Fellow wanderlusters! Buckle up and hang on tight because I'm about to take you on a wild ride through the jaw-droppingly beautiful landscapes of Bryce Canyon, Escalante, and Boulder, Utah. I've got my trusty old jalopy, a playlist loaded with 80's rock and country classics, an alt trip pass with JET, and a soul that's ready to ramble. Are you ready for an adventure?
Day 1: Roamin' Bryce Canyon
I hit the road at the crack of dawn, fueled up on coffee and dreams. The anticipation of the long awaited trip to the Grand Circle is palpable. (This bucket list adventure has been on the books for five years.) I'm wired like a kid on Christmas morning. And as I roll down the windows and the crisp air invades the car, the sun is just peaking over the ridges and down into the canyon.
Finally, I arrive at Bryce Canyon. It's a scene straight out of a sci-fi flick! Hoodoos, man! Those funky rock formations defy gravity, standing tall like they're at attention waiting for the mothership. Mother Nature's got some mad sculpting skills, crafting intricate masterpieces out of stone. I park, chug the end of my cowboy-coffee and I'm off.
Weighing my trail options, I decide to go all-out adventure mode and take the Queen's Garden route; a breathtaking path that cuts down and across the canyon. As I hike down, it feels like I'm walking through a labyrinth of stone castles. When I reach the bottom, the amphitheater of hoodoos surrounds me. It's like being on another planet—minus the little green guys. (Unless you count the lizards.)
After a sweaty—and awe inspiring—day in the canyons, it's time to tap out and get to this evening's home base. I weave my way along the historic route to the land of historic battles, past outlaws, and breathtaking views. Escalante. The welcoming glow of Escalante Cabins & RV beckons, and I can't wait to settle in with a hot shower, a cold brew, and hang my hat up for the night—Escalante cabin style.
Day 2: Escalante–Off the Beaten Path
Today, I leave the tourist crowds behind and venture into the wild wild-beyonds of Escalante. This place is an undiscovered gem. Selfishly, it's almost one that you don't want to share—it's just that good; but it's not to be missed. As I cruise along the dusty roads, On the Road Again rattles along in my left blown out speaker. As we pass the downtown proper—exactly 1:23 into the track—I'm already climbing out into scenic beauty.
The Grand Staircase—Escalante National Monument. This spectacular site spills out in front of me like layers of broken clay pots piled up for a milenia. Raw. Rugged. Unfiltered beauty. I fumble a panorama on my iPhone 8. But the Grand Staircase is truly something you have to see to believe. Life is pretty darn good. And it's even better over my Kiva Coffee cold brew.
The rest of the day I'm unplugged and off the beaten path. Peek-a-boo and Spooky Gulch slot canyons are legit hiding spots for some cosmic creatures and ones that I highly recommend you explore. I'm pretty sure I saw a Jedi peeking around the corner, but it was just my imagination playing tricks on me. Ask Willie. I bet he knows. Narrow passages, smooth curves, and surprising turns—this is what dreams are made of! Slot canyons, waterfalls, and the raw rugged beauty of Escalante.
Day 3: Boulder Utah or Bust
After another night at Escalante Cabins and RV home base, I feel like a local. I know my California plates say otherwise, but you can't blame a guy for trying to live the dream. I can't imagine what a special life it must be for the locals of this sleepy little hidden gem of a town. And I'm man enough to keep on keeping on and let them have their peace. (After one more night in Escalante that is. Today is another big adventure day in the Grand Circle!)
By now, my road trip mojo is at an all-time high. Guns and Roses is turned up with the windows rolled down. I'm ready to hit Boulder. (Utah, not Colorado. We're off the beaten path, remember?) I take the scenic route—if there's anything that isn't in this fair country sketched from God's pen. My jaw drops as the landscape morphs into something entirely new. Red cliffs rise. The river below cuts a jagged snaking path. We slither our way across Hell's very backbone.
Now, let's talk about Hell's Backbone Road. Yeah, that name sounds ominous, but trust me, it's for good reason. The road is narrow and winding, but it's an adrenaline rush! Plus, the views from the top are out of this world. I feel like I'm floating. Just ask ole Mister Nelson—we've got him back in rotation for the day to calm my nerves and get us down safely to Singing Canyon and into the park.
Boulder, Utah, is a little slice of heaven tucked away in the Utah wilderness. With a population smaller than my college party crew, this place has a chill vibe that speaks to my soul. I decide to go bouldering—when in. Bolder, do as the Boulderites do. Climbing these sandstone behemoths makes me feel larger than life. A couple scrapes and some more iphone treasures and it's time to meander back across the treacherous ridges, and into the safety of my trusty bunk at Escalante Cabins & RV.
Day 4: Farewell to the Canyons
As the sun sets on my epic adventure, I'm filled with a mix of happiness and bitter-sweet nostalgia. The road has been my constant companion, the Hoodoos my witnesses, my ole' Apple 8 my trusty sidekick. Zion and Arches get all the play--but these Bryce and Escalante canyons will be on heavy rotation in my mind. They're etched on my soul like the grooves of a vinyl record.
So, to all you fellow wanderers out there, don't wait for someday. Grab that map, fuel up your rig, and hit the road like there's no tomorrow. Don't worry where your plates say you're from. Life's too short to stick to the well-trodden paths. Take the detours, embrace the unexpected, pretend you're a local, and you'll find yourself dancing to the rhythm of the open road and the beat of your own drummer.
Until the next adventure, stay cool man, and keep exploring like there's no end to the wonders this world has to offer. There aren't. Peace out.