Day 6 of our journey brought with it my first nosebleed. The Nevada desert is beautiful (albeit dusty), and the dry heat, coupled with the high elevation, make for an unpleasant welcome. Running alongside the roads in Nevada still feels surreal. The skyline (or should I say mountain-line) looks nothing like what we see in New Orleans. Cacti and bushes replace our giant oak trees and ground squirrels replace our feral cats. I have not gotten a single mosquito bite since running the desert paths, which I suppose is actually my favorite thing about Nevada.
We escaped Nevada on Day 9 and entered Utah, where we headed to Cedar City. Driving into Utah was remarkable — canyons and craters line the roads on both sides and you become engulfed in the beautiful red rocks.
With the change in scenery came a much needed day of rest as well as our first time zone change! We turned our rest day into a “rest” day after we decided to head to Zion National Park and hike a few trails. I picked up a walking stick to manage the trails, which were actually about as uneven as the sidewalks of St. Charles.
The rest of our day was not very restful, but it certainly made for a great time. We headed back to small town hosts after a couple days in Cedar City. On day 11 we went to Delta, Utah where we met another group of traveling young adults. The Van with no Plan is a group that is long boarding the 3,000 miles from Los Angeles to New York to raise money for The Teenage Cancer Fund. It’s amazing to see people mission similar to ours, especially on the back country roads of Utah!
Our last run to a city in Utah on day 12 marked my mother’s 19th deathiversary. I started our dedication circle and then stood there as my teammates went around one by one and dedicated their days to my mom.
The dedication circle for this day was the most remarkable gesture of our trip to date. Day 12 will be one I will remember for the rest of my life. Utah has been great but I am very excited to see the mountains (and apparently snow!) that Wyoming has to offer. Stay tuned.