The Great West, Part III (The Finale)

Read on to find deserts, mountains, and poetic endings to my trip to Utah in 2017.

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Hey, everyone! 🙂

   I’m back in Iowa now, but here’s a recap of what happened in my last few days in the Utah area:

   On Thursday morning, I spent a few hours researching Poe (as I had on Wednesday), and I gathered all the material I needed to write my biographical essay on him (which will be up on my blog shortly!).  Adam found out he had a couple meetings to attend, so we quickly grabbed the train home and made an excellent salmon and asparagus meal for lunch (with leftovers for supper):

salmon

   Adam went back to The University for his meetings and class, but since I had all I needed from the library, I took the afternoon to explore the City Center and Triad Center shopping areas.  There were quite a few stores and restaurants in each area, but the best spot was definitely Barnes & Noble.  I picked up the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe for only seven dollars, and I also grabbed the works of Emily Dickinson and Archmage by R.A. Salvatore.  I stopped at Roxberry for a smoothie, per recommendation by Adam, but he would attest that it’s a hit-or-miss, and I found it to be a miss.

   After some more meandering around Temple Square and the city, we both went back to the house and grabbed a quick supper before taking off for Valley of Fire National Monument.  The park is in Nevada, so we had a solid five-or-six-hour drive and camped in the Nevada desert right outside the park.  We drove through Arizona on our way down, so AZ is technically my 28th state, and NV is my 29th.  The desert was somewhat chilly for camping, but we survived and managed a few hours of sleep under the stars before the sunlight woke us.

nevada

   We started our day with a trip to nearby Lake Mead, more so because we needed an outlet to recharge our phone batteries than for any other reason.  When they had sufficient charge, we headed into the park and scoped out a few trails.  We saw the petroglyphs of Moapa Valley on the Mouse Tanks trail, and we also wandered into Fire Canyon.  We ended the tour with quick stops/hikes at Rainbow Vista and White Domes, though I must admit that I wasn’t sad to be done, as I wasn’t a big fan of Valley of Fire.  The trails were mostly sand (which is probably still in my shoes…), and although the scenery was new and novel for me, it wasn’t as enthralling as what I saw in Utah and Idaho.firecanyon

petroglyphsvalleyoffire

   After we left Valley of Fire, we headed back through the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona to reach Zion National Park in southern Utah.  This probably ties with the Targhee National Forest in Idaho for my favorite place of the vacation, and it had some incredible sights.  We climbed a pretty rigorous trail to reach Angels’ Landing, and even though it was my first time ever climbing a mountain (aside from strugglingly running up Harney Peak in South Dakota), we made the round trip in only about two hours.  The view of the valley and gorge was incredible:

zionzionwithadamangelslandingme

   We took the shorter hike of about an hour to see the Emerald Pools, and we were pleasantly surprised to find stunning waterfalls (falling above/behind me in the photo) at the end of our route.  As we were leaving the park, I snapped one last photo of the landscape.  The trees and river below had an almost-ethereal quality, a hauntingly beautiful delicacy about which I will likely write a poem in the near future:

emeraldpoolmeetherealtrees

   We drove back and had a pretty uneventful end to our journey on Friday night, and after a meager two hours of sleep, I caught the early flights back to Iowa and had to relinquish the fantasy of an outside world.  I’ll be back on the adventure wagon in late April, as I make my way east instead of west and explore the Champlain River on the New York/Vermont border.  Until then, keep following for the poetry and photos I’ll be uploading!  Thanks for reading, and as always, I hope you’ve enjoyed it! 🙂

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