For our last Weekender excursion, we tempted you into fleeing our fair city for another gem of a town: Park City. She’s lovely and sophisticated, but if what your soul thirsts for is a genuine unplugging, may we submit to you some good ol’ fashioned car camping? You know, where breakfasts are served out of the back of your ride and "nightlife" means standing awestruck under the hundred billion glittering stars. If that stokes your inner campfire, then consider Joe’s Valley as tinder.
JOE’S VALLEY & RESERVOIR, 2.5 HOURS: Zion and Moab and Powell are all great desert destinations, but you may be a tad saddle sore on account of the lengthy drive. Joe’s Valley, however, is a mere two episodes of Game of Thrones away. A side note: Joe’s is primarily for boulderers. The valley floor is quite literally strewn with massive chunks of gritty sandstone just waiting to chew up your fingertips and spit you off their sheer slab faces. But if ascending a thirty foot highball makes your heart hammer, grab your iPad, your tent, and a chalk bag and head South on I-15. Once in Utah County, exit US-6 [that’s the Spanish Fork/Price Exit] and coffee-up, because it’s your last chance. When you’ve struck Price, get on UT-10 and drive straight through Huntington, Castle Dale, and Orangeville until you reach the valley.
Check In: This is desert car camping, folks. Find yourself a clear patch of sand and throw down your tent. Anywhere will do. Odds are you’ll be in close proximity to other canine-loving adventurers, so bring enough grub to share and a few extra rawhides.
Eat Out: Your dad’s old Coleman stove, a dozen eggs, and bacon. Bam--breakfast is served. Most likely, you’ll be too busy clinging to an overhung V5 and wondering if that crash pad is really going to break your fall to worry about lunches. But if you must eat, Trader Joe's has enough nut 'n' dried fruit combinations to back you up for days. For supper, start a fire, broil some fish with lemon and rosemary, or just roast a few weenies. Either way, be sure to put a smile on your kiddos' weary mugs by wrapping up the day with a round of sticky, gooey, that-marshmallow-is-straight-up-on-fire s’mores.
Spend Pesos: Bouldering is a fairly inexpensive sport. Your gear consists of chalk [keeps you from sliding off those smarmy hand holds], a crash pad [the name says it all], and a pair of insanely-tight rubber shoes guaranteed to forever f*ck up your pedicure. Climbing rocks is free, but you don’t have to be a climber to enjoy Joe’s Valley. The hiking here is top notch, and the reservoir is as idyllic a place as any to fish or to paddle board or to just catch up on some of those much needed forty winks. When you roll into the office on Monday, you'll be wholly rejuvenated [but good luck tickling the keyboard with those delicate and rubbed-raw fingertips of yours].