Getting back to our dirtbag roots, St George

Our kind of gourmet meal, somewhere in Idaho, 2010

Our kind of gourmet meal, somewhere in Idaho, 2010

When I met TDL, he worked at a gear shop and his life was a series of climbing trips and skiing adventures. He was pretty much a dirtbag. I have always preferred living out of my car and would rather be inside than out, so we fit together pretty well and created our life together based on our love of dirt and travel. We have slept outside all over the western US, chicken bussed through Central America, and have mastered the art of the camp shower.

During the past two years, however, we have been getting outside less and less. TDL’s nursing school was an intense year, and then we were working opposite schedules, and now we are in Vegas. I am unemployed here in Vegas, so TDL has to pick up the slack and work copious amounts of overtime. Between the overtime and Portugal, we haven’t had much outside time. That’s all changing now. This trip reminded us what is important: playing outside.

As soon as TDL returned from his weekend in Kingman’s ER, we loaded up the car and were on the road. It’s an easy two hour drive from Vegas to St George, UT, where we filled up our cooler at Natural Grocers and continued on to the Red Cliffs Campground. Red Cliffs is a gorgeous campground, with hiking and red cliffs (hence the name) in every direction. It was oppressively hot during the day (95-102ºF), but cooled off nicely at night. Probably not a good place to camp June-August.


DSC_0052On Tuesday, we drove north on the 15 to reach Kanarraville, where the Kanarra Canyon hike begins (and ends). It’s $10 to park, but well worth it. The hike has a scorching beginning as you travel up and then down to the creek. After the first mile or so, there is more shade and you get to wade through the icy water, so the heat is tolerable. The hike is gorgeous, and the slot canyon section was incredible!

DSC_0006 DSC_0009 DSC_0013 DSC_0018 DSC_0022 DSC_0028 DSC_0035After the hike, we were sweaty and starving and needed to get out of the sun during the heat of the day. We spent the afternoon as the smelly, dirty people wandering through the idyllic, manicured downtown of St George. We had a nice lunch at the Painted Pony and then while TDL got his hair cut (strange activity on a camping trip, but he needed a haircut and rarely has enough time off work to fit it in in Vegas), I explored the amazing Urban Renewal. This shop was fun enough to make me want to move to St George: vintage, secondhand, and new clothing, furniture, and random items from records to vintage aprons, with friendly staff and new items constantly coming in!! I was in love.

On Wednesday, our last full day outside, we went to Crawdad Canyon to do a little climbing. Climbing purists may not like the fact that this is a “climbing park,” requiring an eight dollar entrance fee, but we wanted to get in as many routes as possible and stay out of the heat. Crawdad Canyon has over a hundred sport routes on either side of a creek, so it was possible to dodge the sun and get in a bunch of routes with no approach time. Despite a swimming pool full of screaming children at the entrance, we didn’t see anyone else climbing and felt like we had the park to ourselves. We had a couple holds break and some of the routes were a little dirty, but it was a fun, productive day of climbing and we’ll definitely be back.

On the way back to the campground, we stopped in St George for some marvelous custard at Nielson’s, although we had also been told to stop in Veyo for pie, custard sounded better on a hot day. We will have to get pie next time.

Back at Red Cliffs, we had enough daylight remaining to hike to the swimming holes by our campsite. It was just another example of the beauty in this area.



Look, it's a Wooly Mammoth!

Look, it’s a Wooly Mammoth!

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