The open road calls to everyone, secretly. To most of us it isn’t just the open road, it’s the path less traveled. It’s the stone left unturned, it’s the trail that is blazed. Most people who read this will be some kind of an off-road enthusiast. Whether it be overlanding, rock crawling, mudding or just some plain old fashioned exploring.

March 11, 2017 on a beautiful spring morning we departed the sunny mountains of our home in Flagstaff, Arizona. The trip began with our first stop in Page, Arizona to hike Lower Antelope Canyon. While this is not a hardcore hike, or even much more than guided tour, I would definitely recommend it to anyone due to its simplistic beauty. While exploring Antelope Canyon you find that it is filled with all kinds of colors and shapes and textures. It is inspirational to artists and definitely sends the mind on a journey of its own.

Michael Goes Exploring Michael Goes ExploringAfter Antelope Canyon we drove down to Horseshoe Bend, as it is one of the more magnificent pieces of scenery in Arizona!

Michael Goes Exploring

From there we made our way down to Lake Powell to set up camp for the night. Luck was on our side as we were able to find a nice spot away from the hustle and bustle right down on the beach near Lone Rock! We set up camp with enough time to enjoy some margaritas on the beach and watch the sunset.

Michael Goes Exploring

In the morning we packed up and headed back into Page for supplies and decided to head into Utah where it is simply put, “Life Elevated”. Kanab was our first stop to get in a good hike before the afternoon hit.

Michael Goes Exploring

From Kanab we decided to roll ourselves out and head straight for Zion National Park. If you have never been to Zion please do yourself a favor and go. It is one of the few parks where you don’t spend your time looking down but rather, around you instead. You are right in the middle of the valleys and canyons which makes it unlike just about any other park in the region. We headed down to the Smithsonian Butte Byway right outside Rockville, UT and set up camp just before the sun started to set. The next morning would be filled with a Zion Canyonrides horseback tour! This was definitely one of the best parts of the trip.

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After the horseback ride we camped up by Bryce Canyon National Park.

Michael Goes Exploring

Bryce Canyon is a big park with a lot to see. If you have never been I would recommend staying at least 2 days to fully experience its wonder. Bryce is filled with a great number of geological landmarks known as ”Hoodoos” and you will not find a collection like this just about anywhere else in the world.

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After all the majesty we had seen in the past few days we decided to spend a night exploring in civilization so we made our way to the Cliffside Café in St George, UT. This establishment is literally situated on a Cliffside overlooking the city. The food was amazing, absolutely worth every penny. Now onto Death Valley!

Michael Goes Exploring

The first stop in the valley of death was Dante’s View, where you can get a real good look at the entire Valley below. Death Valley is a whole different kind of natural wonder, there are very few places on Earth like it and it does warrant a visit from anyone who can during the cooler seasons.

Michael Goes Exploring

With Dante’s View out of sight we headed back down into the valley to see Zabriskie point. This is an area of volcanic activity which has shaped the surrounding landscape into something straight out of an old story.  

Michael Goes Exploring

From Zabriskie we quickly made our way to Badwater Basin, the lowest point on this side of the world! At 288ft below sea level our trip had hit its lowest point yet. It is home to some animals that live nowhere else in the world and is a thing of beauty in its own.

Michael Goes Exploring

Next up was the Devil’s Golf Course, which was a very interesting spot along our way to find a campsite before the sunset.

Michael Goes Exploring

After waking up we headed out of Death Valley and into California but not without first stopping in the ghost town of Ballarat.

Michael Goes Exploring

With Ballarat behind use we made our way into the great state of California! Our first stop in this great state was Sequoia National Park. To our dismay most of the park north of the visitor’s center had been closed due to snow. That being said we still had plenty to explore. Within Sequoia NP lies the biggest tree in the world! The General Sherman Tree has more mass than any tree on the planet.

Michael Goes Exploring

After exploring what we could of the park we headed back down to Lake Kaweah and camped right on the lake. On the final morning of our adventure we set off to our final destination, Kings Canyon National Park. Unfortunately we found that the northern portion of the park was also closed due to snow. What little we were able to see of Kings Canyon was awesome though. Huge Sequoias covered in snow, Lake Hume and the High Sierras made a trip into the park more than worth it.

 

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At the end of it all I would like to leave you with this quote by John Muir: “Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” I, as he did, implore you to get out and go exploring the world around you.

— Michael Meier @redbeardsenshi