The last few months have been trying in so many ways. We have spent the majority of the pandemic doing as we ought to, but enough was enough. No, we didn’t start refusing to wear masks in public or attending large backyard barbecues. Instead, we took a road trip to Utah. Kanab to be exact. It’s a small town in the Southwestern corner of the state just north of the Arizona border, about a 7 hour drive from LA. At least, that’s what the map says. Though it doesn’t appear to account for traveling with a 1-year-old and a dog. So, a 9-10 hour drive from LA. There we rented a small house nestled against a towering red wall of sandstone where we could isolate as a family and took day trips to some of the numerous incredible, wild landscapes in the surrounding area. Some of the better known sites in the immediate area include Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP and the north rim of the Grand Canyon. We didn’t hit any of those. While it was possible to visit them, we opted to avoid them due to various COVID-related restrictions and spent most of our time visiting some of the other gorgeous sites nearby. Perhaps they weren’t as amazing as the National Parks, but they were more than sufficient. Frankly, what we saw wasn’t even that important, so long as we were anywhere but home. Beyond that was gravy.
Once there it was very easy to keep our distance – from 6 feet to several miles – from others and remain generally safe. The town, however, did have many more maskless individuals than we are accustomed to here at home, which was frustrating to see. Grocery stores, which were pretty much the only public places we went indoors, seemed to be at about 60/40 compliance. This felt very odd coming from LA, where it’s a very rare occasion to pass a maskless person indoors. Why so many people don’t seem to care about the welfare of themselves or others is beyond me. Though it’s easy to see what, or who, is influencing them. Nevertheless, we were largely able to avoid the issue and otherwise enjoy the simple pleasures of not being home and not paying attention to current events. Okay, paying less attention.
While we didn’t hit those fancy National Parks, some places we did visit include the Toadstool Hoodoo’s, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park and Paria Canyon, home to an old Western town movie set we never did find. Kanab calls itself Little Hollywood due to the vast number of films and tv shows shot there over the years, from The Lone Ranger to the 2001 version of Planet of the Apes to various scenes from HBO’s Westworld. The landscapes make the ideal backdrop for anything calling for scenes in the American West to Mars. The week we happened to be there coincided with a heat wave – in August, go figure – so our hiking hours were somewhat limited to mornings and evenings. Most days we’d rest at home in the middle of the day, but were able to cool off various times at a neighborhood pool, a nearby stream and one day at Lake Powell, an ecological disaster but a beautiful one at least. It was a great getaway overall and nice to discover a new area to visit within a day’s drive. I’m sure we’ll head back over the next few years to pick up on the things we missed.
Whether it’s COVID, racial issues or natural disasters leading the day’s conversation, it’s been frustrating to see all of the senseless problems this country is going through while feeling like we are unable to do much about it in any direct sense. As we come into the homestretch I hope that common sense, justice and the greater good of our national character emerge victorious and that we can begin to heal ourselves and our planet. Until then, please stay safe and keep your heads. While it’s more important than ever to stay tuned in and fight however you can for the various causes and dilemmas we are currently facing, it’s also good to take a break. If you can’t get to a majestic as fuck location like Utah in order to do that I hope you can at least get to a park or maybe just turn your phone off for a day. Anything helps.