Zion National Park
When Daria came up with a crazy idea “Hey, let’s hitchhike in America” for the first time, I was totally against that. How crazy would that be if we decided to walk around only with backpacks on the other side of world?
When we were trying to plan our september trip we were thinking about visiting Hawaii. The vision of chilling, hiking and surfing on this beautiful island was so tempting, especially that Mike told us about his friend – Henry, who lives there and would love to host us. Unfortunately this place is super expensive and we would have to spend over a half of the money we had earned only on plane tickets. No worries, Muai. You’re still on my list. Most of our friends were going to travel together in groups and planned pretty much everything, but we wanted to be independent and be able to act a little spontaneous… sometimes. We had a plan to get to New York on our plane home, but we had no idea how we were going to get there. Obviously taking a plane would be the easiest and the fastest way, but would it be the most exciting one?
I do remember this day exactly, when Daria talked me into buying a map, so we can easily plan our trip. We hung the enormous, colorful United States map on a wall in our room. When we were sitting and starring at it, we’ve released how big this country was and how many different states it contained. How could we spend the most of our money on a plane to an island or to New York missing out on all of this unknown area on the way? It was the day I completely changed my mind about hitchhiking. This map literally told us that we had to it. We had to travel across America.
We had a whole month for our trip. First 2 weeks we decided to travel with our friend – Beatka, who finished her program in Massachusetts and visited me in California. Although we didn’t know each other much, I had this feeling that she might have been a perfect companion. Thanks to her, renting a car was much cheaper not only because we split it between 3 of us but also because she drove the car back into San Francisco, where she had her next plane (you can save a lot of money on driving the car back into place you’ve rent it, the gas is cheap anyway).
We only had one day left before our paths would split. Beatka was going to continue her own trip by car, me and Daria… start hitchhiking. This very last day we decided to spend in Zion National Park in Utah. We’ve checked on map that there was another way to get out from it – perfect for hitchhiking, so we could skip all drivers coming back to Las Vegas and stop those who were going east. Although we didn’t predict that not many people choose this particular route.
When we finally drove into Utah, Daria said that we were an hour closer to Poland, which meant that we’ve just changed a time zone for the first time. Enormous deserts changed into big, beautiful canyon rocks. We paid for the park entrance (30$ for the car) and long, brown road took us to a bridge with a majestic view.
Here, there was a crossroad. One way was going deeper into the park where you could get only by the bus, the other one was described as “scenic drive“. We couldn’t resist… and had another ride by our awesome car with absolutely breathtaking views. It was actually a road where we were supposed to hitchhike on the very next day… Here is a short video presenting this moment:
We decided to go hiking but didn’t have much time before a sunset, so we chose a short trail called Emerald Pools. The bus took us to the beginning of it and we were walking for 2 hours looking for some waterfalls. Summer time is pretty tricky for travelers, because it happens that you hike for hours to see a waterfall, but when you get there it’s to completely dry. All we saw I would say was a little stream. When we were coming back it was already dark and we had a luck to see a moonrise.
We came bak to the car to pack all of our staff. Slowly we started to release that Beatka was going to abandon us by nice and warm car. Honestly we couldn’t think about better companion – crazy, stubborn and scatterbrained like us. The trio we’ve created was very unique and full of positive energy. But it was time to say goodbye. She had to move on and continue her own trip.
We looked at Dodge one last time and it screeched away… We sat on a curb and fact that there was only me, Daria, our backpacks and Malibu bag suddened us. We started to think where we were going to spend our first night.
We set up our sleeping bags right next to the camping on a little beach by the river. It was very dark and we didn’t know what view was in front of us.
HITCH-HIKING ACROSS UNITED STATES
Day 1 (18/09/16)
We only had 1 day for hiking around the park so we quickly gathered up. Our backpacks were super heavy so we asked a random couple if we could leave them in their tent for several hours. They obviously agreed and we gave them a couple of beers in exchange.
We really wanted to go for a popular hike called The narrows, where you walk through the river. But we weren’t prepared for this kind of trip and chose another nice trail called Angels Landing. The higher we were the more beautiful it was. In the end there were chains that we used to feel more safe. I don’t hike much in my life but I have to say it was really exhausting. It was very hot, but worth it.
After this tiring but wonderful trip we took a shower on camping and stand on the familiar, brown road. The scenic drive was leading to the end of the park, but barely anyone was driving this way. The only thing we wanted was to get out from this freaking park. Finally we stopped a pick-up and got a short lift in the back of it.
But we were full of hope to the end and we managed to get another lift before the nightfall. They took us to a main road with a big gas station and restaurant where we had a good meal. We set up our tent on a private camping, where lady charged us 5$ and warned about prowling… mountain lions.