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Adventures in Utah (A Weekend in the Life)

Hello, everyone! It’s been a while. My unexpected hiatus lasted longer than I wanted it to, and even now I don’t know how often I will be posting. I did want to take a moment to record the adventures I had on one weekend in February. My Bible study group planned a short retreat to the mountains of Utah. Our original plan was to go hiking at Zion National Park, but that didn’t work out for a number of reasons. We did, however, go on a fun adventure in the snowy wilderness. Let me start at the beginning, though.

Friday – 12:30 pm – The Drive

We didn’t get an early start on Friday; everyone was running late. The gang and I all hung out in the sun waiting for the group leader to arrive with the van we would take up to Utah. We finally got underway around 1 o’clock. The landscape on the drive was beautiful—here are some of the pictures I took along the way.

We arrived at the Airbnb after dark. Here’s a picture of the house that I took on another day:

I took a (somewhat blurry) picture of the grand window in the front room of the cabin:

After we settled in a bit, we made dinner, which was pasta with meat sauce and a salad on the side. The kitchen was designed very weirdly so that the smoke detector was on the high ceiling directly above the stove…so we had a scare while baking chocolate chip cookies. They sort of burned, but fortunately, the alarm didn’t go off. We were worried enough that we put the cookie sheet outside in the freezing night and opened some of the windows.

Cookie disaster averted, we all gathered in the front room. Everyone made hot cocoa or tea and got ready for the first Bible study session of the weekend. We read and discussed the end of Romans 7 and the beginning of Romans 8.

(I curled up in my fuzzy blanket and had a large quantity of hot cocoa and only-sort-of-burned chocolate chip cookies.)

Then, everyone retreated to their respective rooms and got ready to sleep. The girls claimed the “basement” which had a lovely view out of the high windows and a very spacious sitting room but was also extremely cold. (We couldn’t figure out where the thermostat was for the downstairs area.) I had brought a sleeping bag which I used for extra warmth, but even so, I didn’t get a very good night’s sleep.

Saturday – 6:30 am – The Morning

I was glad when morning finally came. I got ready for the day and went upstairs to make a cup of green tea and watch the sunrise.

I talked for a little while with the few people who were already out of bed. Surprisingly, I wasn’t extremely tired. It must have been the excitement of being in a new place that kept me alert throughout the day. For Saturday, we had two study sessions planned, one in the morning and one in the evening, but we also wanted to try hiking as well.

Breakfast was…eventful. One of the guys was frying spam on the stove, and for some reason, it caused the smoke detector to go off at around seven-thirty. About half of the crew was still in bed…so I guess that was their wake-up call. Oops. We opened all the windows and waited for the alarm to stop, hoping that the neighbors weren’t concerned. We also put some bacon to cook in the oven, and that actually didn’t end in disaster.

Everyone gathered for the next study session a short time later. We went downstairs this time, in the sitting room of the lower floor, and discussed Romans 8 and 9.

We took a short break to frolic outside in the snow, which was a lot of fun. We compared the landscape to Narnia and one of the other girls made snow angels. I didn’t want to get my clothes too wet, so I only poked my boots in the snow. Some of the guys practiced making snowballs and threw them trying to hit a pole a certain distance away. (None of them managed it.)

We went back inside to resume the study upstairs and finally make lunch. We assembled our own small pizzas and popped them in the oven to cook…and the fire alarm went off again. The pizzas were fine. Our ears….not so much.

Saturday – 2:00 pm – The Hike

We were running late again (we were supposed to leave at noon instead of two o’clock), plus the route to Zion National Park had changed and was now much longer, so we settled on finding a closer hike to do. We eventually chose Red Hollow Canyon Trail, which sounds very mysterious and bookworthy, doesn’t it? It was also a very accurate name. The trail wove through a canyon toward a patch of red rocks on the side of the mountain.

But it wasn’t as easy as finding the trailhead and parking the van, no, no. That wouldn’t be any fun, would it? First, we had to get lost on several muddy, icy backroads. Then, we had to get stuck in the narrow entrance to what a sign identified as “Red Hollow Ranch” with no space to turn around. The driver of our van initially had one of us get out and guide him as he made incremental progress toward turning the car around in the tiny space available. He had to make sure to not get stuck in the icy mud, and also not run over the tiny yard lights that the ranch’s owners had put along the sides of the path. You thought it couldn’t get any worse, right? Wrong. The van got stuck.

