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Way Out West

Canyoneering through Southern Utah

Story by This Honest Life October 16th, 2016

A BIT OF ART HISTORY

I remember when I was first introduced to art and history as child, my teachers would take me to galleries and show me oil paintings of great Australian landscapes from a time where the frontier of Australia was similar to that of America’s Wild West. Picking up our Jucy campervan in Las Vegas and driving into southern Utah, was like driving into one of those oil paintings. The colors… oh my…THE COLORS. Warm pink tones that graduate into burnt oranges and magenta. It’s one big, beautiful gradient that runs through the earth and up into the sky.

We took our chances out in the desert and camped a few nights on public lands that surrounded Zion National Park. Each afternoon we headed out exploring backcountry roads to find a place to make camp for the night. This daily ritual was one of the highlights of our trip as setting up camp in the middle of nowhere, with not another soul, around was a magical experience.

♫ Soundtrack: “A Horse With No Name” - America

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ANGEL'S LANDING

Zion’s signature hike. A steep climb up the face of the canyon to a beautiful vista that looks down the main canyon. They actually shut this trail down the following day, as twice a year they perform a helicopter operation to empty the portable toilets at the peak of the climb. 🚁💩

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The final part of the ascent is a narrow rock scramble along the knifes edge of the peak. This was an incredible climb though not for the faint of heart as the path to Angels Landing is slippery and narrow with a 1000 ft drops on either side. The popularity of this hike doesn’t help the experience at times as it creates some scary bottle necks at points where it is it so narrow that only one person can pass safely at a time. ⚠️

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THE NARROWS

This. Was. Epic. The Narrows is a hike which you follow The Virgin River upstream as it continues to cut through Zion Canyon. You walk on the river bed as it weaves deeper into the earth and the canyon walls shoot hundreds of feet above you. With every turn it feels like you are staring straight into an Indiana Jones movie. With the sunlight bouncing gently down to the canyon floor, it’s hard not to take a bad photo in this place. So I apologize for the sheer volume of these photos. 🙈

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After 2 days around Zion, we drove north towards Bryce Canyon. The landscape changed significantly again, with rolling hills, quite streams and more plant life. The photo below doesn’t quite capture it but while we were driving I saw the most enchanting sunset I think I’ve ever seen in my life. I kinda got emotional about it. 😭🌅

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BRYCE CANYON

You’d think we’d be tired of looking at red rocks by now, but no…
Bryce Canyon was like walking through the ruins of an old gothic cathedral. ⛪️

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Footnote: Shot on my FujiFilm XT-1
Utah, United States