The Daily – 6/28

Word of the Day: Weather

Notable / Highlight of the Day: I woke up this morning complely cinched in my sleeping bag, picture a dog who sticks it’s head down a sleeve…that’s pretty much what i looked like…it’s been so chilly at night, i haven’t been sleeping well, which typically leads to some grumpiness…I work up at 6, but was so exausted I fell back asleep until 7, then 8ish. I finally dragged myself out of bed and had a lazy start while enjoying breakfast with Suzie and the couple who are wrapping up a month-long trip before he moves to DC and she heads back to Richmond. 

Because of the chilly nights (below 40), the wet outlook, and my next few weeks being in more northern climates, I headed into town to check out a gear store just as the skies opened up. I struck out on sleeping bags but got a 2nd hand pair of water repelent pants since I’ve been wearing this pair so much. I ended up ordering a fancy sleeping bag from Amazon that has a built in internal blanket and foot hole in case my feet get too hot. I am hoping it also affords a bit more leg room. 

I spent some time catching up on a few emails, paying bills, and writing up at the visitors center as they have free wifi. I then headed back to the ranch to make a late lunch/early dinner just in time for the rain to pick back up. 

I was going to head for a short evening hike, but the sky continued to look ominous, so instead hunkered down in the library and read for the remainder of the evening. 

Current Location: Moose, WY

Cost of Coffee: Brewed my own

Miles Traveled: maybe 60

Miles Walked: >1

Dollars Spent Today: $173 – $110 on a cold-weather sleeping bag, $37 on gas, $26 on fancy rain pants

Total Dollars Spent: $1,339 (trending just shy of $70 a day [the sleeping bag didn’t help] I hope the next few stops start to get cheaper)

Number of Dogs Seen / Dog of the Day: none

People Met: Got to know Suzie, a regular at the Ranch and a cool couple (who’s names have slipped) who are wrapping up their month on the road. 

Mood Emoji😕

How Am I Feeling: I’m feeling a bit impotent: like I should be contributing to something bigger and how could I be doing something so selfish. also I am feeling guilty like shouldn’t be wasting a damn minute and that I should be seeing every corner of this park and not wasting days reading even if it’s raining. I’m stressing a bit about money too, I feel like I’m spending too fast and I had some remaining bills from DC roll in…which sucked. I’m starting to get a bit bummed out, wondering if some people see my only value in fulfilling their needs (yes, but there are others out there who aren’t that way at all). I’m also really painfully missing the dogs. 

I’m learning how to have deeper conversations with folks besides the where are you from/what brought you here/why are you interested in this place but it’s going to take more work and more creativity. 

What am I reading: Moonwalking with Einstein

The Daily – 6/27

Word of the Day: Deluge  Notable / Highlight of the Day: What do a bear, a storm, a new friend, and a blog post have in common?  That’s what my day was full of!  

I took off on the early side to hike the full Jenny Lake trail including inspiration point and hidden falls. I got one of the last parking spaces at the southside of the lake. Between the rangers urging and talking with several people at the ranch, I picked up some bear spray…which was not cheap.


As I set off, one of the rangers was warning the construction crew that there was a mamma bear and two cubs just north of them and to keep their heads up. While I was grumpy about the cost of the spray, I was feeling slightly better about the spend. Circling the southside of the lake first, the weather was plesant and there were lots of happy hikers on the trail. It’s an easy hike and very pretty, not to mention smells like fresh mountain air. I’ve mostly acclimated to the elevation, so the hike was a breeze. 

As i neared Hidden Falls the skies became ominously dark and noisy. As I rushed to make it back into the treeline, the winds picked up and the thunder and lightning took over. I managed to find a sheltered spot just as a fury of hail let loose. The storm raged for about 20-30 minutes, all the while I was chatting with a nice family from Wisconsin. When the storm cleared, i continued along to hidden falls. 

I decided to continue up to inspiration point and have lunch. I met a couple from Missouri who were very curious about my adventures, and we talked for a while while watching the storm recede. I headed back down towards the lake’s circle route, and a guy came up to me asking if i noticed the bear…that i walked about 15 feet in front of…i hadn’t, and clearly the bear was thrilled to continue eating his greens. 

As I neared spring lake a strange thing happened, I met another solo female traveler, Kim!  We hiked the last 4+ miles together chatting about life, divorces, vacations, and being on the road. She’s a teacher, so gets great vacation time, but it’s always when lots of others are traveling. 

