Park Number: 8/59
First Visited: October 22, 2010
I'd told Troy, just days earlier, that I'd never gotten a flat tire before...funny how we were now staring directly at one. It was after a day of exploring the hottest place on the planet. After a day of driving around a 3.4 million acre park. We went because I wanted to show my little brother what the desert looks like turned inside out—the type of thing Dante tried to write into his hell—so we climbed the dry mud mountain washes, hiked marble-like canyons, and gazed across endless salt flats. But a flat tire? This was unexpected. And unprepared for.
After wrestling with the spare (of a car which wasn't mine), frying my flesh and boiling my brain to the mid-day inferno, I concluded a repair wasn't possible until the valley relented. We walked to a ranger station, got a lift to the nearest restaurant, and waited out the heat.
That's what national parks mean to me: unexpected adventures; but more importantly, meaningful time spent with the people you love.