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Rocky Rehab

It was all good until the naked hippie showed up. That, I decided, was a sign. It was time to go.

Not that I have a problem with naked hippies. It’s just that the overweight, middle-aged man sauntering towards the hot spring wasn’t the type of naked hippie I really wanted to hang out with for long. He was nice enough, sure, but ain’t nobody got time for that. (Sorry, Rob or Ron or well…I forgot your name already.)

Earlier in the day, in a time before RonRob, I’d ventured out of the hotel-cave that’s been my home since Canyonlands. There, I’d scored a lucky deal on Hotwire and managed to set up shop for the couple of days of serious, grueling production work that I do for my real job now and then. It’s mostly a bunch of graphic design, but it does require dedicated office hours and attention to detail.

The nearby hot springs were my escape.

Honestly, they came at an opportune time.

My leg is still a little banged up from the march to Druid Arch. And, after putting over 5,000 road miles on my tires, countless trail miles on my feet, and enjoying just a handful of showers in the 37 days since leaving Memphis, it’s time to recharge.

As I sat alone in the hot spring—blissfully unaware of the startling nudity fast approaching—I took a quick check of my wounds so far.

Casualties: left leg, right knee, left elbow, one iPhone 6, one Macbook Pro, two Nikon lens caps, two tripod legs, one Ford Escape mirror cover and a patched tire. “All in all,” I thought, “not too bad, considering how far I’ve come.”

The rearview is hard to think about right now. I know that reflection will come in fits and bursts. I know that the memory of this trip will probably stick with me for life. But right now, I’m still focusing on the moment. I’m still living day-by-day, wondering where I’ll be tomorrow and if that place will have cell service and a dry place to make camp. Pretty soon, the road leads on to Denver, where I’ll rendezvous with another group of friends before heading to Wyoming and to an ultimate meeting back in Utah at Zion National Park.

I’ll need the leg then.

I’ll need it for the next few milestones: hiking Zion’s Narrows and Angel’s Landing. I’ll need it in Denver for—well, I honestly have no idea what we’ll get into there. And I’ll need it (right now) to escape from RonRob, because seriously dude—put that away.

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When my home was sold out from under me, I bought a tent and decided to live outside. Now, I'm a freelance writer for Travel Channel, INSIDER, Nat Geo, and Fodor's Travel and I'm on a never-ending quest to get out of my comfort zones and see the world.

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