Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #242: New Experiences

Happy Sunday! Anne from Slow Shutter Speed is the hostess and I am reflecting on one of my favorite new experience on this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge with photos I haven’t looked at in nearly 5 years. Hope you enjoy.

I’ve had many first-times. First time hiking solo, first time flying alone, and let’s not forget first time managing a household at 16. Although all of them left an impressive imprint on my mind, I want to dedicate this post to an experience I have never shared on this blog – first time hiking in a national park solo.

On Lens-Artists Challenge #139, I shared a special moment when I got to spend Labor Day Weekend 2018 at Capitol Reef National Park. That was my first time going to a national park alone and first time I planned an overnight trip on my own.

I will admit that it was probably a reckless thing for me to do – to go on a trip without telling anyone but a few friends at church. Mom was in China at the time and the only way to contact her was by WeChat, which required stable internet connection.

I also didn’t have a smart phone back then, only a flip phone with no data. So please, don’t scold or lecture me 🙏about the danger of going on a trip alone because I think, as a rational adult, I’m entitled to have the freedom to go wherever I want.

After driving almost 4 hours, I arrived at Capitol Reef National Park Visitor Center to grab a map before returning to the rental car and deciding my next point of exploration. I decided to get back on the same road I came into the park. I’d explore the village of Fruita and the scenic drive the next day.

The final landmark on the road I came into the park (Highway 24) is the Grand Wash Trail – a 4.4-mile round trip easy hike featuring deep canyons and narrows. Easy enough, I thought as I parked the car and set off for the trail.

It was one of the most unique hikes I’ve ever been on and perhaps the easiest. The ground was mostly flat and easy to walk on. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a hike where my feet didn’t hurt from walking on either unstable ground or rocks. It was hard to imagine I’m walking in what used to be a river.

I couldn’t stop taking pictures especially that of the narrows and the rock formations. Some of them looked very interesting while some had weird faces on them. I even managed to get a few self-portraits with a tripod to prove I’ve been there. I wouldn’t say the self-portraits are better than if there was someone else there to help focus the camera and take the shot but I would accept the quality. After all, the photos of me were just prove, nothing more.

I didn’t end up finishing the hike. I went as far as I could before realizing that I was hiking on a near-empty stomach. The last thing I had was breakfast which was many hours ago. The return to the car took me half as long since I wasn’t taking pictures every few minutes and instead of heading out of the park to find food, I munched on the food I brought on the trip.

When I returned to the park for the second time in 2021, I fully expected to hike this trail again. Unfortunately, none of the other 3 people who came on the trip had no interest to hike. Oh well, I suppose there’s always next time.

30 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #242: New Experiences

  1. Well Yinglan, sorry but I can’t oblige your request….DO NOT GO HIKING ALONE!!!! Especially without a smartphone that has GPS. YIKES! Glad you didn’t run into any issues but honestly it’s not a good idea! That said, great adventure and terrific images!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess that was certainly a risk, Tina. I now have a smart phone and GPS though given the risk of wildlife encounter, I’m not sure I would like to repeat this experience.


      1. From the ‘Net: “There are many signs warning of flash flood danger, and they do frequently close the Upper Trailhead road during storms, however flood danger is moderate unless an exceptionally big storm passes through.”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. First of all, I applaud your efforts, Yinglan. Capital Reef is a spectacular park and good on you for knowing it was what your soul needed. (you probably wouldn’t have had phone service anyway. ) Hiking is one thing, camping is another and I am sure it was fantastic. And no doubt you had a few pieces of pie while you were there. Nice job documenting with photos and words. Too bad you couldn’t get people to go back with you in 21. I am sure you wanted to see it again. Very nice New Experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think compare to all the other national parks in Utah, Capitol Reef is probably the one with the best cell reception, at least that’s what I noticed in 2021 when I returned with a smart phone but then, cell signals probably has improved during the 3 years. By pie, do you mean the pickle pie in Bicknell? I didn’t learn about it until after that visit but I sure had a fantastic breakfast at a diner. Who knows, maybe I’ll return this year, after all, it’s only a 4-hour drive away.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The frusta district in Capital reef is an old community and still has fruit trees. They sell amazing pies at the small store near the camp grounds. Delicious. We enjoyed hiking and finishing the day with pie. Yup a return is necessary. Lol. I’m not even much of a pie person, but it was great. Capital Reef is one of the most underrated parks. We loved our visit there. (We go off the grid a lot…hence our cell service…).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I only saw cinnamon rolls but there wasn’t pie during my 2018 visit and the store was closed in 2021 due to Covid. 😠 I agree, it’s definitely one of the most underrated parks and there’s definitely pros in staying that way.

        Liked by 1 person

Anything you want to ask? Want to know?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s