Apologies for the unintentional break I took from this space. Between life on the road and then getting sick almost as soon as I got back east, this space was pushed a bit from my mind. Anyway, I’ve officially been back home for a bit after a whirlwind three weeks on the road. It felt SO GOOD to be back out in my element; hiking, skiing, and just daydreaming on endless stretches of highway. After meeting up with my friend, Allee, in Arizona, (and our brief detour in Colorado!), we set our sights on Utah.
I first visited some of these places a couple winters back, but that didn’t make them any less amazing the second time around. If anything, I was more excited, as I knew the cold temps would make them less desirable to visit. Pro tip : if you’re looking to have hiking trails in the southwest to yourself, visit in the winter! Even at sunrise, I’ve always shared hiking trails - especially national park trails - with other people. While there were a couple other brave souls out enjoying the sights, it was nothing like summer time with hoards of people!
Our first stop in Utah was Monument Valley. This time around we car camped nearby, but my first time visiting this place, we stayed at The View hotel, which looks right out over the infamous buttes. It was a bit overcast, but we had a small window of clear sky that made for a perfect sunrise. Like most southwest spots, you’re going to want to plan around where you’ll be for sunrise or sunset. That’s when the landscapes truly seems to glow.
This section of the trip was definitely about car camping - aka saving money on lodging! - and we continued the following night at Dead Horse Point State Park. Using the ioverlander app, Allee was able to find a camp ground in the park, just a short drive from where we’d be shooting sunrise the following morning! With the recent snowfall, we couldn’t pass up a visit to nearby Arches National Park. Like I mentioned earlier, this place is a ghost town in winter! We had entire trails to ourselves, and got to explore the snow covered red rocks to our hearts content.
From Moab, we continued our journey north in search of a little sunshine. I’ll be the first to admit, as much as I love Winter, the goal for this trip was definitely to embrace the sun and some WARMTH. We were able to find both at our next stop - Mystic Hot Springs. This place is a trip, I loved how unique the individual tubs are! Once we we were closer to Salt Lake City, we hiked to a natural hot spring (I personally preferred the natural pools. Can’t think of a better reward after a hike).
I knew I couldn’t leave SLC without at least ONE ski day, and fortunately my long-time friend, JJ, was able to meet up with me to make it happen. We spent the day at Solitude Mountain, where I was able to use my Ikon Pass (have I mentioned lately how much I love this pass?! I’ve skied more this season than any other because of it! More on that in my next post). Solitude is unlike any mountain I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never skied in powder so deep in my life! It was such a fun day, and truly has me dreaming of more winter trips to the area. There’s certainly no shortage of mountains - Brighton, Alta, and Snowbird being a stone’s throw away.
On our final night, our friend, Kevin, brought us out to nearby Antelope Island for a sunset campfire. If we had gone nowhere else in Utah, this place would be enough. It’s INCREDIBLE. Roaming buffalo scattered throughout, and mountain vistas that made me feel as though we had been transported to southern Alaska. It was a dream.
Can’t wait to share the last leg of this trip with you guys! Promise it will be soon.