Jim Barnett

Utah Christmas 2017 - 5 days and 1300 miles of adventure!

Jim Barnett
Utah Christmas 2017 - 5 days and 1300 miles of adventure!

I'd been wanting to do this trip for a while now cause my girlfriend Olivia has never been to these areas and one of my oldest/best friends Charlie has been wanting to go on a trip with me for a while now. We loosely talked about doing it a couple of months ago but nothing set in stone and the week before Christmas we decided to just do it! I had the route planned out from previous trips so it didn't take long to get ready, basically just download the appropriate maps offline, confirm the route and pack the fridge. Here's the crew: Olivia, Me, Charlie and Theo:

We set out to leave on the Wednesday after Christmas with the plan to get to the falls before sunset but that didn't happen given how short the days are right now. We got to the little town nearby and picked up firewood and gas and then headed towards camp. Social Media sharing has really made this place hit or miss in terms of how populated it's gonna be which is a real shame because in the few short years I've been coming here I've watched it just get trashed and crowded. I think it's important to keep places like this more discreet, there's no reason to geotag your camp spot, keep your spots to yourself and your close friends! Anyway we got there and lucked out with only have one other truck there and they were on the side of the falls I don't like camping on (perfect!) so we set up, made dinner and relaxed by the fire:

It was cold that night and you can see the glow in the bed of my truck in the photo above of my Mr. Heater Buddy pre-warming the flippac. Charlie and Theo slept in the ground tent for the first and last time of the trip that night haha. Sleeping on an air mattress proved too cold for them so for the rest of the trip they moved into the flippac with us, more on that later. We got up, made a good breakfast and explored around the falls as Charlie had never been there before. After that we took the low trail out which not many people do, it's a fun trail that can be difficult depending on water/mud level that takes you in and out of the creek below.

Our plan for the day was to head east towards Lake Powell and get to Alstrom Point, now I'd never been to Alstrom Point mainly because it seemed like a heavily visited touristy kinda spot which is the exact opposite of what I want. And I wasn't exactly wrong we did see a lot of cars leaving as we were heading there but we lucked out and camped near Alstrom where there wasn't anyone near us but there were a couple of people camping at the point. This is where I'll say I think Grand Bench is not only a better view of the lake but also much more deserted because the trail to get there is pretty difficult and your average truck/SUV can't get there. So if you plan on going to this area and don't have a built up truck definitely go to Alstrom Point it's very cool none the less! This is gonna be a big chunk of photos from our entire stay so it includes driving there and camping. 

From here we headed back west to go to some slot canyons I visit often, this is another one of those places I'm gonna complain about over sharing....The first time I went here a few years back there wasn't a single person there and it didn't look like many people went there, these slot canyons are often confused for some with a similar name in Escalante, UT but they are not the same! Anyway again we lucked out and when we arrived a family was just packing up to leave so we had the canyons to ourselves which was very nice, the last time I went here this summer that was not the case we even saw a Jeep tour that time.....

After spending a couple of hours walking through the canyons we got back in the truck to head to camp which took us through Zion. Now anyone that's read my trip reports before probably knows that National Parks are almost never on my to-do list, they're overcrowded and often underwhelming given the traffic, trash and shear amount of people you run into. But we lucked out and when we arrived at the gate there was no one working so we were able to drive through without paying the $30 or whatever it is now a days. Luckily we didn't hit too much traffic and we did get to see some big horn sheep which I had yet to see in the wild (is a National Park even considered the wild though?) haha. 

So after dealing with that whole deal we left the park and headed to camp which was luckily nearby as it was getting dark. We got all set up not knowing what was surrounding us as I had never been here before, this location was bestowed upon me by a good friend. We made sausages and sweet potatoes followed up by some smores and then we just relaxed and talked by the fire for the next few hours. That was probably the best night for all of us, such a calm and somewhat warm night where we could really just chill and it hadn't been such a long day in the truck so that also felt good.

I woke up early to an absolutely beautiful sunrise which revealed we were atop a very large mesa, I kind of had an idea from the night photos I took but wasn't exactly sure what exactly it all looked like. The first photo is a cell phone shot out of the window in the flippac and the next is how we slept for the majority of the trip, the flippac can easily sleep 4 people or more depending on their height!

After enjoying the sunrise we got ready to leave without making coffee or breakfast (sinful I know) but we had plans to stop in La Verkin and get coffee and breakfast at a local roaster there. And it was well worth it, if you haven't been to River Rock Roasting company and you're near Hurricane Utah make sure you stop and get a cup or some food! After that we had to stop to get a whip flag because where we were going requires them as it's mostly sand dunes. With that said our destination for the day was Sand Hollow OHV park, I'd heard a lot about Sand Hollow and it did not disappoint! There is something for everyone there whether it's sightseeing, sand dunes or rock crawling it's got it all and we had to play it safe with how heavy my truck is and deep sand....We ran a few trails where I let Olivia and Charlie take turns at the wheel and I could get out and snap some pics which is always fun.

That's about it for the trip report although we did camp in Mohave National Preserve that night we didn't take any photos because it just wasn't a spectacular spot we really just wanted to get somewhere closer to home so we didn't have a 12 hour day of driving on New Years Eve. This was again a trip of a lifetime, Utah is such a beautiful place and if you haven't been I urge you to go and see it for yourself! Thank you to Charlie and Olivia for making it such a fun trip I was very glad to be able to share these places with you and make some awesome memories together. And with that I leave you with one more photo of the truck!