Brace yourselves - I'm about to say something so cliche, but I'll make it short. If I could go back in time to change the way I did things when I was younger, I totally would.
There was always a standard that your birthdays had to live up to when you were younger. Extravagant parties, an endless supply of gifts, inviting every kid in your neighborhood and class. I often wonder why I wasted so many birthdays wrapped up in things that wouldn't last.
This area was quiet. The rumbling from the cars and the mumbling from the tourists evaporated into the space above the 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops. We were almost able to enjoy it alone. As we parted from the Las Vegas airport, I wasn't too sure what to expect of Nevada and Utah. Having lived in Alaska for two years now I was sure no other place could fill my heart the way Alaska's vastness does. I found that to be true, but that's not to say that Valley of Fire State Park didn't find another crevice in my heart to burrow in.
It's hard to believe that just a week ago I was sitting in a beautiful lodge in Utah with a handful of girls that I'd never met before. My anxiety level shortly before arriving was through the roof. If you know me, you know I'm very much an introvert yet love to connect with new people. Living on both ends of that spectrum has always lead me through a roller coaster of emotions when taking on new adventures, so you can imagine what my heart and mind were going through at this time.
It's hard to pass up on free weekends as Winter approaches in Alaska. It's the best time to savor up the final moments of Fall, tackle those remaining hikes on your bucket list and embrace the Alaska air with your favorite adventure partner.