Putting the Me in Utah

I decided I would simply hitch a ride to wherever the next car out was going. There were a lot of families with kids at the ranch so i just had to find someone with room in their car and not too much food smushed into back seat cushions. Well… two out of three ain’t bad, right? It’s not like my pants were so clean to start with anyways. I honestly can’t even remember their last name, but this very nice family was going back home to Salt Lake City, which sounded to me like a nice enough spot—why the hell not?

So I turned in my spurs, said goodbye to Sandy (did I even tell you about the horse that saved my life?) and Mike and then voila—off I go, turning the last 3 weeks into a mirage, the only traces remaining is the stench that I just can’t seem to shake.

Utah, Utah – there must be a song about Utah, though I can’t think of any.

I’m at a youth hostel now in Salt Lake City, explored a bit this evening, and now I desperately need a map so I can figure out where I’m going tomorrow morning. I’ve barely used my tent and since the weather out here is so perfect right now, I want to go somewhere where I can sleep under the stars. Ok, google maps…

Okay, there is A LOT to do here. I’m thinking I’ll start at Capitol Reef National Park, and then go over to Arches National Park, then down to Canyonlands National Park — that makes the most sense I think, but then Zion National Park is totally in the opposite direction, as is Bryce Canyon National Park, so maybe that doesn’t make sense. Bear with me…

Okay, this is better: Zion National Park (long bus ride from Salt Lake City, I think) to Bryce Canyon to Canyonlands and then to Arches and I’ll skip Capitol Reef.

Okay cool, I’m going to Zion tomorrow!

Wow, was just browsing and see that you can ride a bobsled at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City. And I’m kinda interested in visiting the Historic Temple Square here in Salt Lake. Maybe I should stay in SLC for a few days?

Why am I starting to stress out over this? What happened to relaxed Tim who didn’t give a damn about planning. I need to sign off and go to bed. In the morning, wherever and whenever I’m in the mood to go to, I’ll go.


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I’m Baaack!

Bro, don’t read this: I ended up hitching a ride from Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas to Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico and then all the way to Albuquerque. I was at Guadalupe Canyon (in the NP) which is by far the most magnificent and I ran into this old man who actually I’d run into already at Big Bend National Park a few days earlier…turns out he’s doing a similar trekking route as the one I’ve got (sort of) planned, so he gave me a ride ‘cross the border to our next stop in Carlsbad (it was just under an hour, still in the Guadalupe Mountains, so I probably could’ve ridden my bike—had I not been so damn trusting and left it unlocked by my hostel a few stops back. First my laptop, then this. Grrr.). But then Old Man gave me a ride to Albuquerque which is where he lives and while I probably could’ve biked that over the course of a few days, it was nice getting a free 6 hour ride.

The companionship was certainly nice while I’ve got it. I’ve met a ton of people down here, but most of these “friendships” last for the duration of a hike and then dissolve as quickly as they picked up. Though now I have random people imprinted upon the peaks of the mountains I’ve scaled in the Southwest.

George ended up being a great tour guide through the Carlsbad Caverns National Park — there’s this incredible network of underground caves that date back about 500,000 years. George knew the ins and outs and brought me to some very cool rock formations within some hidden caves. Apparently he had been bringing his kids and grandkids for years but this year they were “busy” (I think it’s more complicated than that) so he was happy to have the company of a young person, I think.

When we got to Albuquerque, he let me shower at his house and then he dropped me off at Cottonwood Mall and now George is just another bleep on my radar. Never to be seen again, but probably never forgotten. If I were to be writing a play or a screenplay, George would be the apocalyptal Old Man…the seer who comes to this world to watch over the orphan child and lead him in the direction of the gods….

I had no idea how welcome the cool walkways of a huge indoor mall would be. I’m not generally Mr. Mall, but, what an alternate universe: People who are CLEAN and SOCIALIZING WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY… almost foreign concepts to me by now. I got a twang of…something. Would I say homesickness? Maybe. I went to the food court and got something delicious and greasy and then…Tim is really reverting back to his old ways… saw a movie. Saw 10,000 BC which was both fun and crap—one of my alltime favorite genres…

I found a hostel (which is where I am now, finally online connected with the world) and I think I’m going to lay low for a few days and explore this city. My body physically needs a break from climbing.

BTW, is my movie taste that bad?
Haha—I just saw that Rotten Tomatoes gave 10,000 BC a 9% rating. That’s probably the lowest rated movie I’ve ever seen…and yet, I enjoyed it. What does that say about me?

Next stop? Hmmm… You’ll just have to wait and find out!

Stuck In New Paltz

So I’ve been laid out for a few days. I made it a total 9 plus miles South of Rosendale to the Village of New Paltz. My trip wasn’t easy. I walked along the Rail Trail, which follows the path of the old rail way from farther down state up to Kingston–the capital of Ulster County. The rail trail is a beautiful, easy hike. The trees at this time of the year are covered in their multi colored pastel imagery and the flat trail with its occasional biker is a relaxing sortie into the realm of back pack trekking. My problem came in the form of the black hole called New Paltz. The village has always drawn me, dragged me into its bowels, usually taking some dramatic, climactic event to free me from its drug induced clutches.

I have a few friends in New Paltz and the apartment I am writing in now is theirs. I’ve been here for a few days, stuck in the small apartment overlooking Main Street, which is a gathering for both the “Townies”and college students. There are nine bars on main street and I think my friends dragged me to each one, before finding ourselves back in their apartment. Its a shame I have to move on from this village, there is so much more than drinking to do here, but my trip continues on and now that I am rested from my drinking and my friends all have returned back to work I can move on and truly set myself free from these constraints. My trip planner has come in handy, pointing out with detailed precision my next leg to my journey. Out the window I can see the Mountain chain–The Shawangunks. The odd shaped mountain is called Mohonk. I’ve been there before–many times and today I will begin to go up there. Its about 10 miles from here, but a beautiful hike await me there. Its hills are orange and red now, like a multicolored blanket strewn across the mountains–autumn is in full swing in the midhudson valley.