Last week my good friend, Taryn, and I hit the road to explore the American Southwest. We left Los Angeles with only two definitive plans. One was to take a tour of Antelope Canyon, Arizona and the other was to spend a night in Sedona, Arizona. We left the rest up to chance and spotty GPS signal in order to guide us to and from each point.
Taryn is moving to the tropics next month and she wanted to get one last road trip under her belt before reseting her clock to island time. Having only spent a handful of hours in Arizona and Utah I jumped at the opportunity to explore a pretty foreign region of our vast nation.
We spent our first night just under an hour outside of the oh so unnatural city of Las Vegas. We made camp in between two towering walls of red rocks at sunset and spent the night sharing stories on the itchiest, fiberglass picnic benches ever. Before passing out underneath a sea of stars, we joked about all of the chumps gorging themselves at cheap buffets in between draining their bank accounts in the ol' City of Sin.
We woke up with the sides of our tent dangling inches from our faces as the early morning heat began to consume our once shady campsite. The roaring desert winds broke one of our main tent poles in the middle of the night, which made for a pretty funny morning as we tried to channel our inner McGyver to fix up our sad excuse of a temporary home. After solving, what would be our only hiccup throughout our week-long trip, we hiked through Valley of Fire. Perched on rocks like lizards we found ourselves alone in one of the most unique landscapes in the country.
Valley of Fire's proximity to Las Vegas was astonishing and extremely notable. We both agreed that it's comical how two spectacularly opposite places can be so damn close. Vegas' strange disconnect from the natural world and the real world seemed like such horrible place to spend time away from the daily grind, when compared with the sights we visitied within the valley. On a map Valley of Fire's geographic location may be nestled near one of the world's most stimulating big cities, but it ended up being one of our favorite places because its solitude and isolation is surprisingly comfortable.