Travel Diary: Adventures in the American Southwest
Heading out west to explore the deserts of Utah for the first time.
CARLOS QUINTEROS, JR.
There’s a first time for everything, right? I recently got the chance to escape the office and head to Utah with Carrera eyewear for four days to get my fill of new experiences—including what it feels like to be out in the middle of a big, beautiful desert.
The first real leg of our trip was New York City to Las Vegas, which after making this trip half a dozen times in one year falls very short of excitement. Finally after our 5 and 1/2 hour trip west, we left Nevada to head to Canyon Point, Utah via this tiny red baron of the sky. The 8-passenger plane took on a lot of turbulence while we were flying over lakes and canyons since it's much easier to get caught in pockets of air when you're flying at a lower altitude. Lucky for me, we were only in the air for about an hour. With the windy skies along the way, it was quite the ride.
Our counterparts already on the ground were able to temporarily block off the main road to traffic. You see the area we were going didn't have any type of runway, so the single road in front of the Amangiri property had to suffice. Our tiny plane pulled a hard right almost grazing the desert brush and made a smooth landing on the tarmac (the most Indiana Jones-ish experience I've had to date). Once we hopped off the plane I realized you can’t take a bad picture anywhere in the place. Every shot looks like a dreamy “Wish you were here…” postcard.
And if the views of Southwest Utah don't quite do it for you, I'm sure this pool would. Carved into a natural rock feature it's easy to spend the days wading in the water while the hot desert sun shines down on you.
I’m motorsports-obsessed so after settling in, I woke up bright and early the next day to get my fill of four wheels. I spent 3 hours with Epic Adventure Rides on a UTV exploration of “Mars,” or the black sands near Page, Arizona. They offer tours spanning from Paria Overlook, Lees Ferry Overlook, and Lake Powell. Lucky for me, I was the only one hitting the trail with one of their great guides that day.
I ripped through sand dunes and crawled a top rock ledges in my quick little ride. I even got to roll through this jagged riverbed. When it rains in the desert, it often results in a flash flood, in this case the riverbed would fill up with water reaching over the top of where the UTV is sitting. The morning with nothing shy of excitement and dirt in my hair.
CARLOS QUINTEROS, JR.
After I took in the scenery from the ground, later that morning I took to the skies via helicopter. The out of this world views of the Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon are best seen from the air. While this wasn't my first time in a helicopter, it was my first time landing on top of a 5,269 ft. rock formation. Our chopper took us to the top of Tower Butte where we were able to get out and stretch our legs. I literally felt on top of the world.
Carrera CA 5023/S (Solistice Sunglasses boutiques nationwide; $139).
After taking off from Tower Butte we swooped over Lone Rock in Lake Powell and this beauty here, Horseshoe Bend. It was my first time seeing this awesome natural feature, part of the Grand Canyon, which has been carved out by the Colorado River over thousands of years.
On our last day we hit the waters of Lake Powell via speedboat, ending up on a side of the lake with scenery the looks of another planet. I even took to the cool blue, green waters to take on a stand up paddleboard for the first time. From land, to air, to water, it's amazing to explore a place from such different perspectives.
We cruised through narrow canyons in Lake Powell, which felt more like a scene from Jurassic Park. Our captain led us around some cliffs jutting off over the lake and with some gentle peer pressure, I even jumped into the brisk 65 degree waters.
Our days in Southwest Utah rounded out with various hikes on the resort’s property. This particular journey was to Ulrike’s Cave. When we arrived at the top of the cave we could see and touch wall carvings and remnants of pottery left behind by Native American tribes from years. Because of the higher elevation of the cave, it was an ideal place to take shelter from rainstorms and the elements of the desert.