Coming Back to the Great Outdoors
We have a mutual love for the great outdoors, and being unable to enjoy it as we normally do has definitely been eye opening. We missed adventuring but fully understood the need to take a break. Staying safe remains our number one priority.
Recently Utah opened its doors to some national parks. Utah is a photographer’s dream with stunning landscapes, extraordinary national parks, and endless adventures are around every corner. Our crew loaded up and spent a week visiting the area.
Stop No. 1 – Valley of Fire
Driving is equal parts fun and exhausting, but the destination is worth every mile traveled. We drove from California and hit Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada prior to arriving in Utah. If you have been to this park, you know how stunning it can be at sunrise.
Upon arrival we realized there was only one other car in the park. We pretty much had the entire place to ourselves and captured some amazing photos as the sun came up.
Valley of Fire is beautiful regardless of the time of day, but we definitely recommend visiting at sunrise and sunset for gorgeous colors softly lighting up the red rock. This is an ideal place for photography and exploring a unique landscape. While the desert itself is hot during the day, mornings can be cool. I wore my W’s AIRKÜHL Hoody, which provides sun protection and is the perfect lightweight layer for cool mornings.
Stop No. 2 – Zion National Park
Zion National Park is one of the most popular in the park system. When we heard it had opened, we immediately researched to find out more. We feared it would be very busy, and with the ongoing COVID-19 concerns, we wanted to make sure we took all necessary precautions.
We camped outside the park in a local campground with spacious campsites. Many areas of Zion are still closed, but information is clearly posted on the park’s website and on location. This was our first experience of how it might be going forward for in all national parks, and we felt Zion did a great job keeping everyone safe and educated.
We explored Zion for the day and night, and we captured some incredible Milky Way shots in the early morning hours before heading to our next destination.
Stop No. 3 – Bryce Canyon National Park
When we arrived at Bryce Canyon National Park we were surprised to discover that the visitor center was open. They had staff onsite answering questions and giving trail information. There were more visitors at Bryce than Zion, but everyone was very nice and followed the park guidelines and instructions.
My last journey to Bryce was during a snowstorm, so this was my first time fully experiencing Bryce. I was truly captivated by the amazing views here. We walked the trails, capturing images along the way.
One thing we didn’t expect was the drop in temperature. Bryce sits between 8,000 and 9,000 feet in elevation, so the temperatures are much cooler than Zion. We didn’t think to pack our KÜHL SPYFIRE JACKETS, our go-to jackets for cold temps. Thankfully we had many layers of gear with us and bundled up. Ranz wore his FIREFLY HOODY, while Darwin sported his STRETCH VOYAGR.
Stop No. 4 – Off the Grid
During our week long trip we explored many places off the grid. These unique locations are found only by adventuring to them. Several of the locations were around Factory Butte Recreation Area and Capitol Reef National Park where we had little to no cell reception.
To explore these areas, you must be prepared for anything. You need to carry your own water, food, and supplies with you. Our crew always brings hand-held radios since cell service is so limited off the grid. We spent some cold nights and warm days in Utah. I always pack my KÜHL base layers, just in case, and I’m glad I had them on this trip.
Be Prepared & Plan for the Unexpected
With COVID-19 unknowns, we made sure we packed all of the supplies we needed on our trip, but we were pleasantly surprised to see many places open with simple guidelines. We do suggest researching any area to make sure you’re aware of any restrictions. Check the national park websites frequently for updates.
Adventures in general always seem to have some unexpected twists and turns. On this trip, we encountered a surprise snow storm and had some car troubles that forced us to scrap part of our original plan. But the word adventure means just that. Whatever happens, it’s all part of the experience.
We are Adventure Crew USA, a group of like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds with a passion for the outdoor life and photography. We travel and explore together as much as possible. By coming together and sharing our goals and visions, we get to offer each other unique insights and perspectives on work and life.