When I got back into cell phone coverage I heard back from my Zion friend Marisa, who was connecting me with her friend Lief who lives in Jackson Hole. I reached out to him and we grabbed a beer and chatted for a while while enjoying some mountain views. 

He was having some people over for dinner and invited me along, which my stomach greedily said yes to! While not writing music or playing in a band, Lief can tear it up in the kitchen and look good doing it. That was one of the tastiest meals I’ve had in a long time along with some really nice company (including a very sweet pupper!!)

It felt a little like home today. 

Current Location: Moose, WY

Cost of Coffee: brewed my own

Miles Traveled: 50ish

Miles Walked: 9

Dollars Spent Today: $85 – $25 on lodging, $50 on bear spray, $4 on sundries, $6 on beer

Total Dollars Spent: $1,226

Number of Dogs Seen / Dog of the Day: One sweet pup called Street. 

People Met: Kim and Lief

Mood Emoji: 🙂☔️😄🤤

Food/Beverage Highlights: Leif’s Ramen and Kimchi!

The Daily – 6/26

Word of the Day: Splash

Notable / Highlight of the Day: I got a late start to my day between my cabin mate’s snoring and being in a new place. I’m discovering it takes me a day or two to sleep well somewhere unknown. I spent the morning reading and getting caught up on postcards in the library. I made my way down to the visitors center, which was a mad house, and then headed into town for white water rafting on the Snake River!

I first went to the wrong white-water rafting spot but quickly found my way to Teton Whitewater. Since the water was so high, we took the large boat out, and since it was so cold, we all got wetsuits. The experience was fun, but it was all families. The water was a chilly 48 and I was so thankful to have that wetsuit on everytime I got splashed. The guides were chatty and shared some info about the sport and the local area. 

There was a memorial service taking place at the climbers ranch for Kim Schmitz so I drove around checking out the sites for a bit before coming back. I ended the night sitting in the library reading. 

Current Location: Moose, WY
Cost of Coffee: 0

Miles Traveled: 45

Miles Walked: 1

Dollars Spent Today: $99 – $25 on my room, $75 on white-water rafting, $4 on a DQ Blizzard. 

Dollars Spent: $99 – $25 on lodging, $75 on white water rafting, $4 on a DQ Blizzard.

Total dollars spent: $1,141

Mood Emoji: 😅

The Daily – 6/25

Word of the Day: wildflowers

Notable / Highlight of the Day: I took the advice of the sweet ladies from Ivie Juice bar and spent the morning hiking Diamond fork to the hot springs and was not dissapointed! It was one of the most lovely hikes, full of wild flowers, happy doggies, flitting butterflies, and a rushing stream cutting through the forest. It was an easy jaunt considering the hikes i was taking in Utah: relatively flat and nicely shaded. There were also a number of primitive campsites along the way which I’ll keep I mind if I’m ever head back. 

The hike was really scenic and a big reward at the end with some great hot springs. Since I had a long drive ahead of me, I only spent about 20-30 minutes wandering around checking out the aqua hot springs and the waterfalls.  

I finally headed to a colder climate so was able to grocery shop – which was a bad idea since I was so hungry and went a little overboard and will need to eat a lot and be very generous with my fellow campers. 

I finally got to the climbers ranch around 7:30 and was the last check in. I was not dissapointed, this place is so beautiful and surrounded by wildflowers. I made a quick dinner and crashed out. 

Current Location: Provo, UT to Moose, WY (Zero Moose seen)

Cost of Coffee: 0

Miles Traveled: 300

Miles Walked: 5-6

Dollars Spent Today: $160 – $25 for camp, $31 for gas, $6 sundries, $98 for groceries (I should not go to the grocery store hungry)

