I went to Las Vegas in 2019 for work. I managed to get up early to climb and cycle at Red Rocks Park. After a week in the sweltering heat in Vegas, I rented a car and drove to the Grand Canyon for a night, and then drove to Utah to outside of Zion Park to camp on my own for the first time.
Most of the photos below were shot on a Yashica Electro 35º.
A group of us rode the loop at Red Rocks. We rented bikes and got out at 6 in the morning. Riding the loop was the craziest biking I had ever done. I had never ridden a carbon bike, either. The first half of the loop was mostly climbing, and then second half were some pretty steep down-hills. I was probably the most inexperienced of our group; at one point I remember going so fast that I realized I could no longer turn with the handlebars - and on approaching a turn in the road, seeing that only could I make the turn (or fly off into the cactus filled desert, Calvin & Hobbes style) by purely leaning.
At one point one of our riders rode too close to the curb and did take a spill. It was pretty scary. But, he was made of some pretty tough stuff.
I had never seen the entire shape of the shadow of a cloud until I drove through a desert.
I camped on the Smith Mesa, on a ranch that was open for private camping. I had never camped alone before and had no idea what I was doing. I watched a storm crawl across the sky on both sides of me. I could see the rain in the clouds.
In the middle of the night the winds blasted across the Mesa and whipped around my tent. I was terrified. I had to reposition and fix the tent and couldn't stop thinking of waking up with no tent at all. Eventually I managed to sleep, scared, until the sound of coyotes howling woke me at 6am.
The owner of the land made it abundantly clear that it was not smart or safe to try and leave down the off-road tracks after a rainfall. I waited for hours before I felt brave enough to attempt it.