *puts hands in an “OMG”, aka just had my nails done gesture and flips hair, rolling her eyes*
Yeah, I don’t know how to do this and I’ve only ever had Android phones so I don’t give a crap about the model, but I had never wished more for a person to drop their phone, you know, just for some comic relief. You don’t think it would be funny? Let me give a perspective. Take a look at what’s blow Delicate Arch:
Yep, it would’ve been a long trip for that phone down those smooth rocks.
Anyway, that didn’t happen. I think her battery eventually died so other people had the chance to snap a few frames as well.
Yeah, we also exchanged taking pictures with another couple, but it wasn’t about us at that point. It was quite hot, even if windy, and you’d think it’s just a bunch of rocks, but once you’re there you can’t just say “OK, *snap*, done, let’s go.” You… just… stay there a while.
I took a bunch of pictures. And that’s usually how it goes for me – the more amazing a place is, the more pictures I take in the hopes that maybe one of them would capture a fragment of the atmosphere, the view, the awe that the place inspires.
I don’t know what to tell you, I can post all of them here, but it would not be the same. Which is why I would only post a couple, hahah. Actually, there is one that I really like. I think it might be a little different from the gazillion certainly beautiful but still practically the same images you get when you Google it, and I hope you like it too.
Alas, we couldn’t wait for the sunset at Delicate Arch, because Arches is a big fucking place! You have to drive around from one section to the next, it’s that big. But if you ever have the chance to catch a sunset there – take it! I’m sure it will be amazing!
Well, it looks like I should wrap this up for today, and it’s only been half a day in Utah. I haven’t even told you everything about that half a day. Do you get now how amazing Utah actually is? No? No worries, there are still at least four amazing places to tell you about, so stay tuned and by the time we hit Vegas you’ll be with me on this.
Here’s one awesome – and a little creepy – sunset for ya 😉