As December began to slow down, Matt and I were able to spend the remainder of the month and the start of the new year in beautiful Utah. A special thanks goes out to our dear friend, Sar, who made this experience possible. The first half of our trip took place in Salt Lake City, checking out Temple Square, the local slopes, and scenic Antelope Island. From the modern Mormon buildings to the surrounding towering mountains, Salt Lake proved to be an exciting city with deeply rooted religious values and an eclectic mix of unique restaurants and shops.
Afterwards, we drove four hours south to Moab, home of Arches National Park. Living in New Jersey, we would never be able to see the night sky the same way this small town showed us. While the park is only a mile from downtown Moab, the next closest town is about twenty miles away, creating very minimal light pollution after sunset. The park itself is open 24 hours, which was perfect to check out the stars on our own. Luckily, no one else wanted to spend their nights in 4 degree weather.
Aside from the endless star filled nights, Arches is gorgeous during the day. Locals mentioned that this has been an unusually cold winter so far, and the snowfall was a bit of a surprise. We did not initially know what to expect with desert weather, but certainly were fortunate to have clear blue skies and no wind.
Just about forty-five minutes outside of Moab, we found ourselves in Canyonlands, another one of the many national and state operated parks in Utah. This and Dead Horse Point State Park are vast tracts of land, full of deep valleys and massive canyons that you would never find on the east coast. With the kind of fear of heights that I have, my camera experienced the highest level of shaking to date. Thank goodness for deep breaths and a fast shutter...
...and it was totally worth it.