I woke up in time to pack and meet Chris. Â I put my necessities bag which could have contained a baby rhino next to his which could have barely fit two squirrels. Â Our first stop was to Panera bread to make a map. Â This was a process of using, of all things, Bing Maps, over mediocre Wifi to plot out destinations. Â Our draft route hadn’t changed much from the one we threw together some number of months ago. Â Next we went to REI to realize that they held almost nothing for us. Â Walmart was the motherlode. Â We exited with a propane stove, a pan that somehow cost $4, tuna fish cans, oatmeal, trail mix, and a styrofoam container that seemed as resilient as a soap bubble. Â Our final stop was a Radioshack so I could buy a microusb cable and I paid $15.00 for it through gritted teeth. Â That was literally 1000% percent the price of something similar on Monoprice and briefly wondered if I could have something overnighted to a National Park.
We drove north towards Zion and I promptly nodded off. Â Chris and I went to Panda Express, I for the first time, and we drove again towards Zion. Â Once again, I nodded off waking while in the line of vehicles to get to Zion. Â Zion is cut through by Utah State Route 9. Â We traveled it from entrance to exit and this is what it looked like.
Every aspect of the park said “time”. The stratification of the rocks, the plants growing between millenium-old cracks, sheep that seemed to view us as just a blip on the radar. I was fine with a sense of elsewhere.
We returned to visitor center and learned that no campsites were available at the main camping area but that Lava Point, some 45 minutes away, held six unmonitored campsites that may or may not have space. We shrugged our shoulders and headed to lava point.
The ride to Lava Point reminded me of how little I know. I didn’t know the names of the microclimes we went through each with their unique mixture of tree, shrub, and grasses. I didn’t know what the rocks were, or how to name or identify the strata. I didn’t know what the types of erosion were nor what caused them and even the massive chasms in the ground were a mystery to me. Physicists may see their science everywhere, and as a trained chemist I feel I get extra context to the supermarket, but geologists are the closest to an extra sense. They can see time and here I was envious of their second sight. What stories did they know that I didn’t and how could I learn them?
We reached Lava Point and there was a single open campsite. We set up, talked, and prepared our first meal of good night sausage. Considering the thermodynamics of the pan and the thickness of the sausage, I may have trichinella but the sausage was good.
I tried to take pictures of the stars with no luck and settled into the tent where my air mattress took up probably 75% of the available floor space. Chris hadn’t tried to kill me and was graceful in the size of my footprint. It was nice to see him again and I hoped soon I’d remember how to talk to him. We had many days for that though. In the meantime, sleep.