3 National Parks, 3 States, 2 Weeks, 1 Crap Bag - Part 1- Curing An Extreme Case of Wanderlust

Zion National Park, Utah. Road Trip. Wasim Muklashy Photography
Zion National Park, Utah. Road Trip. Wasim Muklashy Photography

So we got the call…our friends were getting married…and they were doing it where? In Colorado?


It had been quite some time since I've taken a trip really worth calling a 'trip,' so needless to say, I was hyped! Not only do we get to knock a few things off the proverbial 'bucket list,' but it would all culminate in a super celebration with all of our friends in one place…away from everything they knew. It was hard enough to get them together in the same town, but a different state?! I didn't know what would happen, but what I did know that this was gonna be good.

So a couple of buddies that were able to take the time off before the wedding got together three weeks before and over a 12-pack, decided we'd drive in through Utah where we'd hit up Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and then head into Colorado where we'd hit Rocky Mountain National Park before heading into the Loveland / Fort Collins area to visit a friend, then down to Denver to visit another friend, and finally back over the Rockies into Durango, Colorado for the wedding.

And that was the only time we met.

And that was the only plan we had.

And there were no beers left at the end of that meeting.

Next thing you know, it's 3 days before the trip, one of the trio had to unexpectedly drop out due to pressing family matters, and we're suddenly scrambling around to put together any logistics, but, if there's one thing I can count on with my friends, logistics just don't matter. We knew where we wanted to go, we've all done enough camping and backpacking to have an idea of what we'd generally need, so bought a bunch of non-perishables, threw our GSI Dualists and MSR Pocket Rocket into our Osprey packs, chucked it all into the back of the Explorer, and off we went. The 101 to the 134 to the 210 to the 15 through Vegas (can't tell you how good it felt to go right through Vegas and not stop…) where there's a whole lotta nada before finally getting into Utah with just enough time and light to secure one of the last 4 campsites, set up, cook up, and rest up just a 1/4 mile from the entrance to Zion National Park.

The next morning, we got up early to hit the Visitor Center to get backcountry permits to hike the Narrows (where a park ranger treated me to my inaugural introduction to my first back country crap bag - yes…a bag for your crap for the overnight trip through the Narrows) and to find a campsite within the park right along the Virgin River, which we'd become MUCH more acquainted with over the next several days. That's when I got my first daylight peek of what we were in for…insanely ridiculously grand orange and red sandstone peaks and valleys as far as the eye can see in either direction.

Zion National Park, Utah. Wasim Muklashy Photography
Zion National Park, Utah. Wasim Muklashy Photography

There's a moment when you're traveling when everything you're so used to thinking about day in and day out, your monotonous and cyclical comfort zone, just washes away within milliseconds, and you realize that, whether you like it or not, you just have to let go…

This was that moment - the 'ohhhh damn…here we go…' moment.


For Part 2 of this adventure, CLICK HERE.

Zion National Park, Utah Entrance. Wasim Muklashy Photography.
Zion National Park, Utah Entrance. Wasim Muklashy Photography.