So, why are we leaving behind our cozy apartments and the exquisite and nearby Smoky Mountains to live in a tent on the other side of the country, you might ask? Well, for Matt, it began last summer when he lived and worked in Yellowstone (the “worked” part was brief, I might add), where he quickly fell head-over-hiking-boots in love with the West. My love for that side of the country developed more recently, on our road trip to Utah this past December.
After Christmas, we set out for a week-long tour of The Great Sand Dunes, Arches, Canyonlands, and Mesa Verde National Parks. Hiking miles of cairn-marked trails, sleeping in the back of Trish (Matt’s faithful Toyota Matrix), and waking to beautiful sunrises in the distant mountains, I decided, was a lifestyle I could get used to. Matt, having done it all before, frequently gave me his endearing, “I knew you’d love it” grin. It was the best trip either of us had ever taken (yes, I would even choose Utah’s single-digit temperatures over warm, breezy beaches), and neither of us has stopped itching to return West ever since.