Zion National Park is a huge and mainly known for it’s dynamic and extremely steep red cliffs in Zion Canyon. To celebrate our wedding anniversary (just a reason to travel you see!), we ditched the traditional way of gifting diamonds, romantic candle lit dinners and many more to hike the Angel’s Landing. As I came to know about this place, I checked a few videos and fell in love with it absolutely. You can check about other national/ state parks visits here – Arches, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Goblin Valley, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Zion.
Sothe plan was to drive from my home to Zion which would easily take upto 6 hours for us and the other half had planned to hike Angel’s Landing for sunset. See my detailed post about Angel’s Landing Hike here. After completing this , Praveen suggested we take the Zion’s scenic route and later join I 15 from there. This was becasue we had to drive back to our accommodation in St.George.
Zion Scenic Route –
We were so carefree after the hike and feeling all accomplished, we were excited about this drive. Driving on and on for a while and noticed we missed a turn, but we hardly cared. Thought, we might get another connection ahead. Our much trusted GPS has never let us down. Praveen has been using it since his Canada days!. We pulled over to check the route on our GPS and it showed us another road connecting to I 15. There was no phone network, so no way we could check our phones to verify this. We never experienced mud roads before in the US, but yes we have seen them a lot in India. However in US, the least we expected was a mud road. It was another 40 miles to go and we were already so much ahead we did not want to take a U turn and go back. So we decided to take the plunge.
The beauty of America Southwest
On one side we had the Pink Sand Dunes and in front of us (very far actually) was the amazing canyons so huge and dynamic and it was the best ever sunset we both witnessed. Unfortunately, I missed to take any pics, but the image is still stuck in my mind. The sky was completely in shades of orange, red and yellow. It was fascinating. As the sunset was getting over, Praveen just halted with a sudden break. It was around 10.00 ish in the night. We already had so many animals crossing us, so I thought some animal just jumped in again. But no, to our surprise it was the tiny road full of stones and ups and downs, even difficult for a single vehicle to pass through. To my right, I see a small board “Welcome to Arizona”. I was totally in shock, as to where we landed. There was no sight if any other vehicle, only company we had was those wild animals crossing our paths and not a single soul.
To Regret or Not to Regret!
It was already dark and by this time, we had very less time to sit and think. We decided quickly no to go on the rough mud road. Finally Praveen had to take that U turn and it was pitch dark and we were in middle of nowhere. Don’t know if this was a good decision or no, but we were just OK, not cool as I would be now (Getting lost here calmed me down and it impacted me in a huge way and now I would react in much cooler way).
The mistake we did, we just had half a bottle of water and only one banana inside our car. Rest foods and water were in the car trunk. We did not want to stop anywhere in the middle of the jungle, in the dark. So we just moved on. to add to my woes, I puked in my car, and don’t go wild in your imagination here, I always have this habit of keeping a plastic cover in my car pocket to keep the garbage. So I had one extra, used it and managed to clean my self. No, We did not stop here too. I was feeling gross! But I told him not to stop. He drove sometimes at around 120 miles an hour and in between we battled o many animals just jumping in crossing the street. We managed to just save ourselves in the nick of time, maybe it was our lucky day. As we reached the Zion entrance at around 11.45 pm and we pulled our car to shoulder and I just got out to clean myself and puked out another time. I was relieved and happy to come out safely.
Reached safely to Zion Entrance –
We then slowly drove to St. George which is again like 1-1.5 hours from Zion National Park and decided to cancel our next day plans to Antelope Canyon and slept like a log until checkout time. Driving back to home was the only thing on my mind at the time.
This was truly an experience I wouldn’t forget all my life. Firstly, we were over confident and never knew that single lane mud roads exist in US. Praveen has lived in Canada for two years and US (travelled extensively all over east coast) for almost 5 years when this happened. It stressed us out no doubt, but we never stopped travelling and exploring. We became much more carefree and now if this had to happen we would probably enjoy this and have fun here too. American Southwest is rugged and has the most beautiful landscapes ever. Zion wilderness did change us for good, however we never stopped our chase for these red rocks and amazing sunsets. This was the new beginning of our adventures.!
What we learnt on the way!
- Mobile networks will be an option when you are out in the wild. It doesn’t matter if you are in US or any other third world country.
- Do not ever be over confident about any place, all countries have their share of good and bad. These reasons are not good enough to hate any country. Appreciate the good and leave the bad things. Enjoy that moment and travel slow. It’s better.
- During the circumstances, we decided not to drive on mud roads full of stones – the reason being, if by chance, if we ever had to face a flat tyre, we trying to reach out to 911 was difficult as we were so far away from main land. It was also getting dark and time for wild animals to come out.
- Our GPS was our angel that day. It saved us as we never had to guess if we were driving on the correct road.
- Inform your family of all your plan. It is extremely important. Probably, worst case, if we had to get lost in it and never managed our way out, then it would be definitely much more headache to our family in US and India.
- Finally I learnt to not panic, for which I appreciate Praveen a lot. He is always Mr.Cool.
Happy and safe travels! Writing this article to never discourage you, instead to share our experiences with you all. Travelling teaches the most important lessons which no university could ever teach.!
Thank you for visiting! If you have any questions / suggestions / feedback you can comment below or send me an email. I would love to hear back from you.
Have a nice day!