call to place: the canyon & cactus road trip

I’m called to spectacular canyons, blooming deserts, Saguaro cacti, colored bands of limestone and hoodoos, hanging gardens, wrinkles in the earth’s crust, and raging rivers.  I’m called to get into the great outdoors and hike. I’m called to get far from civilization and out into the wilderness, far away from the daily news cycle and the plague of COVID-19.


Arches National Park – Utah

My heart was set on going to west Texas and New Mexico this year, but as fall approached, I could see it wasn’t going to work out.  New Mexico has a lot of restrictions for travelers, notably a required two-week quarantine. Though they recently updated their travel restrictions, my home state of Virginia is still on their list of states required to quarantine. Many of the state’s state parks and museums are not open.

In west Texas, the main place I wanted to visit was Big Bend National Park, but the park is only partially open, and the recommended place to stay, Chisos Basin Lodge & Restaurant, is closed. Thus my reason for going to West Texas went down the drain. Though there were other places I wanted to visit, Big Bend was the biggest draw, and if New Mexico was out, I knew I needed to rethink my road trip.

A long-time destination on my list has been Arizona and the southwest corner of Utah.  We did the Four Corners area, including southeast Utah, in May of 2018.  Mike and I have always wanted to visit what is known as The Grand Circle, which includes the parks: Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Grand Canyon National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park. We visited Arches and Canyonlands in 2018, so, skipping those, we would like to do a larger area than the Grand Circle, extending a little north into Utah and south down into Arizona. We’ve decided to skip the Grand Canyon this time around.

As I only recently decided to do this trip, I am going to be doing it by the seat of my pants. Mike plans to fly out to meet me in Denver, and he will do the Grand Circle parks with me.  Our son Alex and his girlfriend hopefully will drive along with us from Colorado and do the parks too.

After they all leave, I hope to head south into Arizona. I will drive out to Colorado (three 8+ hour days) and back (four 8+ hour days) by myself.

I’ve been to the Grand Canyon once in my life, on my road trip with with my first husband in 1979.  At that time, we only stopped briefly into the park, and, as our camera had been stolen in San Diego, we didn’t take any pictures.


Canyon de Chelly in Arizona

I hope to leave in mid-October, but many things need to fall into place. 🙂