Total Dollars Spent: $1,042

Mood Emoji:😍 😋

The Daily – 6/24

Word of the Day: Sugar
Notable / Highlight of the Day: Woke up and had a great breakfast with my camp mates who ended up covering the fee for our spot that night! I’m sad that they aren’t going to be on the road a bit longer because they were so fun, but my next stop I’ll be in place for several days.
I drove up to Kohob Canyon, which is the northern part of Zion, but it was so smoky that it was tough to see the brilliant oranges and reds in the stone Zion is known for. I took it easy today because I gave myself a bruise between two of my toes, so it’s a bit painful to walk.  I’m glad it’s a car/urban day. I only did the viewpoint hike, which was an easy mile out and back and gives you sweeping views of the north part of the park and the surrounding area.
I drove up to Provo for the night because I didn’t want a long-haul day in the car and I wanted a bit of civilization. Provo is hemmed in by some pretty foothills and mountains and has a cute downtown area that’s perfect for strolling. I think my shorts may have been scandalously short though, everyone seemed to be wearing mid-thigh grazing shorts, pants, or dresses.
Provo likes sugar.  I think it must have been every 3rd store was an ice cream, cookie, bakery, soda, or sweets shop.  It’s my kind of city.  I love love love sweets.  I also treated myself to an Acai bowl at Ivie and had a really fun conversation with the girls who worked there.  I almost felt famous! They also recommended a hike I’m going to check out in the morning before heading north!
Current Location: Zion to Provo, UT
Cost of Coffee: Made my own
Miles Traveled: 285
Miles Walked: 2-3 in flipflops
Dollars Spent Today: $63 – $12 on souvenirs and gifts, $20 on food, $26 on AirBnB stay, $5 on bike chain oil
Total Dollars Spent: $882 (subtracted last night’s camping fee)
Mood Emoji: 😌
Food/Beverage Highlights: My Acai bowl at Ivie and the other-worldly cake bikes at The Sweet-Tooth Fairy

The Daily – 6/23

Word of the Day: Hydrate
Notable / Highlight of the Day: I’m finally sleeping fairly well while camping. However, when nighttime temperatures don’t fall into the 80’s until past midnight, it makes for a very long, uncomfortable, and sleepless night.  I gave Cecilia and Kevin my stupid tent fan that was too big and required far too much battery power to be useful, but man did I miss even having the non-option (since the batteries were dead).
I had a slow start due to my groggy/grumpiness and decided to poke around and see what Springdale had to offer before my hike through the haze of the smoke from the nearby forest fire.  I wandered into a few gift shops and markets but couldn’t justify the spend on anything ($3.99 a lb for plums?).  I decided to hop on the shuttle to look for a good breakfast spot and the driver pointed me to the Spotted Dog Cafe.  I was sold on the name alone, but for $8.99 it was ALL YOU CAN EAT!!! Since it’s been so hot I haven’t been able to keep ice for more than 6ish hours, so I’ve been eating a lot of tuna and pb&j sandwiches.  The spread was more than a hungry, weary hiker could have hoped for and I’ll be dreaming about that find for months to come. I was also excited to hear from my friends from Bryce that they were heading up to Zion and wanted to know if we could split a site again!
The funny thing about Zion is that it’s a bit more like Disney and a bit less like a national park.  The park is very organized and clean, the rangers are all very helpful, and the shuttle system is mostly efficient…except when every.single.person in the country is also going to the park. It took me more than an hour to get on a shuttle, and I started waiting at 11:40 am (they kindly have a huge awning to cover everyone who’s waiting and tree shading most of the path from the parking lot to the awning).  I was determined to head to The Narrows since I had rented a pretty cool pair of water shoes and neoprene socks (my Keens are in Arlington because I forgot to pack them).  But, I’m really glad I rented the canyoneering boots because of all the ankle support.  The neoprene socks were overkill since it’s was more than 100 degrees outside I wanted my feet to get icy cold.
The other thing about the narrows is that it’s the cool place to be when its hot out and you don’t live near the park…you just don’t know where else to go.  So, every tourist who was visiting the park was there in all their glory.  It’s also an awful hike because you are hiking upstream on a very rocky river bottom and losing your balance while twisting your ankles.  I only had so much fun in me (even a huge breakfast didn’t extend a good mood into this hike).  I waded to Wall Street and turned around to head back.  The way back was much easier, and I was finally idling in cool water in the shade and even went for a little swim.  I don’t think I’d hike all the way to Wallstreet again, and next time I find myself there, I’d want to do some research into other swimming spots that might not be as photo-friendly.
I ended the day at The Brew Pub next to the park.  I met up with Benton, a guy from the outfitter who I was supposed to go rock climbing with and my two campsite mates.  We hung out for a few hours while nibbling on an odd “Irish Nacho” dish and some pretzel bread that was deep-fried dreaminess.  Benton was quite the character having lived all over the US in different parks and outfitters. Clearly he was someone who lived and breathed the outdoors and has been living out of his van for the past six months.  The girls, Christina and Marisa, were from Connecticut and just on a short trip to celebrate Christina wrapping up her program.  Benton shared with us a ton of great spots all over the Zion area to check out and provided tips on the best times to see things to avoid crowds.
Christina, Marisa and I parted ways once we left the restaurant and I walked back to the campsite.  Once back I crawled into my tent only to discover a very large and noisy cockroach also wanted to bunk with me.  After much struggle and destruction, I finally evicted the unwanted guest (though did freak out every time I felt something all night.  It was another boiler-maker of a night, but the breeze was a welcome addition.
Current Location: Zion National Park
Cost of Coffee: NA
Miles Traveled: 0
Miles Walked: 4
Dollars Spent Today: $49 – $20 on the campsite, $13 for breakfast (including coffee and tip) $16 on “dinner”
Total Dollars Spent: $839
People Met: Benton, a nomadic outdoorsman and Christina and Marisa.
Mood Emoji: 😴😋😒😌
Food/Beverage Highlights: Hands down the Spotted Dog all-you-can-eat breakfast.

