The opposite of living on the water
16 October 2020
We’re still in Virginia, waiting for a boat part and enjoying the lower Chesapeake. But, we took a week out to travel to Utah, do some hiking and see our son. We rented an RV and visited some of the national parks. There is so much to see and do in Utah. One thing that I am sure of is that visiting Utah this way is definitely the opposite of living on a boat.
Of course, the most obvious difference is that the southern part of Utah is a high dessert. For example, Cannyonlands national park receives 9.2 inches of precipitation each year, almost all of that being in the form of snow melt. Just like any dessert, the temperature varies widely. One day during our visit, the temperature varied from nearly 90 degrees at 2 PM down to nearly 50 degrees at 2 AM! If you travel from the canyon floor to the surrounding peaks, you can experience even larger variations. For example, Salt Lake City is at about 4,000 feet above sea level but Kings Peak, just a bit to the east, is over 13,000 feet high.
In fact, these huge mountains are quite a change for a boater. Nearly everything is flat in our world. When you are standing on our deck, you can see to the horizon in every direction, seven nautical miles away. When we arrived in Salt Lake City, we could see 100 miles away down the valley towards the Great Salt Lake! When we took a hike down into Bryce Canyon National Park one day, we started at the rim (8000 feet above sea level), where we could see mountain ranges far into the distance. Then we descended over 200 feet down a switchback trail to the floor of the sand-colored hoodoos where the trail can be just a few feet wide! (Hoodoos are made of soft rock, laid down over 50 million years ago, topped with a more recent piece of harder rock that protects the material below. Bryce Canyon has one of the highest concentrations of hoodoos on Earth.)
Perhaps the biggest difference, though, is that it is incredibly dry (duh! It is a dessert). We are used to living on a boat with 80-90% humidity every day. Our clothes dry very slowly if there is no sun. But, in Utah, everything dries nearly immediately. What a strange feeling it was to reach for a towel and find it dry! Even paper napkins feel different when they are not saturated with humidity. On the other hand, our bodies were not used to such dry air. Both Alexi and I suffered nose bleeds.
One thing that was not particularly different from living on a boat was living on an RV. We had a small fridge and kitchen and a small “head” just like on PRELUDE. Showers were quick -- just like the boat -- because we stayed at some spots that didn’t have fresh water (again- it is a dessert). We boondocked a couple of nights to experience the quiet and beauty of a remote mesa in Capital Reef. That reminded me of anchoring out in a remote cove. And, most importantly, we laughed, played games, and talked. Just like I fondly remember many nights at anchor with our kids.