It was about then that everyone started making jokes about this being the next setting for a horror movie or mystery book—The Secret of Red Hollow Ranch sounds pretty awesome, actually—and the group leader had everyone get out of the van and push. I’m sure I didn’t contribute much, but it was a great feeling when the van slipped free from the ice (which it couldn’t get traction on) and moved forward. Everyone got back in and we went on our merry way!

Well, sort of. We parked a ways down the road because the only way to the trailhead was down a steep, muddy path that we were very sure the van wouldn’t be able to get back up if it went down it. We trekked along it on foot, admiring the snow and grimacing at the squishy mud. (It was the middle of the day, the sun was high and hot, and the snow had started melting.)

(See the red spot in the distant rocks? It was a lot more vibrant in real life. Here’s another picture further along the trail.)

We also made a snowman! His name was Johnny. Absolutely nothing bad happened to him within ten minutes of his birth, nope.

There was a place where the ground turned kind of sandy and the rocks were this pale color:

Red sandstone! (The dark patches on the rock were lichen.)

Pretty rocks. I liked the pattern of color mixed with pure snow.

Here is a closer look at the lovely color of the rock:

Close to the trail, there was a mysterious gap in the rock that a few of us checked out, but it led to nothing.

Right here, we passed into the shadow of the canyon as it narrowed dramatically, and everything grew very cold. We had been feeling warm on the way up because the sun was out in full force and we had overprepared by putting on more layers than necessary. What layers we had shed, we quickly put back on at this part of the trail.

This narrow canyon continued for quite a ways. We had to be careful not to slip on the snow, and several times we climbed over/around large boulders.

Eventually, we had to turn around because it got too steep and slippery. Here’s my favorite picture from the whole expedition, the one that I set as the blog post’s banner:

We trekked back, tired, but victorious and happy. We even played the Lord of the Rings soundtrack through a phone’s speaker to keep us motivated. (Check that one off the bucket list!) The van did not have any more issues with ice, and once we got back, we all just chilled for a while before making dinner (chicken fajitas with beans and Spanish rice).

Saturday – 7:00 pm – The Evening

We gathered for the last Bible study session of the weekend, finishing up our discussion about everything we had learned from Romans. Exhaustion had finally caught up to me, and I couldn’t keep from yawning throughout the latter half of the study. (Cuddling up in a fuzzy blanket with a mug of tea probably made it harder to stay awake, honestly.)

That night, I climbed into bed and just crashed. I slept much better that night, even having a few dreams which I did not remember at all after I woke up.

Sunday – 6:30 am – The Trip Home

In the morning, I got up early to finish packing and make my morning tea. I watched the sunrise again and took a last picture of the place. We ate a quick breakfast, loaded up the cars, and waved goodbye to the cabin.

On the drive home, we stopped in St. George to get lunch at Texas Roadhouse (the rolls are so good) and I parted ways with the van gang to drive straight home with some friends in another car. Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the van gang (or fellowship, as I sometimes like to call them), I drew them all during a moment of inspiration.

(The heights are not completely accurate; everybody to the right of center is sort of shrunk. Or they’re further away from the camera. We’ll go with that.)

In just one weekend, I got to know my Bible study friends so much better. I enjoyed chatting with them in the early mornings about the Bible or life generally. I’ll fondly remember the late nights spent huddled together on comfy couches, Bibles open and hearts eager to learn. I’m so thankful for the opportunity I had to go to Utah in February. I’ll never forget the adventures we had—from burned cookies and fire alarms to getting stuck on an icy road and hiking through a beautiful canyon.

So, that’s a small snippet of what I’ve been up to recently. I want to hear from you guys now! What’s a blessing you have been given recently?

Until next time,

Published by The Arbitrary Fairy

I am a writer, artist, introvert, book lover, and music enthusiast! On The Arbitrary Fairy, I blog about various topics that I am passionate about. I hope that my writing brings a little spark of light to the lives of my readers.

2 thoughts on “Adventures in Utah (A Weekend in the Life)

  1. I was wondering where you’ve been! But aaahh this sounds like so much fun! Those canyons, with the color contrast between the golden orange and the pure white snow, is just gorgeous. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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