Friday, May 2
This was the most highly anticipated day of my trip, which is saying a lot considering all that entails the area from Zion to Capitol Reef. Unfortunately, I had a magazine article that was due on this day and, because of some computer issues back home before the trip, I had not yet started the article so I wrote half of it in Zion on Wednesday night and finished it in my Prospector Inn room this morning, writing the entire story on my iPhone!
Then, after I sent the story, I saw I had an email from the day before that I was getting called back for a second interview for my dream job. I literally paced back and forth in the Prospector parking lot trying to get a signal to send an email out telling those folks that I was on vacation in Utah and wouldn't be back until Wednesday night - the scheduled interview was for Tuesday!
Finally got that email sent out and made my way east on Highway 12. While the evening before I was like, "Hmm, THIS is the Highway 12 I was so mesmorized by in 2012?", this morning I was as captivated as I was in 2012. The morning light was amazing, and the stretch of road from that high plateau overlook down through the switchbacks among the white domes just had me gasping as it did in 2012. I literally drove this stretch, each way, twice to get GoPro footage from the hood of my rental car in each direction
Stopped at Kiva Koffeehouse as planned for breakfast and sat outside with a cup of green tea. It's so peaceful and beautiful here - I love this place. And the staff is amazing. I told one of the staff members, Kate, that she inspired me to make time for the Calf Creek Falls hike during my rushed 2012 trip, and you could tell she was being genuine when she said she was touched by the fact that I remembered that. Also, I asked a young woman named Anna who worked there if I could use her laptop - explaining the story of my job interview back home - and she gave up on her school studies for as few minutes to let me use her computer. Did I mention how much I love this place?
Got to Calf Creek Falls hike later than I wanted - late morning - but still got great lighting on this amazing hike. This was one of the highlights of my 6-week trip across America in 2012, and I spent the past 18 months wanting to get back. I ran most of the way out to the falls - nearly having a heart attack at one point when a giant, multi-colored bull snake slithered across the trail right in front of me - and once again marveled at this stunning 126-foot waterfall in the middle of the desert. Unlike in 2012 I didn't have the guts to plunge into the freezing cold water, but a few brave souls did. Note: Get to the waterfall before 1 p.m. to get the sunlight on the falls.
Got back to Highway 12 and nervously but excitedly rode the Hogsback up to Boulder, where, in 2012, I had only time for Hells' Backbone Road OR the Burr Trail Road. I chose Hell's Backbone road then, since it came first, and so, longed for the past 18 months to do the Burr Trail.
It was well worth the wait. Pretty much had the whole road to myself all evening, and, just like Hell's Backbone in 2012, loved seeing all the free-roaming cows along the side of the road - added so much to the experience.