We are up before the sun, dressing, eating, prepping. Our goal is to leave by 7:00 am. A long drive is on the horizon. We pull out of our site at 7:21. Today we say goodbye to Utah. It’s a bittersweet parting. While I’m filled to the brim with anticipation for the upcoming balloon fiesta, three nights in Utah has been far too little in my opinion.
As we begin our drive south, the rays of morning light slowly illuminate the iron-rich rock formations of Capitol Reef National Park. The ground sparkles with a blanketing layer of frost that captures the sun in a brief prism-like show of brilliance before surrendering to the warmth of the dawn. The Fremont River courses through its morning routine as steam rises to meet the cool air before bowing its head and returning to the moving water.
We pass no one, yet despite the absence of admiring onlookers, the majestic opulence of towering rocks, layered in color and adorned with strength, remains. Here beauty abounds from the earth in an exorbitant show of confidence.
I reflect on our time here punctuated by RV friends and vast vistas. Thoughts of exploring the land on foot and hiking to overlooks that took our breath away, wisp through my mind like clouds.
I recall loading our pockets with apples for the journey and the reward of the view at the top.
We cherished the challenge and leave feeling full.
In terms of dramatic landscapes, Utah has held a special place in my heart for the last five years. It was on a road trip from Idaho to California that we first wandered through the heart of her radical, red-rock formations.
Longing to linger in this vast, rugged land, we started to dream and ask ourselves portentous* questions. “How can we spend more time in places like this. Is it possible to live on the road?” And thus, the Pandora’s box was opened.
Returning to Utah now after our travels through the east coast, we are struck even more deeply by the unique offerings of this rocky wonderland and I can’t hold back the gratitude. This visit, while still too short, represents the realization of a dream.
Yet the funny thing about dreams, is that they are often nebulous, broad and lacking in detail. We knew we wanted flexible freedom, more family time, availably to serve and a looser tie to things. However, it is only while looking in the rear-view mirror that we are able to gage with more objective clarity, some the impact of our nomadic venture.
While never perfect, I hold no regrets over our choice to veer off the traditional trail in search of the dream placed within us. In many ways our lives remind me of the Utah landscape–open with possibility, yet marked by distinct landmark decisions. I can only hope that in the end, my life radiates the immense, breathtaking beauty I see around me.
This world is huge; it is majestic; it is worth exploring just for the sake of knowing it. ~Tsh Oxenreider
Have you been to Utah? Did it capture your heart like it did mine?
*portentous |pôrˈten(t)əs| adjective
Done in a pompously or overly solemn manner so as to impress: Longing to linger in this vast, rugged land, we started to dream and ask ourselves portentous questions.