Freeing Up Your Mind Through Solo Travel

A small waterfall pours over an eroded ledge in Coyote Gulch in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah (Mike Cavaroc)
Small Waterfall and Cottonwood Trees in Coyote Gulch, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah

During the course of my trip, I had plenty of time to myself which, looking back in hindsight, isn’t something I’m particularly used to. In most of my earlier life I yearned for the company of others. Before moving to Jackson Hole I was living with my girlfriend at the time. Currently, even if it’s just a few, I interact with people on a daily basis. Even if I’m working at the computer, I still occasionally connect with other people via email, Twitter and Facebook. While it’s great to have camaraderie among friends and family, whether in person or digitally, we’re still inundated with other peoples’ thoughts, even if we share our own opinion of them in agreement of disagreement.

On my recent road trip, spending roughly two weeks by myself in the southern Utah desert, I noticed that I seemed to have a better flow of thoughts, ideas or personal revelations that I was greatly inspired to write down.
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Waterfall in Zion National Park

A waterfall pours over a cliff at the north end of Zion Canyon in Zion National Park, Utah from a recent storm. (Mike Cavaroc)
Rain and Snow-Melt Waterfall in Zion National Park, Utah

Another site on my trip I was anxious to get back to and get some new, updated shots was Zion National Park in southern Utah. I was trying to get there before a big cold front was coming there and upon driving south on Highway 89 to get there, I discovered I didn’t quite beat the cold front. From out of nowhere it began snowing just as hard as anything I’ve seen here in Jackson Hole. Given that it was snowing all the way in, I was excited to get into the park and get some shots of it covered in snow, something I had yet to see and had always wanted to see. By the time I reached the entrance station however, the biggest part of the storm had passed and the snow was melting fast!
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Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah

Eroded sandstone leaves all kinds of unique rock formations in the high desert environment of Kodachrome Basin State Park in Southern Utah. (Mike Cavaroc)
Light Breaking Through Clouds in Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah

I actually can’t say enough great things about this state park! I had passed by it before a few times not thinking much of it and finally on my way back on this trip decided to stop in and see what it was all about. Kodachrome Basin State Park lies in southern Utah just off of Highway 12 about ten miles down a paved road starting from Cannonville, Utah. The state park branches off and heads north while the main road continues on and becomes a rough dirt road called Cottonwood Canyon Road bringing you through some impressive scenery of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The park itself features all kinds of uniquely eroded sandstone formations and is believed to have once been a Yellowstone-like area with geysers and hot-spots that have filled in.
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Coyote Gulch in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah

A large, eroded overhang stretches out over Coyote Gulch in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. (Mike Cavaroc)
A massive eroded overhang covers part of Coyote Gulch in southern Utah

I didn’t have many plans or destination on my road trip, but one thing I was determined to do was backpack into Coyote Gulch, even if only for a night. I had seen a few photos and knew I had to get back there. On my way down to Phoenix, I missed my opportunity due to a big storm that had come through and threw off my chance to get there at that time. On my way back, yet another storm had come through, but I had luckily gotten trapped in the area because of that very weather system. The next day I headed out there after checking with the Visitor’s Center in Escalante, Utah about the road conditions.

One way into Coyote Gulch is to backpack in from the Hurricane Wash Trailhead in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
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Grovesnor Arch in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Grovesnor Arch towers above the landscape in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. (Mike Cavaroc)
Grovesnor Arch towers above the landscape in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

One drive I was wanting to try out along the trip that I was ultimately a bit disappointed in for various reasons was Cottonwood Canyon Road in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Perhaps it was just the wrong time of day and perhaps I was just being too picky for a campsite, but I drove through it particularly a little frustrated with the amount of power lines running through the most scenic parts. However one stop along the way was well worth the journey, and that turned out to be Grovesnor Arch. It was a pretty colossal double-arch that made you want to get out and admire its beauty. There’s even a short trail to get a little closer.
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Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

A setting sun casts soft shadows over the eroded mountains of Dinosaur National Monument in eastern Utah. (Mike Cavaroc)
Some of the intricately eroded forms of the mountains in Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

This is the first opportunity I’ve had in posting an update from my road trip thus far, which is going incredibly well! This was from my first night in Dinosaur National Monument which actually spans both north-eastern Utah and north-western Colorado. The Colorado section wasn’t quite open yet so I camped in the Green River campground and got to go to sleep to the sound of the Green River rushing by. I had passed by it back in 2004 and wasn’t able to go in but was always curious about it. I finally had my chance last week and I’ll be going back into the main section on my way back home. At this point I’m still making my way down to Phoenix having gone through, Dinosaur National Monument, Canyonlands National Park, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Natural Bridges National Monument, drove the Burr Trail through Capital Reef National Park and finally waited out a cold front in Zion National Park.
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