blog: Climbing for serenity in Utah |

blog: Climbing for serenity in Utah

Brandy Persson
Vail CO, Colorado

As I roll into view of the desert at mile marker one, I always take an unconcious deep breath, lean my seat back, open my sun roof and press play on my pre-thoughtout CD for this moment. Usually a wild little giggle escapes and I crank the sound.

Depending on my mood it may be Coldplay that I choose, or the Killers, or Johnny Cash, but the last time it was Audioslave. As Cochise jammed, I jammed and felt a sense of empowerment. I was stoked to climb. I felt good, I felt strong and I knew it would be a good weekend.

Exit 204 to Highway 128 is another spot where I relax deeper into the breathtaking drive. I know that Big Bend is not far now. I pull over and hear my weighted feet crackle the hard earth below as I get out to stretch. I slink around to the back of my car and reach into the cooler for a PBR. I listen for that beloved Crack! and take my first sip of an ice cold rednecker brew.

The rest of the drive is astounding despite the fact that I know every turn and every tower because I’ve been here so many times before.

Mile marker 24, 18, 13. My favorite tower, the one that watches over Big Bend is only six miles away now, but she pops into view about a mile or so before I get there. I actually get excited knowing that I’ll see her at any moment.

It’s kind of like flying; as my plane gets closer to the landing strip, I get this sort of excited anticipation feeling, and then the wheels hit and a sensation of relief sets it.

I’m finally there, smack in the middle of my beautiful Mother, the desert with the Big Bend tower watching over me. I get out of my car, close my eyes and take a long, deep breath. I slip off my shirt to bare my skin and the warm sun kisses my back.

It’s time for another cold brew.

Over the course of the drive, I probably decompressed about 7 notches.

Time is no matter now, only complete freedom of endless days on a roadtrip with god at my side. I think to myself again what a good idea it was that I came here, and that I came here alone. Solo trips in the desert provide for magical learning experiences that I just cannot find anywhere else.

There’s something about Utah that pricks and pokes at me when I’m not there.

Often times, when I’m daydreaming, I find myself in the desert. Whether it be at one of the National Parks, Powell, Moab or Joe’s Valley, the daydream is always the same. Desert warmth surrounds me and her unparalled, staggering beauty kind of wraps me up in a burrito of contentment.

I’ve never really known such a place where I feel so calm, so serene and a sense that anything and everything truly is possible. I’ve spent many days in the desert finding answers to questions that seem hidden from view elsewhere.

I’ve gone there to shed tears and lick my wounds; I’ve gone there to get evil on some big rocks; I’ve gone there to release the beast. No matter the objective, her welcome is always the same and she makes me feel right at home.

I often think of moving there, but I kind of like the idea of having such a special place to escape to. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love where I live and my friends and my job, but there is something about this little place called Utah that keeps me coming back for more.

Brandy Persson can be reached at

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