Kansas was a mixed bag. We were surprised and impressed by the beauty of the rolling plains of much of the eastern part of the state; everything got a whole lot flatter in the western half (topography is directly correlated with excitement). Luckily, a sea of wind turbines entranced us, and spirits were buoyed by the warmth and sunshine and several heated games of ‘My Cow.’
We made it to Denver for dinner, hoping that L&L’s Hawaiian Barbeque could provide us a taste of Bo’s homeland, but a 30-minute wait for food forced us to look elsewhere. After an extremely (almost uncomfortably) filling meal at a Mexican grill a few doors down, we plunged westward through the Rocky Mountains. (Of note: it is at this time that the majority of the Ball Kids became aware that Aidan had not yet had a bowel movement on the trip. Panicked, we made plans to purchase laxatives the next day if the situation remained unresolved.) The big takeaway from this section of the drive: the Rockies at nighttime are significantly less scenic than during the day, when there is light and the mountains are visible. We made quick camp at a state park off I-70, allegedly adjacent to a lake, though no lake was visible.
Rising early the next morning, we discovered that there was a lake (!), and that it was mostly frozen over, and that we were cold, so we packed up and resumed our drive. It was at this point that we started seeing things that were not endless grass and farms, and we were pretty stoked about this. First some mountains, and then cool cliffs and canyons, and more mountains— great stuff, overall. We reached Moab at midday, despite spending much of the morning stuck in a caravan of cars terrified to pass two intimidating state trooper SUVs.
We shopped for groceries (and digestive aids) among hordes of our dirty outdoorsy compatriots in Moab, and then set a course for Monument Valley. Slow service at an A&W along the way was offset by the scenery, which was breathtaking. Overwhelmed by the beauty of the buttes in Monument Valley, we continued southward. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening snaking between Utah and Arizona, and currently make our final approach towards Zion under the cover of darkness. Tomorrow we'll get permits, run our shuttle, and hopefully get on trail!