Canyon Overlook Trail 1/19/22 4:45pm
Today was the first day we got to leave the ranch. It was the first day both of us had completely off of work together since we got here, and randomly one of my sister's best friends happened to be passing through Zion today, so we met up.
To be honest, I was really excited about this day for a while leading up to it, but this morning when the time came around to go, I was kind of dreading it - I don't know what it was, but I just wasn't feeling it.
Regardless, I tied up my hiking boots, packed my backpack, and grabbed my trusty green flower fleece and headed out to meet Paul.
We live about a 15 minute drive from the park entrance, and the drive was filled with talk of our fascination with mormons and Paul's previous park stops. The second we rolled up to the park ranger at the window and flashed her our America the Beautiful pass, I felt an instant serotonin boost. Immediately all my worries and sadness that had consumed me this morning vanished.
We drove through the park and it looked like we were on another planet. The enormity and intricateness of each rock structure was like nothing I had ever seen before.
A lot of hikes in the park were either closed or too difficult for our first hike back in the game, so we ended up doing the Emerald Pool hike. It started pretty bland, a flat trail that was closed about halfway through due to potential icing, so we decided to take a different fork off the trail which took us on a real hike.
The feeling of walking up this hill was breathtaking - literally and metaphorically. Hikes never fail to remind me that I'm out of shape, as every time there is any sort of incline I immediately am out of breath, but if the hike itself hadn't physically already taken my breath away, the view surely did.
There is a specific satisfaction that comes from reaching the top of a hike, as the sweat glistens on your face and you are able to look down and see what you just conquered.
After this hike we ate some snacks in the car and continued to drive around until we pulled over so I could go to the bathroom (for the 100th time. I do NOT recommend having a UTI while there are no doctors in sight). After I used the bathroom, Jules and I were standing in the middle of the parking lot when I said "it feels like summer" (and this time it wasn't because the weather - which is crazy hot and Chicago winter could never), but the feeling I had reminded me of summer.
The way being at a national park with people I love and doing hikes makes me feel, was the happiness that as a child, I would associate with summer.
Jules then reminded me of something I had supposedly said before we arrived in Utah about our new path - that it was cool we would be doing something awesome with our lives year-round, and not just have to continuously wait until summer to live out our dreams and do what we want to do.
I had started getting down on myself when we were stuck in our room with nothing else to do, and even today I didn't necessarily feel like getting back out there. But being back on the trail, sweating in my hiking boots and having no service - I remembered why I had chosen to come here in the first place. The excitement, peacefulness, and fulfillment I get out of living this life is unlike anything else.