Location Scouting: A Trip Around Southern Utah

The last week of March, Justin and I took a 10 day trip around southern Utah in our ‘98 Suburban. We had both dogs and drove about 1,000 miles.

We spent the first two nights in Moab and spent the days hiking around some gorgeous trails. After leaving Moab, we planned to go to Bears Ears and hike up Bears Ears West. Unfortunately, nature had other plans. We drove three hours and got to the dirt road going into the monument and leading up to the trailhead. The only other roads going into the monument were hours away, so this was our only option. We started driving on the dirt road and laughed as we passed a sign that said “road impassable when wet”. The weather was 60 and sunny— there’s no way it could be wet. Right?

Wrong.

There was quite a bit of snow still in this area and since it was 60 degrees, it was all melting. The road went up the side of a mountain which meant the snowmelt was running across the road. We made it probably 4 miles up the road and thought all was going well, until suddenly it wasn’t. Our car sunk into about 18 inches of mud and slid sideways into the ditch on the side of the road (luckily, we slid left into the mountain instead of right and down the mountain). We looked at each other. At first we were stunned in silence, but then the reality of the situation hit is. We both yelled “FUCK!” (#sorrynotsorry, it’s the raw truth of the story) and jumped out of the car to assess the situation. 

The wheels were stuck in the mud and I tried to dig them out and put rocks under them while Justin steered us out. This worked a little bit, and all was going okay… until it wasn’t. Justin got out of the car and absentmindedly locked the doors. Meaning we were locked out. The dogs were in the car, along with our cell phones and any tools we could’ve used to get ourselves back in the car. As I paced around trying to think of a solution, Justin took matters into his own hands, got a huge rock, and threw it through the drivers window. Thankfully we were basically able to get out right after he broke the window and got back in the car. We considered continuing up the road but decided to play it safe and head back down and find somewhere else to go.

We drove a few more hours and camped at a spot overlooking a gooseneck of the Colorado river. It was absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to go back. The spot was so serene and gorgeous— seriously a spot straight out of Edward Abbey’s dreams. The next morning was sunny and pretty warm, so after breakfast I took a dromedary-bag-shower overlooking the Colorado. This is probably on my list of top favorite memories.

We left the beautiful site and drove over to St. George, where we hiked and camped on some BLM land outside of the city. We went down to Red Rocks, outside of Vegas, and explored down there a bit as well. We came back up to the St. George area and hung out for a few days, and on Saturday morning we had a shoot with some old friends at Zion National Park.

After taking their pictures, we drove home. I was really sad to be going back to the urban sprawl of the SLC metro area. I feel confined by civilization. Claustrophobic, even. I feel free when I’m next to Justin driving down a dirt road with the windows down, music up, and dogs in the back. My soul feels trapped by the materialism, competition, and judgement that plagues the American society. I am already counting down the days until we can go on another long trip (22 days until the semester ends and we have four days every week that are commitment-free. 

After we got home I made a video of our trip, you can check it out here. I love making videos of our travels— I made a video of our trip up to Idaho last summer and that really got my videography juices flowing. Keep an eye out for more videos in the future!

In the meantime, here’s some of my favorite pictures from our trip!

BackcountryAly Hansen