Look, sorry to be a bit Malthusian here, but in 1968, Edward Abbey described in Desert Solitude that some days he saw no visitors at all to Arches National Monument, where he worked as a ranger before it became a national park (not where we went), so I don't want to encourage any more visits to southern Utah than these photos already will. The only thing that's growing faster than Americans' use of our public lands, ironically, is Americans' indifference if not outright hostility to environmental issues ... to say nothing of Utah and other western states' efforts to seize land from the federal government ... but all of this is for another, more political entry.
If you read on, I'll explain this picture.
But I really don't know how to explain this one (the best photo of the trip). I can say that this is J's classic J Crew-catalog-model pose.
Day 1 (Day 1 proper, not including the drive the night before spent dodging deer and eating what Utahans call a "scone")
Thanks to Evan, who delivered to me in KS an embarrassment of riches from the brilliant Funkwerks Brewery in Fort Collins, CO (yeah, my suitcase back to UT was absurdly laden with beer), Day 1 was the day of Motueka, an exquisite single-hopped saison with some acidulated malt that John boldly declared his new favorite beer. (Gillian, notice the poster.)
Day 2 we switched gears to Funkwerks's flagship saison, which was every bit as good as we remembered from Fort Collins. What makes Funkwerks saisons so good is that they are less sweet than the norm, and also hoppier, and yet they retain the classic soury-y saison yeast flavor. John was in full beer porn mode. And why not ... it's hard to imagine a more idyllic happy hour.
The Day 2 hike, the longest of the trip, was absolutely spectacular.
This shot actually took about 40 takes.
People who complain about an excess of travel photos on blogs probably haven't been on this trip.
Day 3 brought the sublime Remi's Rye, a rye meets — you guessed it — a saison. Absolutely divine.
The Day 3 hike was one we'll be talking about in the nursing home: along a beautiful creek (ok often in it) to a slot canyon, topped off with Indian petrogylphs. I can't believe this place has never been used for the cover of a Wallace Stegner book.
At one point, Jonas turned suddenly serious, and, uttering the deepest line of the trip, remarked, "Lunchables are a real treat for me." If I had more time, I would ponder the many meanings of this comment. But my head spins just thinking about it. Here he is moments after this epiphany.
I think the below might be the prettiest spot in the lower 48 ...
The slot canyon started out innocuously enough.
... until a tree wedged in the canyon and blocking our progress nearly fell on Brian after he nudged it, causing it to violently crash down to the ground. Photo is a dramatization.
On Day 4, we saw some rocks (some of which looked like aliens) and a canyon.
Isaac decided to break the rules.
Ignoring this sign by carrying root beer ...
At adult happy hour, I thought we were all having a great time on our final night.
But then everyone left me.