Happy New Year everyone!! Okay, one more entry about my trip. But first, I'd like to thank my family for hosting me when I wasn't out on the road. It was a very nice start and end to my trip. One of the more interesting aspects of traveling is the people you meet. I intentionally left these interactions out of my entries to help keep them shorter. So, it seems like a good idea to write about a few of them now.
I met Jim in Natural Bridges National Monument one afternoon while I was cooking on my camp stove. He was in the process of driving down to the Grand Canyon for a rafting trip. Not only did he recommend going to Capital Reef National Park, he also explained the National Park Passport to me. You can purchase a booklet/passport that has information on all the sites run by the National Park Service. Each site has a unique rubber stamp to mark in the booklet signifying your visit. Just like stamps in a real passport represent visits to a country. I forget how long Jim has been doing this, not more than ten years, but he currently has around half of the total available stamps. Which is more impressive once you realize there are currently 401 total. One of his goals this trip was to get the stamp for the remote Rainbow Natural Bridge, which is only accessible by boat from Lake Powell. In parting, he told me to keep an eye on Chris Christie, since I live in New Jersey.
While I was at Goblin State Park waiting for the sunset, a group of cyclists rode in from a day tour. I struck up a conversation with one of them and somehow we got on the subject of cycling abroad. I told her about wine tasting while cycling in Tuscany and she told me how how awesome cycling through France is. Everyone is courteous, giving cyclists the right of way and yelling encouragements. "Allez, Allez!!" They will even give you a helpful shove up hills. Well, only if you're a woman according to her husband. Perhaps I need to head to France and try some of the classic Tour de France stages. Shorter versions of course.
I was coming back from a hike in Arches National Park when a fellow photographer inquired about the ball head on my tripod. He was visiting the park all the way from Norway, one of my favorite countries. Of course, being photographers, we talked about our gear. He ordered a lens from B&H Photo before he left Norway and had it shipped to his hotel in Utah so it was waiting for him when he arrived. I'll have to remember that trick in the future.
My final interaction comes from Canyonlands National Park. I was coming back from Upheaval Dome with another hiker when we crossed paths with an older German couple and started talking. They mentioned how being seated in American restaurants reminded them of living in East Germany before the border opened up. Apparently you didn't have the freedom to sit were you want, but had to wait to be seated, unless you had connections. To be honest, I can't remember how seating works from my visits to Germany, but the American way never seemed to bother me, unless it was crowded. The husband then went on to proudly boast that he's never eaten at McDonalds. Which is where I had lunch and free wi-fi the day before. Smile and nod. Smile and nod.
Sorry, no images for this entry.