The Daily – 6/22

Word of the day: Friendly

Notable / Highlight of the Day: After saying bye to my campsite friends, I drove through more of Utah’s lovely countryside to Zion, however, the view was a bit smoggy as there are some wildfires blazing about an hour and a half north of the park, causing these hills to look a little fuzzy. I entered the park through Zion’s scenic route…which is such an understatement.

I spent the morning running chores, going to the post-office, and checking out the greater area by car as the thermostat had hit 107. I finally headed over to my campsite around 3:30, and as I was pulling in, a peregrine falcon flew right by me!!! (at a leisurely speed). I hung out for a bit longer and finally hopped a 5:15 shuttle to Angel’s Landing hike.

Side note, I miss public transit. To sit and read, catch up on emails, and do other stuff is a blessing I had forgotten to appreciate. In Zion, you have to use the park’s free shuttles (which also go into Springdale) and it’s glorious, speedy, and reliable if it’s not between 7-10 am heading into the park (sorry #wmata)!

So, Angel’s Landing is a lot of up up up and switchbacks, and then you get to this crazy chain area to scramble along a cliff edge to the end.

I thought I was at the top when I pulled over and met Cecilia and Kevin, but Kevin (thank goodness) had his all-trails app open and we had a lot longer to hike. It took about an hour and 20 minutes to get up including sitting for 10 minutes at the false summit and holy shit, that hike is so fun. Thank goodness fo rock climbing because I felt so confident scrambilng along the narrow path while some others looked like they had decided they made the biggest mistake of their lives. Once I arrived at the real trail end I also met Neil. Once Cecilia and Kevin caught up, the four of us chatted for about 20-30 minutes at the top and headed down together, took the bus together, and then Cecilia and Kevin shared some beers with Neil and I as we all hung out in the parking lot chatting into the night.

Cecilia and Kevin are on a similar vagabond trip, and are leaving for SE Asia in just a couple of days – they had even converted their van to put a bed in it, but said they prefer camping to sleeping in the van and have only slept in it a few times.  Neil was on a nine-day cross-country drive and hitting all the parks on his all-american boy trip on his way back from training. We talked about travel, and connecting with people, and some of the highs and lows on the road. Kevin, a chef, has been cooking a lot for him and Cecilia. Neil, on the other hand, has been living off of fast food. I’m somewhere in the middle, but certainly not eating steak for dinner every night.

Current Location: Bryce National park to Zion National Park

Cost of Coffee: 1.30 at Sinclair Gas Station

Miles Traveled: 105

Miles Walked: 6-7

Dollars Spent Today: $133 (whoops) – 29 on gas, 1 on coffee, 20 on a campsite, 15 on lunch, 15 on sundries, 10 a prescription 20 on souvenirs, $23 on water shoes.

Total Dollars Spent: $923 (average is trending down, but still well-over my $50 a day…)

Number of Dogs Seen / Dog of the Day: pretty much you’d have to be a monster to bring a furry, four-legged friend out in this horrible weather. Though i did see a super cute fluffy dachshund. I swear i’ll start taking pictures!!!

People Met: Cecilia, Kevin, and Neil.

Mood Emoji: 😅🤑😌