Over the past few months, I had developed my first case of cabin fever and desperately needed to go somewhere beautiful. I originally planned to go hiking somewhere in Appalachia but decided that more drastic measures were required. My friend Matthias (exchange student from Germany here for a year to get a Masters and finish his diplom) agreed and we bought plane tickets to Zion for spring break.
It was amazing! We spent six days in the park and one in Vegas. Everything started a little crazy; I forgot that Indiana is in a different time zone, so when we arrived at Indianapolis for our flight, we could not check our bags and lost our sunscreen and knives. Luckily we had enough time to rush through security and catch our flight–we were still running to our gate when the final call for boarding was made.
We arrived in Vegas around 10PM and encountered one of the most ridiculous scams. All of the car rental agencies are located in one building, and they have a free shuttle to ferry people back and forth to the airport. So, it sounds like a great idea. The problem is that they wanted to charge me $700 for a week’s car rental; $156 of which was supposedly for a “facility fee” for using their nice, convenient building. I thought this was a bit ridiculous and found someone else.
From there we drove to St. George, got a few hours of sleep, picked up groceries for a week, and started our adventure. The picture above is of Matthias and me at the start of our hike into Hopp Valley, which is probably the most beautiful place I have ever been. I say probably as my perspective has been skewed by months in one of the flattest places on earth. As Professor Kwiat put it recently, “The ocean is hillier.”
More pictures and details later. For now, here is a picture of Hopp Valley (click on image for the higher resolution version).
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