Saturday, November 10, 2018

Lost my heart to Utah

We finally did shake winter off our heels! It didn’t happened somewhere in Utah, when we also managed to break our routine of two days of travelling followed by three days stuck because of a major snowstorm/car trouble.




People have been super friendly and helpful all throughout Montana, Wyoming and Utah, but Wayne who runs J.A.R.R. towing and auto repair in Choteau, Montana, eclipsed everybody with his helpfulness. We broke down in this picturesque if deserted spot:


Turned out the fuel pump of our pickup had decided to die in the windswept fields of western Montana. We ended up spending three days in Choteau, a town almost untouched by time since the 1960s, where Wayne not only made the time in his solidly packed schedule to install a new pump but also managed to get the temperamental rear lights of our camper working properly. By the time we rolled out of town we felt like Wayne was part of the family.

Hiking as much as C’s injured knee allows, we managed to see a bit of Yellowstone’s backcountry (where another snowstorm closed the roads for a day). Never had steaming, hissing and bubbling vents, springs and geysers seemed more tempting to half frozen fingers and toes!



And then … we got to Utah.

I never expected to be swept off my feet by the sage and juniper deserts, cliffs the colour of sunset and secret world of narrow canyons, but I was. I am still, quite literally: we hiked three days in Paria Canyon and Buckskin Gulch, an otherworldly experience:


Hiking Paria Canyon involves wading in water pretty much half the time, and the water was cold!

So cold that it numbed even my Canadian feet, numbed them to such an extent I apparently sprained my ankle on the second day without so much as noticing it. Suddenly it was elephant-sized and sore! Hiking out the remaining eight miles on the last day was not a big deal though, since the Paria, after causing injury, also supplied the cure by numbing my feet again.
Despite our current mobility challenges we hope our aging limbs will be up to a section hike or two of the Arizona trail come late November/December. I’m leaving Utah somewhat reluctantly, carrying dusty red sand and images with me. 

8 comments:

  1. Southern Utah is one of my favorite places. We were there for 2 weeks and I never though stone and landscape could have such magical diversity. Want to return.

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    1. It is a totally addictive landscape, isn't it? And I love how varied it is. Trouble is, now I want a sculpted sandstone wall full of grooves and hollows and different hues for the cabin :D

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  2. Breathtakingly beautiful...exquisite photos!! Thank you for your lovely blog

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    1. Thanks for reading, Jo-Anne! Utah surely is a feast for the eyes - for all senses, actually.

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  3. Beautiful!
    My folks fell in love with that part of the country before they had kids and moved back to Maine. Now that the kids are gone, they're out exploring the west again. It's enchanting country. I'm sorry about the bum knee and the bum fuel pump, but you guys seem to be making the most of it.
    Happy Trails,
    Keely

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    1. Oh wow, cool :) Yeah, it's so different from up north and soooo beautiful! It's my first time here, but it definitely won't be the last.

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  4. Hey Nicole...thanks for the great pictures and stories to with them. I have been enjoying the rescue series on tv lately where you worked. I love Black Bears.
    Russ

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    1. Thanks! I miss my bears. Miss them so much I'll be dabbling in wildlife rehab again, if not this coming year, then the following one :)
      Have a great winter!

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