As a kid, my family never really got to travel much. I never really saw more than a few states and I definitely didn’t get to see other countries. My perception of life outside of Ohio rested solely on what was provided through text, media, and eventually the internet. With Northwest Ohio being rather flat and admittedly dull, my imagination filled in the vast gaps of what it was really like to be somewhere else.
On a rather last minute request, my roommate asked if I could fill in for a family member that could not join in on a road trip he had been planning along with two others. The journey, dubbed “PA2CA,” would be taking us out of the Steel City all the way to the Golden State and back again, all in the course of two weeks. I decided to join, and I did not regret it. Except for Kansas. Kansas was terrible.
Now, I know it isn’t a trip to anywhere exotic or extreme, but for someone who never had the chance to travel like myself, it really helped shift my perspective on, well, everything. Our first stop was Garden of the Gods in Colorado. Let it be known that Colorado and California are tied in my mind for the most beautiful states I have been to yet. Garden of The Gods supplied us with a lot of climbing and exploration, even maybe in areas where we weren’t supposed to be. Climbing to the top of those red rocks felt so rewarding even if they weren’t all too grand in scale. This marked an awesome first destination on the trip, and this early on I already felt like I had been deprived of adventure my whole life.
Utah was next, where we visited Arches National Park. This place was kind of like a more arid Garden of the Gods, but much larger. While there are some similarities, it had a completely different feel. Desert. I had never been in a desert before. Until now that’s just something I’ve seen in movies or games. A desert. Strange, too, since a lot of America is made up of desert land. It’s just so dry and empty, but still interesting in its own way. The air was hot, but dry. Suck on that, humid Ohio. Anyway, Arches offered a lot to see and I really would like to see it again some day. I should note that it was very quiet and peaceful here. Even the tourists we were near were just silently admiring it all. It was nice.
Next up was my absolute favorite stop: Redwood National Park. There was something about exploring those woods that made me laugh. I felt like a kid, the way you feel about some new discovery. Looking up to the treetops, standing next to the trunks. It all sounds lame when I type it out, but being there really cannot be explained. It just gives you this feeling. And there was this awesome Zelda-y tree cave I chilled in for a while. I could have spent so much more time here. I’m going to return to the Redwoods someday for sure, and I definitely think that everyone should go if they’ve never been. Also, if you’re in California, you should check out Glass Beach, where the shore is covered in rounded glass pieces that were dumped into the ocean decades ago and resurfaced. We also got to see whales in California.
Yosemite was a close second to the Redwoods. We hiked up Vernal and Nevada Falls while we were there, and it wasn’t quite as strenuous as I thought it was going to be. Going up there and reaching the top felt like such an achievement, and you’re rewarded with not only a sense of pride but a pretty expansive view of the area. It’s pretty crazy. Glacier Point might have it beat though in terms of best view. There’s a lot we didn’t get to see at Yosemite, so I feel like there’s a second visit in order. Also, Sequoia trees are cool as well, but they seemed less impressive after seeing all the Redwoods. Perhaps it’s because there are so few of them and the Redwood forest is filled with so many tall and large trees that seeing a few wide trees in one area was less awe-inspiring.
It rained at the Grand Canyon. We didn’t get to thoroughly enjoy it, but I was still happy that we got to see it. I would’ve loved to have done some hiking there but unfortunately we weren’t able. We got to see a lot of elk up close. Really up close. After the Grand Canyon, we went to Mesa Verde where we took a tour of the Balcony House, an ancient Native American cliff dwelling. I wish we were able to explore these areas much more freely, but I understand why we can’t. Still, it’d be awesome if we could. We got pretty close to a bear while in Mesa Verde.
We also made stops in San Francisco and Las Vegas, but those were nothing in compare to everything else we saw on our trip. In – N – Out Burger alone is worth traveling for out west for. Seriously.
I could type so much more about this trip, but I am going to wrap up here and include some pictures I’ve taken along the ride. I expect my travels and my experiences while I was away to sneak into my future art and drawings. Even though I like my job, it was good to be able to leave because now, I feel I can think and create better based off of experiences rather than perceptions.
You can read more about the trip from the others at pa2catrip.wordpress.com