November 9th & Zion Canyo
What a beautiful day for the world to end.
What Just Happened?
What do we do now?
As the election results rolled in, our team laughed to keep from crying. James and I squished ourselves into a single armchair and Virginia bought everyone a round at the Mariott convenience store. We talked and joked over whatever we could think of to avoid the results scrolling across the silent lobby TV. Exhaustion softened the edges of reality, leaving the tattered remains of positive visualizations to flutter in the periphery.
Headlines on the 9th confirmed it hadn’t been a stress dream, but cotton-ball clouds in a high blue sky seemed incongruous with our new political reality. A climate denier with a credo of hate had just been elected to the highest office in our country, but for the moment, Wednesday proceeded as scheduled.
After the NextGen national all-staff call, we packed up the office. Hitting mute on our tumbling thoughts, we focused on packing boxes and organizing donations. In just over 24 hours the office was empty, cleaners had been scheduled, keys had been transferred, and we were on the road to Vegas for the afterparty that had just been downgraded to family style Italian in the Cesars Palace mall. It was great to see our Vegas counterparts and hang out with cool people who just got off the same roller coaster as us. But as awesome as the NextGen NV team is, for two introverts who’d spent over a month talking from nine to nine, even unstructured social time was exhausting. We were burned out, the van was a mess and we couldn’t begin to consider what was next.
So we plotted an escape.
We only had a couple of days before we had flights to catch to DC for Roots Camp (a progressive “unconference”), so we ditched all our friends and hid out at Zion National Park for a long weekend. We considered backpacking the Trans-Zion trek, but realized we were too exhausted and didn’t have time to prep/pack. So we stayed at the Zion Canyon South Campground, and didn’t regret it one bit. After a long run of stealth camping, it was deluxe to be able to open the sliding door, clean and organize, hang laundry in the sun and make pancakes with a view of the Watchman. It was the ease and novelty of vacation, with the comfort of coming home after a long trip.
When we weren’t dealing with the mess that our van had become, we took a baby run along the P’arus trail, hiked Angels landing and Observation Point (on the evening of the super moon!), bouldered by the visitor’s center and walked the paved path to the mouth of the Narrows. Even on the last weekend with park busses running, Zion was crowded, but it’s a magical place. We’ll have to return for the trans-zion hike, but joining the throng of anonymous visitors surrounding ourselves with the ancient, solemn beauty of the canyon, and not asking ANYONE if they’d voted yet was just the medicine we needed.
Too soon, we headed back to Vegas, and on again to the inspiring chaos of Roots Camp.
Below: Bouldering 'The Globe' by the park entrance.
I also started an inspirational Spotify playlist for the days ahead > it's a work in progress you can follow HERE