Our family often goes on a road trip during Thanksgiving.  Previously we’ve gone to see the Grand Canyon, Sedona Park, Petrified Forest, Sequoia Park, Death Valley, etc.  Mostly interesting rocks, canyons, and Native American Reserves.  This year, we went to Zion Canyon (Utah), Bryce Canyon (Utah), Antelope Canyon (Arizona), and Grand Canyon (Arizona) to see … more interesting rocks, canyons, and Native American Reserves.


Thursday 11/22/2012

We began our journey at 5:30AM, with our 2002 Toyota Sienna jam-packed with 7 adults (Dad, Mom, G-Pa, G-Ma, Me, Sister, & Sis Boyfriend) plus all our things, majority of which was food to last us 3 days.  Thank goodness we bought a rooftop cargo carrier this year.

We drove 8 hours to Zion Canyon which is basically rocks and canyons.  But the first lesson from this trip was that rocks are cool.  Looking at these layers of sedimentary rocks got me thinking about various things, such as how these rocks remind me of flaky pastries (e.g. croissants).


Friday 11/23/2012

Bryce Canyon is another pile of interestingly shaped rocks and canyons.  Pretty similar to Zion Canyon, except it’s more foresty than chaparraly.  More awesome than Zion Canyon, in my opinion.

We took a 2-hr hike down the canyon (sans G-parents), which was definitely worth the time and sweat.  There’s something better about seeing, touching, and walking besides these rocks straight up in your face.

The rocks here were bumpy and orange, like processed cheddar cheese.  Some looked like breaded chicken tenders.

Afterwards, we drove 4 hours from Bryce Canyon to Page, Arizona, where intense adventure occurred.  If you ask any sensible navigation system how to get from Bryce Canyon to Page, it will tell you to go on a long roundabout way that’s about 160 miles, which it estimates to take around 3 hrs.  However, a more direct path exists that cuts about 45 miles but takes 1 hr longer.  That didn’t make any sense to my suddenly adventurous father, who decided to take the shorter but longer route.

Well, that turned out to be the biggest mistake of the trip.  After a while, we got onto a narrow and unpaved road.  Shortly after we hit a ditch where water and mud attempted to hinder our advance.  That was possibly God warning us to turn back, but like true sinners we rebelled and crossed through a shallow part (it’s like how in all horror movies the protagonist has to choose against all warnings to get him/herself in trouble).  Then we went zigzagging on narrow unpaved road around and about hills and wilderness for 2.5 hours… and the night kept getting darker and darker… and darker…†  

In this wilderness, there were no cell phone reception and no road signs.  Only by cutting through the pitch black with our high beams could we see that it would be quite possible to drop off a cliff by accident.  Thankfully, the GPS navigation works via satellite, which meant that it functioned in the wilderness when 3G/4G networks failed.  The 2nd important lesson from this trip was that satellite navigation trumps smartphone navigation.

Eventually, we made it out of the wilderness and onto paved highway again.  The 3rd & 4th lessons of this road trip were that one must be thankful for asphalt, and that one should always trust the navigation.


Saturday 11/24/2012

Lower Antelope Canyon is part of the Navajo Native American land.  Initially, we saw nothing much to see.  Moreover, this was a guided group tour that costed $26 per adult.  That meant $26×7=$182 for our team, which we was an uncomfortable math.

However, Antelope Canyon was definitely the highlight of our trip.  We thought there was nothing to see because everything was underground.  Once we went down the canyon that was just wide enough for just 1 or 2 people, we found the most beautiful swirly rocks with super pretty colors and design.  The canyon looked kind of like soft serve ice cream.

Afterwards, we went to the Grand Canyon, which was just meh compared to Antelope Canyon.  I’ve seen it before so the novelty wore off a bit, combined with the fact that there were too many people on that day.  I was also getting sick, so I was a little out of it.  Besides, the Grand Canyon is too big that it doesn’t feel like real life (it feels like I’m looking at a picture).

Then we drove 7 hrs to arrive back home at midnight.  And that’s how our adventure ended.


One thing I was thinking about throughout this trip was how many freakish and interesting things you see in nature.  It’s always the freakishly big canyons, gnarly trees with half its bark missing, or funny shaped rocks that catch our attention.  We find beauty in the scarred and marred products of nature, because they have stories to tell – thousands of years of water carving the canyon, or a wildfire scorching through a forest, etc.  But in society why do we turn from “abnormal” people?  We value the perfect faces and figures, and frown at people with deformities and bad skin.  What if we could see the scars and disfigured bodies and find that they too have stories to tell?  Could we then find these people beautiful?

Simeon Koh


† P.S.  My over-imaginative mind kept thinking of scary things during our trek through the dark wilderness.  How freaky would it be if while driving through this pitch-black unpaved road of the wild we see a person walking alone?  Would he be in trouble, or would I be seeing dead spirits?  Do we pick him up, or do we keep driving?  What if it was a woman walking alone (would a real woman be doing that?)?  What if she was dressed in fancy glamorous dress, singing and dancing, and looking at you longingly like she wanted you to stop for her?  What if you quickly passed her by, and an hour later you see her ahead of you again?  … Those were some of the thoughts going through my mind.  I should write a novel…