As I type this up, I am a day behind in posting the start of a cross-country road trip from New Jersey to California. I am traveling with my friend Ze, who is moving there. I met Zevilla not that long ago, officially back in August on Instagram. We started to hike together in the fall, in her often large and varied group of hikers, whom she seems to attract and acquire as if it’s second nature (which for her it probably is).
Ze is the type of strong, friendly, and outgoing personality that one can’t help but admire. Anyone will tell you she is motivated and determined, with a fierce urge to make her way in this world. She’s good-natured, with a strong moral compass. I don’t know if people are often described as that these days. It seems like such an old fashion word, right? Maybe she doesn’t think of it that way herself. I haven’t asked. But meeting decent people in this world isn’t always easy.
It’s these traits that compose the building blocks to a new chapter in her life: landing a new remote-based job, and moving to California. And it’s her move to California that opened up an opportunity for me to join her on a pretty unexpected dream trip of mine. To travel cross-country camping and hiking in various parks as we go.
When she first tossed the idea up in conversation, I don’t recall reacting strongly. Inside, though, couldn’t have been more opposite. At once I felt so many emotions and thoughts. Part of me couldn’t be sure she was serious, another part wondered if it was possible to get the time off, and another thought there was no way this was going to happen. My head was warning my heart not to get too attached to the idea.
This was, after all, one of the top things I have wanted to do for a while. I have seen very little of the world, even my own country, but I had been dreaming of Zion, the Grand Canyon, and other parks a lot last summer, especially after my New Hampshire backpacking trip. I started buying guides and maps, hoping that maybe soon I could plan a trip. Fly out to Arizona and maybe hit two or three parks. Somewhere along the line, the idea fell off; it just wouldn’t be as enjoyable without someone to come along who wanted to do the sams things as me.
Now here I am, on a journey to do nearly the very same trip–only better.
We plan on going to Shenandoah, Chicago, Colorado, Utah, and California. One of the more famous hikes on our list is Angel’s Landing in Utah: a mentally challenging hike where a small trail leads up to steep elevation with dangerous drop-offs. A chain assists hikers as they make their way up to the top, and then back down. The path is shared, and from what I’ve read, pretty crowded. Some of the people I know have made it all the way up; others have opted to stop once reaching a certain point.
We’ll see what my own experience will be. One thing is for certain. The next two weeks of my life will be unforgettable.