“Let’s keep it simple,” I said to Joe as we packed up the Subaru and prepared to hit the road. I had recently broken my scapula in a ski crash, and wasn’t about to go buck wild and try doing the things I really wanted to do, making my injury worse. I tried to be useful, packing the car with one arm in a sling like a t-Rex, while Joe managed to get our gear together. As we discussed the things we couldn’t do, we got more and more depressed – what’s a trip to the desert without climbing? Zion was on the itinerary and we were already pointing our car south.
It’s hard for me to sit still – let alone be outside without doing some kind of physical activity I’m incredibly passionate about. Breaking bones sucks, but it’s also a great reminder to step back and find new ways to experience the outdoors. I took this injury as an opportunity to try and relax, and Joe followed suit.
The more we discussed our adventure plans as we packed the car, we realized a repeating line, “let’s just hang out and chill!” Finally, it dawned on us…DUH! Let’s HANG in hammocks all weekend! Nothing is more chill than that.
With nothing planned but hammocking in the desert, catching up on some reading and meeting with a few friends we were off. We pulled up to the camping spot just before the sun was about to set. Our friends, Matt and Sarah, were already there in their camper van after a long day of climbing, prepping the fire and ready to greet us. They spend most of their time working in Zion National Park, climbing walls and mountain guiding. Matt gave Joe a big hug and Sarah and I exchanged adventure-worn smiles as we immediately set foot to the cliff’s edge.
Joe’s favorite thing to do is play with gear: ropes, carabiners, cams, you-name-it. After a long day in the car, he just needed his hands on some rope and rigging up a hammock was the perfect excuse. It wasn’t long before he was deep in his creative zone, finding the perfect boulders and trees to string up the hammock for a few days of extreme chill vibes. I watched as his child-like excitement kicked in and he built sweet hang zones for everyone to enjoy. The sun was about to peak, and we weren’t going to miss its golden rays lighting up the canyon walls.
As the world slowly became quiet, we listened to only the whistling wind and rustling of rabbits pouncing through the brush. Our conversations faded into the breeze as we let the scene wash over us. There was no need for words—only feelings. The sky went from pale blues to peachy hues of violet until eventually nighttime fell over the canyon. We hung in the hammock, settled somewhere near Zion, drifting in and out of consciousness. Sometimes the best adventures aren’t the kind that logs lots of mileage or tons of vert, but instead are simple and uncontrived with much attention to relaxation and little to much else. “I’m glad we kept it simple,” I whispered into the dark to Joe. He responded quietly, “Yeah…me too,” and we both fell fast asleep.
Author: Kylie Fly
Kylie Fly is an avid outdoor traveler and adventurer. You can find her on Instagram: @kylie.fly