Light, Lighter, Lighest
Fastpacking ins and outs in Canyonlands National Park
Photos by Matt Vukin
“The Needles District?” he asks. The puzzled look on his face makes me think he is envisioning a vacation in a sewing-machine factory. I’m trying to convince Bryon Powell, my 32-year-old boyfriend, to fastpack with me in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park.
A decade ago, I car camped with friends in the northern portion of Canyonlands. We stayed long enough for red dirt to stain my tent’s floor and for gravity-defying rock formations to etch into my memory. Now, with Bryon and an ultralight pack, I want to return and experience more.
I open up the computer to the park’s website and wander from the room to let the Internet do the persuading. I know Bryon about as well as I know the back of my hand and its crisscrossing veins. I expect that he will navigate first to the website’s photos, to check out the spindly spikes of red and yellow sandstone for which the Needles District, the southeast quadrant of Canyonlands, is named. I know he will probably click to the district’s map and let his eyes trace the dashed lines representing trails. And, I expect, it will take just a few minutes for him to decide that, indeed, we must go.
Bryon pours from the door of his home office, the tiny headquarters of iRunFar.com, and says, “I’m in.”