By Melanie McDonald
Having the freedom and ability to pack up and leave for the weekend whenever I want is something I have learned to love and definitely do not take for granted. At first, this was a rough concept for me to grasp as my little OCD heart loves a good planned out trip with an itemized report of everything I will do, but I have learned that there is beauty and value in wandering and being spontaneous. While I love to visit the “hot spots” or places that are “must-sees” I have grown to love and cherish the destination spots that aren’t as popular, but just as beautiful. There is a different feeling you get when you visit these places alone and can really appreciate nature in its truest form.
If I had to choose my favorite area in the country it would definitely be the core of the Southwest region in the United States. There are so many amazing places to visit in this vast desert landscape, but the San Rafael Swell in Utah has easily become my favorite place in the state. The hot sunny days are perfectly paired with the warm nights and ideal sleeping conditions. The immense open space that surrounds you is breath taking and the feeling of knowing you are walking through old Indian camps in massive canyons and desolate areas is very humbling. It has a way of grounding you and giving you a sense of being and purpose. Walking for miles seems effortless when there is so much to look for and endless trails and ridges to follow. The most appealing aspect of the San Rafael Swell that keeps me coming back over and over again, is that you can go for a hike and see something new and different every time. There are endless canyons to search and explore without dozens of other tourists there with you.
The canyons are nothing short of incredible and after you have been hiking for a few hours and stumble upon an enormous canyon and just sit on the edge with your feet dangling over the sides you will know exactly what I am talking about. I would highly recommend to anyone that is looking for somewhere new to go, to go here, and I will most likely ask if I can come along. Just an hour outside of Price, Utah and you really will feel like you have discovered a piece of heaven here on earth.