2000 Miles with Plains, Mountains, Deserts, Zion National Park, and a Wedding
August 10th marked the first day of a new journey. That day, I packed everything I could fit into my little-big car and took off for California leaving the Midwest behind. What followed was a five day, 2000 mile trek across the country, through Chicago rush hour, the endless plains of Iowa and Nebraska, crazy mountain passes, hours of hot desert and an incredible National Park.
Hoping to have time for exploring and photography, I picked sleep spots that were six hours apart. As it turns out, six hours plus morning prep, lunch, dinner and gas/rest stops still takes up a massive amount of the day and didn't leave much free time. Regardless, we were able to make a couple stops along the way.
One such stop was Ames Monument in Wyoming.
Who knew we had a 60 foot tall pyramid? It turns out this monument, built in 1880, marks the then highest point on the transcontinental railroad at 8,247 feet and is dedicated to Oakes Ames and Oliver Ames, Jr., financiers of the Union Pacific Railroad.
What I didn't know until after leaving the area is that not far from the monument is a ghost town caused by the tracks being twice relocated further south. I'm definitely going to need to head back to check that out.
Even with how much time was spent on the road, weather was largely on our side. There were great puffy clouds in the mornings, clear skies in the afternoons and warm days throughout. Although there were a few storms on the horizon, with one exception, they left us alone.
Things changed pretty drastically as we neared Utah as long flat stretches of fields buckled up into rocky bluffs and mountains.
After a brief stay and a quick wedding celebration in Salt Lake City, we headed South.
Our last big stop on the way through Utah was Zion National Park, and what a finish! With only a couple hours of light, we barely scratched the surface of what there is to see, but I fell in love with the area immediately. We stayed in the park for an impromptu portrait session until it was too dark to see before leaving regretfully.
Zion was definitely the highlight of the journey and given how little we were able to explore, I'm eager to head back. It's amazing how much variety there is in this country, I don't know why I haven't explored it more. I can't wait for the next road trip, next time with more free time and less scheduling.
I'll be sharing photos from the Zion park portraits next. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!