We leave Las Vegas despite my constant pleas to stick around a few days more. I had hoped that Q’s winning of one hundred bucks at the blackjack table would help plead my case, but it had no effect. Q waves around the itinerary “we both agreed on” like damning evidence that clinches a guilty verdict. My sentence: four to five days of more camping.
From Las Vegas, we head northeast through the tip of Arizona to Bryce Canyon, Utah. Though we regret missing the Grand Canyon, the disappointment isn’t persuasive enough to warrant a four-hour drive out of our way. In any case, Bryce Canyon handily satisfies my canyon quota. Its rusty red cliffs and staggering heights rival anything else we’ve seen on the trip so far. I’m excited to recreate 127 Hours (in parody form) by forcing Q to take several photos of me pantomiming cutting my arm off near a boulder that looks like it could be from the movie. A park ranger steps in to spoil our fun; he informs us that the incident took place at Canyonlands National Park, which also happens to be a four-hour drive from our current location. I figure that if I’m not willing to drive four hours out of the way for one of our nation’s top landmarks, I probably shouldn’t do it for funny photos either. Alas, another dream deferred.
On the way to Arches National Park, we spend the night in Moab, Utah, in the middle of a massive heat wave hitting the Southwest. As we set up our tent, I constantly check my phone, saying a silent prayer for the iPhone weather app to show our current location’s temperature below 100 degrees at any point tonight. But even worse than the thought of sleeping through a heat wave is seeing a large van pull up to our campground and witnessing ten teenage boys and a single chaperone scramble out of the sliding doors.
I figure they will be the component of this particular camping excursion that pushes me over the edge. I could easily handle hot temperatures if my surroundings were peaceful, but knowing that I’ll be dealing with rambunctious boys who will be trashing the one bathroom and causing mischief into the wee hours of the night gives me anxiety. I watch with dread as the boys pile into five tent sites, two a piece, and start getting ready for bed. I find it odd that when quiet hours roll around the boys actually maintain respectful silence, but I fall asleep positive that the other shoe will be dropping shortly.
When I awake at 1:30 in the morning, it’s not for the reason I expect. The heat has become so suffocating that Q and I can hardly breathe, much less sleep. Even though we’re resting on top of our sleeping bags in our skivvies, I still feel like I’m a few degrees away from a total heat stroke.
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