I am on the road again, just for 10 days. My land lady in Sedona is coming back to use her house so I am using this opportunity to travel, again. I didn’t have a particular goal in mind although I knew the general direction I was going to go—Utah. Once again, I was just going to “tumble in the wind”. So free!
My day actually didn’t start too great—I was too excited that I drove too fast. The end result is I got a speeding ticket! “This is not good. My insurance is going to increase! I don’t even have a job right now.” After a few moments of negative thoughts, I calmed down. It was my fault and nothing much I can do now other than deal with it when I get back from my trip. Nothing is going to stop me from enjoy the trip. Nothing!
Well something else interfered with my day as well—the wind was so strong when I reached my first intended destination, Monument Valley, that I was told I couldn’t set up my tent. “Others already asked for their refund.” Yes, the wind was so strong that it looked like fog in the sky. I guess that is a “dust storm”?
Luckily, I didn’t mind being “blown away” by the wind. So I “tumbled” along, driving forward. My next destination was Natural Bridge National Monument. I have been to this park before. Since it was cloudy, I didn’t have any good picture of this amazing place. So it wouldn’t be too bad to revisit the place again and take some nice pictures. At least, the day after was supposed to be nice enough.
Well, it was my “lucky” day—the campground at Natural Bridge was full! Now what? The place was very remote. The closest town is about a couple of hours away. Seeing my disappointment, the ranger was very nice to offer, “There is a BLM land (Bureau of land management) right outside of the park. It is primitive, but you can camp there, for free.”
So, I did—camped for free, in the wildness. Oh, there were few other groups of campers around, but they all scattered around in a large wooded area that I couldn’t see or hear anyone from my spot. I’ve camped countless times, but I’ve never camped in wildness, on my own. I was either alone in a campground or in primitive site with others. This was another first. When I went to my tent, I brought the bear spray with me, just to give me a peace of mind. 🙂
It turned out that I slept really well. Other than the wind was blowing, I couldn’t hear anything else. It was actually quiet serene, surrounded by nothing except pure nature! I loved it!
The bad news, though, even I hiked all the trails in the park (about 10 miles), I didn’t get any good picture. The day was dark and cloudy, good for hiking, but sucked for taking pictures. So, being in the park twice, I can’t share any good picture of the three natural bridges which are spectacular.
One thing I am so happy to find is rock arts in the canyon below. They were so clear that I thought it might belong to the art of “modern” people. I did show my pictures to the ranger and I was assured that they are real pictographs and petroglyphs!
By the way, if you are there and have time, do hike down the canyon. The trail is unmaintained, but the view looking up the rocks is worth the trouble. Most people only hike to the bridges, without going through the canyon. I loved it, being there all alone. Natural Bridge is a wild place, perfect for solitude.
I did meet a nice gentleman when I took the short hike to the bridge in the late afternoon the first day. Joe was coming up the trail as I was going down. We stopped and talked, for about 10-15 min. It turned out that he was a professional photographer! And he has a brother who lives 15 miles from Sedona where I will be back in 10 days. We plan to hike together when he goes to visit his brother in 2 weeks.
I often wonder why sometime we stop to talk to someone in a trail, while other times we just nod, or smile, or simply say hello. Perhaps it was his smile—friendly, cheerful, broad. Although most people are pretty happy on the trails, not everyone with such joy written all over his or her face. I guess he probably found the same delight on my face. At least I hope that was the case. 🙂
It was a good start of the trip-wild, free! Well, almost “free”—I still had to pay for the ticket when I got back. 🙂
PS. my photo website: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/qing-yang.html