Wednesday, August 25, 2010

One of these things is not like the other: Arches, Zion, L.A.

I spent three nights and as many days in the Moab area before heading southwest to Zion National Park. After driving that 5.5 hours through barren, lonely desert I can see why the Mormon pioneers gave it its name. Speaking of naming, I think the Native Americans lost this contest in southern Utah. I know a number of places in the U.S. have reverted back to the native name of a place (Denali, for example) but not southern Utah. In Zion, there are features and hikes such as the Great White Throne, the Altar of Sacrifice, the Court of the Patriarchs (which, in order are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), Angel's Landing, and the Virgin River. Essentially, it's a religious theme park...

I spent three days and nights in Zion before heading southwest again, this time to Los Angeles. I'm not one who ever had much interest in the home of Hollywood stars, but my motive had less to do with seeing Brangelina and more to do with taking a college friend hostage for the trip up the coast. Mission accomplished, by the way. We're currently stopped in Berkeley so she can gather a few of her things and then we're heading on up to the Oregon coast. And as usual, a few observations about where I've been of late below:
  • My mother, also known to my friends as Captain Safety, keeps warning me of potential peril in the great outdoors. The latest has been frequent updates on the bandits from Arizona who may or may not be camped out in National Parks. My mom's suggestion for avoiding the bandits is "If you pull into a campsite and there's a dodgy looking couple then just keep on driving." I am sorry Mom, but this is America and these are public campgrounds. If I refused to camp in a campground with a dodgy looking couple, I think I'd never sleep.
  • Vegas is creepy. There is nothing on either side except barren, lonely desert. I am sorry, but golf courses don't belong in the desert, and neither does Venice. I am fairly convinced the whole place is just a mirage anyway, and doesn't actually exist. I saw it (or think I did) but I'm pretty sure that was the heat getting to me.
  • I think it might be impossible to drive into Los Angeles, emerging from the desert with most of your earthly belongings packed into a car and not feel like your life has suddenly become a movie. I'm not too sure who is playing me in my biopic, but it's a dramatic entrance, I assure you. Windows down, radio up...
  • It's also kind of hard not to sightsee in L.A., mostly because everything seems to be famous in one way or the other. I didn't ask my hosts to show me around town, but as we drove to dinner and back it felt like I had signed up for an L.A. tour. Among the sites along our path were Sunset Boulevard, the Hollywood sign, the tallest building west of the Mississippi, and the freeway where O.J. tried to flee. Yeah, a town where even the 6 lane freeway is famous means that sightseeing is hard to avoid.
Since I can't go much farther west, it's up to the north. Plans are for a week or so of coastal Oregon camping and then up to Seattle to meet a friend for some camping over Labor Day weekend in the Olympic Peninsula. That is if I don't come up with some other brilliant plan between now and then.

Sunset at the Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

One of the many religiously themed hikes in Zion National Park

Not to be attempted by those with a fear of heights. Sheer drop-offs of 800 feet on one side and 1,200 feet on the other.

Angel's Landing indeed

Hiking the Narrows, which is basically just walking upstream into the canyon for a few miles

Hello, Los Angeles

1 comment:

  1. Hey Munny, your trip looks awesome. I was just in Olympic National Park for a 4 day hike - get excited, it's a special place.