Oh, the places you’ll sleep!

As will surprise absolutely no one, I’m having a little bit of trouble keeping up with this blog. However, it’s not for lack of writing. I’ve got thousands of words written, but I can’t put them up here for a few reasons. First of all, they’re really long and the nonfiction writing classes I’ve taken have taught me that nobody has time for that shit. Secondly, it would involve admitting to a little too many activities in legal grey areas. And last but definitely not least, my mom reads this blog.

How to sum up what the hell I’ve been doing when I’ve got more new friends and experiences than I can keep track of? These are the places I have slept since my last blog post. Hopefully these details will help get the gist of what I’ve been doing across.

June 7th- Chez Amanda (Jackson Hole, Wyoming)

Minutes before the McDonalds closed and we were kicked to the curb, I listened to the voice of a woman who’s face I had never seen explain to me that she wasn’t home but we were welcome to let ourselves into her apartment and stay for the night. Confused, I thanked her and agreed to let her dog, Archie, out in the morning.

We walked the few short blocks to her apartment, tried the door that matched the address we were given, and were greeted by the friendliest cat I’ve ever met… but no dog. We double checked that we had the right address and then went around opening all the doors just in case this dog shared my dog’s habit of sitting behind closed doors, making no sound. I checked the cat’s tag to make sure he wasn’t named Archie, but his name was Puss. There was no dog.

There was, however, stuff written in crayon all over the walls. There was also burnt sage on the stove and the microwave was used for storage, so we figured we were in the right place.

 

The next morning, we woke up to a cautious knock and Amanda herself coming through the door, apologizing about the mess and making up a song about laundry that went “I don’t wanna do laundry because it sucks your soul out.”

She seemed unconcerned about the lack of dog and left the apartment again, saying “Make some love, guys. Make it happen. Oh, and people are always coming through my door, so you might want to lock it.” She reappeared just minutes later with Archie, the dog who existed after all.

June 8th- Random Cliff (Flaming Gorge, Utah)

When the guy with the moustache and white truck picked us up in the tiny town of Manilla, he seemed very concerned about us. We thought that “Somewhere in Flaming Gorge with water and a place to put a tent where we won’t be bothered” was a completely reasonable goal, but he seemed to think it was evidence of our incompetence.

“You know it’s still cold there, right?” he said.

“We’re Canadian,” we assured him.

He was still skeptical, but ended up recommending to us a fantastic spot. He’d always driven past this spot next to the bridge and thought it would make a great place to camp, but had never tried it. His instincts were right. That night, we had a small fire and a comfortable sleep. The next morning we did a little cliff jumping and laundry.

 

Oh, and while we were in the area, we met these kids. They told us our story was better than The Notebook. Perhaps we have inspired today’s youth to take to the highways as their forefathers did.

 

June 9th- Weird Campground (Moab, Utah)

We are infinitely thankful to anyone who does anything for us on this trip. Drivers, couchsurfing hosts, and friendly people are all greatly appreciated, but there have been a few that have gone above and beyond. Those people are extra special, but nobody is as special as Monte. Monte picked us up in the tiniest of towns and took us all the way to a gas station that he knew we’d find a ride straight to Moab at. He also gave us snacks, subway sandwiches and the contact information of his daughter, who owned a campground just south of Moab. We were absolutely blown away.

In Moab, we looked for couchsurfing hosts, but that never panned out. At 9pm, we ended up calling Monte’s daughter and walking 3 miles to get to her property.

The walk was long, painful, boring, and we had to stop half way to fight about stuff. We made it there and set up our tent right before torrential downpour started. In the morning, there were car camping people doing car camping things. It weirded us out really hard. We asked awkwardly if we could leave our packs in the office for the day and paid $30 for the night.

We spent the day hiking in Arches National Park, and when we returned to get our things, we were handed $30. Turns out Monte wanted to pay for our site. Wow, Monte! You are amazing!

June 10th- Islands in the Sky (Moab, Utah)

This was a very simple night. Back to basics: go somewhere you’re not technically supposed to camp and camp there, making sure to be out of sight from potential rangers walking by on the trails. Aside from getting caught in the rain, it all went off without a hitch. It was one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever woken up to. The Islands in the Sky area of Canyonlands National Park is very aptly named. All I can come up with to describe the landscape is the word BIG. It’s really, really BIG. Here’s a picture. That white speck in the bottom left is a truck.

 

June 11th- Brown’s Hole (Moab, Utah)

Tired of getting rained on every night, I decided to take another look at couchsurfing for the area. I had skipped over Mark earlier because he lived 20 miles south of town and 4 miles down a dirt road. “Do you want to spend the night at an organic farm in the middle of nowhere?” I asked Adrian, “There’s a yurt.”

Two hours later, we were stumbling out of a mud-splattered sedan 4 miles down a dirt road. The driver had picked us up in downtown Moab and driven us all the way to Mark’s farm for no other reason than he had nothing better to do until bowling night started.

Mark’s farm was incredible. There were several ponds, one of them right outside the back porch of his straw bale house. We ate delicious food made by a sweet young motorcycle tourist and tried out all of Mark’s fancy chiropractic gadgets, all found at garage sales. In the morning, we ate fresh eggs while watching fish swim in the pond.

 

June 12th- The Needles (Moab, Utah)

 

This night could be described as irresponsible by some. Adrian and I simply walked into the middle of the desert in the Needles area of Canyonlands. We climbed a rock and watched it get dark for hours and hours. As the landscape disappeared, the soundscape came alive. The sounds of birds and bats and insects and amphibians blended to create a sound that made us believe in aliens. The sky turned brilliant colours and then filled with stars. In the last of the light, we saw three antelope bounce through the brush below us. The engines of cars and airplanes were the growls of bobcats in our minds. We stayed up I don’t know how late, but late.

 

In the morning, we swore up and down to a ranger that there was no way we slept out there, despite the tent on my back. Somehow we got away with that.

June 13th- ???????? (Page, Arizona)

I’m writing the from a McDonalds, waiting to hear back from couchsurfing requests. That might happen. It’s 9pm. I have no idea where I’ll be sleeping tonight. And I’m pretty much comfortable with that.

5 thoughts on “Oh, the places you’ll sleep!

  1. The best desert resort anywhere in the world is just north of Page in Utah, called Amangiri on 600 acres at Canyon Point. Cost is around $2000 a night. If you can couchsurf there, I will be more than impressed. Page has Antelope Canyon with guided tours (yeck), but Utah has The Wave and Buckskin Gulch slot canyon in the wilderness.

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  2. Allie and Adrian, Great stories, in the haunts that Barbara and I have frequented many times, starting when we were younger than you, camping like you in the middle of the wilderness in Arches and watching the sunsets and starry skies, by far our favourite park for getting lost in the wilderness. We also found our way into Bluejohn Canyon in the west portion of Canyonlands, where Aaron Ralston got his hand stuck for 127 hours. Keep chasing your adventures! Ron

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  3. HOLEEEEEEEE FUCK!

    That’s amazing. I can’t believe you’ve already made it to Arches. I’m quite jealous. That’s the place I mentioned to you guys, that one time. The grandfather of environmentalism, Edward Abbey, spent some seasons out there in a shiny camper-trailer, listening to night hawks and watching snakes mate and getting lost in canyons and one day getting buried in his sleeping bag under a pinion pine. … You didn’t happen to find an old sleeping bag out there, did you?

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