The Trip of a Lifetime

Spring Break in the American West

After interviewing twenty-plus outdoor enthusiasts and lovers of our wild lands, I would like to showcase one of my personal favorite experiences thus far in the outdoors space. Reminiscing on these eye-opening adventures make you really miss them and the people with you at the time…this is simply a call to action to get back out there and experience new things!

It was Spring Break 2016 and a group of us wanted to go out West instead of the typical beach trip. Over the couple months before our trip commenced, we started to lay out a brief outline of places we would like to go, and things we would like to experience. To bring you up to speed, I am not much of a planner, so I thank the rest of the group for their skills! Pay attention to the word ‘BRIEF’ outline. Check out my Instagram account below for more of my adventure content!

We had 10 days to drive, explore some of the West, and drive back East to make it back to school on time. There we were, Friday morning heading out to see new lands and drive on roads we had yet to be on. We made the executive decision to skip class that Friday, because who really looks back and wishes they went to class the day before a big trip?!

We took two separate routes due to weather and our front wheel drive car not being equipped with chains. The first crew went the Northern route through OH out to CO initially, and then down to Zion. My group went the Southern route experiencing IL on accident…thanks Jordan, then heading down through Texas and then into Zion. We were absolutely thrilled, full of excitement and wanderlust. We had great conversation on the way and then the night before our Trek started.

At 4AM the day before our Trans-Zion trek, a couple of us went and stood in line to get our permit, you will see more about this as Kurt wrote in his story. He outlines the trek quite well, so he can take it from here. Please see below.

From Kurt Kowalski’s ‘Meet the Explorer’ post.

‘Most Comical hike has to go back to Zion. This was the hike that got me hooked on overnight back packing, but the entire trip itself is what made it so memorable. We had a group of six, for what was our first spring break trip of college. While most people were on cruises or at the beach, the six of us did a little research (very little) and concluded that we wanted to go to Utah to hike the Zion traverse. We all skipped class the Friday before our Spring break and took off from Morgantown, West Virginia for Zion for a hike that we had no permit for, nor were we sure of how to get one. We took two cars and for whatever reason we took two separate routes to get there, making stops where we could fit in our 10 day schedule. Of the 10 days, we stayed in a tent about seven of them. Keep in mind these were two 3-person backpacking tents only enough room for three people and nothing else. With 37 hours of driving and the tiny tent, our sanity was questionable by the end, or maybe from the beginning hard to tell. To keep things short, I’ll skip through the lack of planning, especially for food, but somehow we managed to make friends with some Idaho folks who made us gourmet three course meals every night on a kettle over the fire. We really missed that food when we were on our three day backpack expedition across Zion.

When we finally got some more information on the permit for our hike, we had to send a couple volunteers to wait in line at 4AM, and when they asked how many people we had in our group and we told them ” just 6″. I will never forget the look on the park rangers face when she repeated back to me with sarcasm “just 6”. Apparently that is a big group. But we got our permit and were off the next day. There was never a dull moment. One of our friends was documenting the entire trip through selfie videos on his phone, with hysterical commentary, another member got blisters so bad that at mile 20 he told us to leave him behind to die with the most sincerity a person can have. We went from 85 degrees at lower elevation to two inches of snow the second night at 9,000 ft. elevation. Every night of the hike we fell asleep by 7 PM and woke up the next morning at 7AM. With a lack of food and water the only thing keeping everyone going was the incredible view around the next corner. It was a landscape that none of us have seen before. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending at the top of angels landing surrounded by 3,000 ft. shear cliffs.’

After completing the 50 miles, sweaty, some of us sick and worn out, we arrived back to the visitors center. I still remember the look on peoples’ faces when we said we just trekked across the whole park in three days. Our fellow adventurers that rode the bus to the visitors center surely knew we had been out there without showers, I am sure it was quite a foul smell.

It was such a great trip with quite an amazing crew. I would not have changed a single thing, plans for another trip of the same caliber are in the works as we speak.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them in the comment section below. Thank you for stopping by and reading our story about the Zion Traverse experience!

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