As an aside, you know the first time you flew in a plane and you looked down and it struck you that there aren’t actually lines and pastel colors separating the states? That’s how I was feeling at this point. “You mean there aren’t bold black lines and primary colors distinguishing the different terrains and climate zones out here? How am I supposed to know if this arid or just semi-arid? Are these mountains or foothills??” (Spoiler: when you’ve never lived west of the Mississippi ALL HILLS ARE MOUNTAINS. It makes an experience like this all the more exciting. I actually shouted “AHH IT’S A MOUNTAIN!” at the first sighting.)
Colorado’s mountains and mining towns turned into Utah’s golden-pink mesas and canyons. We stopped at Arches National Park (because I’m pretty sure that there’s a law declaring that you have to) and I actually put down my camera for most of our time hiking about. (Of course I brought my camera phone though — I couldn’t totally stop documenting the trip.) But I did manage to take a few shots that absolutely can’t do justice to how vast and imposing these formations are in person.