Linnie Aikens Arts and Letters • HeART Haven Studios

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Camping at Zion River RV Resort - Between Hurricane (pronounced Hurriken) and Zion, Utah


Zion River RV Resort - "Roughing it" in Luxury


My family and friends thought I was a little crazy, if not reckless, traveling alone this year.  The thing is, I LOVE to travel, and I can’t afford airfare and hotels, so I car camp and hike!  I used to take my daughter, but she’s flown the nest these days.  Sure, I’d rather have a partner, better yet, a fun hunky man along, but even though that’s not readily available, I’m sure not going to let that stop me.  I just decided to go alone!


In preparation, I pulled out my tent and resealed all the seams, tested out all my old equipment to be sure it was still in working order.  There’s nothing worse than getting out in the wilderness and thinking you have an essential, only to discover that it doesn’t work or is broken.  Turns out I had to replace my old camp stove, which after 25 years of wear and tear, was malfunctioning.  Thank God I tested it!!   The check out boys at the outdoor recreation store queried me about my trip.  “You’re going by yourself?!  Really?  Wowww...”  As a was walking away, I heard one say to the other, “Wow, that is sooo cool!”  I smiled to myself.  Yes,  pretty dang cool!!  I was excited!


After traveling for 8 hours, the landscape changed into huge weathered and layered rock formations in colors of vermilion, salmon, raw siennas and yellow ochres, the vegetation in values of sap green.  I’d finally arrived at Zion National Park in Utah.  It has been 10 years since I’ve been here with my daughter Mireya, who was a young girl at the time.  Now she’s in her 3rd year in college!  It’s the first real traveling vacation I’ve taken in perhaps 6 years, and I felt the tension ease from my body as I pulled into the Zion River Resort.  There’ve been many changes since I was here last, when it was new.  The trees have all grown up and actually provide shade now, a real luxury in the sometimes scorching heat here.  After setting up camp, I headed over to the pool and swam for a couple of hours, where I met people speaking French, Castilian Spanish and Dutch.  To my surprise, I discovered that they come to the USA, rent motor homes then travel the countryside that way!  Long gone are the backpacking and hosteling days I guess!!  



The 18-25 ish young men camping next to me reminded me of the camping trips my family used to take with the church high school group--their gear tossed everywhere and unprepared for actually camping.  I can’t tell you how many times they asked to borrow items. I’m grateful my mother was such a good example on how to pack. The young men told me I should write a whole entry on what to pack and how to set up camp!



I grew up “roughing it,” camping and backpacking throughout the Western States.  I find at 51 that my bones don’t take well to the hard ground anymore, nor am I all that hep on not having a shower, or “grabbing a tree” to pee!  I can remember once when I was about 12 I guess, my family and I backpacked for 2 weeks in the Grand Tetons.  The last day, we hiked out 15 miles to Jenny Lake.  There we were, Mom, Dad, my 3 younger sisters and I, all crashed on the side of the trail, leaning against our packs and eating ice cream sandwiches from the lake general store, when a tour bus stopped and emptied 50 Japanese tourists at our feet, who lined up to photograph “a real U.S. mountain family”  We were grimy, exhausted, weathered and after 2 weeks of freeze-dried food, we were thinking that those ice cream sandwiches were the best thing we’d ever tasted in our entire lives!    


By comparison, Zion River Resort is luxury camping!  There’s an upscale rustic, but fully stocked club house, game room, general store, TV room, Laundry, Pool and Jacuzzi on site, as well as PRIVATE bathrooms granite counters and large showers, and outdoor kitchen areas with gas grills and industrial sinks and counters.  Of course, we still have the fire pits in our campsite, but we also have electrical hookup and free wifi, if you can believe it!!! The camp host/owner came around and said hello and then came and sat for awhile to chat, which didn’t bother me any as he’s a dead ringer as a look alike to Sam Elliott!!  Now I ask you, what woman in her 50’s can’t appreciate that?!!


Well, I’ve cooked my dinner of Thai ginger vegetable soup (with a bit of crab) from scratch, and now I’m headed over to the jacuzzi!  Such a rough life!



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