I'm a firm believer that everyone has a place.
Where the air fills your lungs just a little bit fuller and the sun shines a bit brighter on your skin.
A place where your mind is clear, and your heart is full.
The desert is my place.
I grew up in the mountains--a green little valley in Montana.
When I was in the 6th grade, my family moved eastward to the plains. Fields of wheat rolling gently into rocky mountains. A place I love to visit now and constantly miss, but never fully appreciated when I was a teenager ready to fly the coop.
I married a California boy, and while I always enjoyed a visit to the beach, it never had the sparkle I always imagined it would.
So I just assumed I was a mountain girl.
That was my place.
It's where I was born, and our current home in Utah has mountains on mountains on mountains.
I didn't know what I was missing.
I visited the desert a few times as a teenager. Arches and Zion National Park.
I remember being WOWd by the redness of the rock and the softness of the sand......but I was a teenager and let too much pass me by.
On and off over the next 10+ years of my life there were bits of desert here and there, but never anything that left a mark.
And then two Aprils ago, my little family went to Moab. (here)
I loved it.
We explored and let the dirt fill our shoes.
But I still didn't know.
The next month I found myself in Zion. (here)
We played in the canyons--up and over rocks.
And then I went for a run.
About 12 miles through the desert mountains.
Over the slick rock, through the powdery fine sand.
It was deep within the walls when I knew.
Towering red cliffs hanging over my head.....I felt it.
This was my place.
It's my drug.
When it's been too long, I crave it. Need it.
My mind aches and my feet beg to be stained red with earth.
I get anxious counting down the days until our next trip.....and it never, ever disappoints.
In the past few years we have been lucky to explore all different areas of the Utah desert--and each place has it's own gifts to offer.
Moab is a giant playground.
Negro Bill Canyon
To truly experience the desert, you have to camp.
You have to see the starry sky at 1am when you head to bed.
You have to breathe in the cold air at night as you hide your head in your sleeping bag to escape the chill.
You have to see the clouds open up and empty out in minutes, leaving a rainbow connecting the cliffs.
You have to wake up and climb the rocks. Find a quiet place to sit and think before you start your day.
Clear your head and prioritize.
Study the rocks that surround you and wonder how many others have sat in that same place.
You have to go with friends.
Friends who will play and laugh and explore with you.
You have to watch a sunset.
Watch how the rock changes from pink to orange to a fiery red.....all in minutes.
a quick hike up to Delicate Arch at sunset
The desert is my place.
I can find peace and excitement in the same moment.
I have ran away to the desert and buried my problems in the earth.
The sands have stained my hands, my clothes, and left a mark on my soul.
I enter the desert with a jumbled mind and always leave with a clear vision of what is important.
And it's always, always hard to leave.
I would love to know.....where is YOUR place?
Don't know yet? Keep looking! Your place is out there somewhere.
last fall's moab trip HERE
all of our desert travels HERE