• Franklin Zhang

Day 59: The Stars Were Aligned, So We Took Pictures of Them

July 29, 2022

Rest Day (and Night)

Day 59 started before day 58 ended. This was the only day this entire trip where we all planned to stay up past midnight. But individuals have stayed up all night before. For example, the day in Dodge City, Kansas I spent the entire night reading “Mistborn” by Brandon Sanderson because I couldn’t fall asleep after drinking a cup of sweet tea for dinner.

So let me explain why we were all up so late that day. We were staying near Arches National Park, an International Dark Sky Park. Because of that, we wanted to go stargazing, but we were a little reluctant because we didn’t want to ruin our circadian rhythm since we usually slept before 10 PM. But then we looked at the lunar calendar and released that today was a NEW MOON! The stars have aligned (ha ha) for us to go stargazing. We took this as a sign that we should definitely drive into the park to stargaze and then drive back, which would add at least an hour of driving time plus stargazing time to our schedule, something we cross-country cyclists with a strict schedule would usually not want to do.

So at 11 PM (which was already past our bedtime) we hopped into the car and headed into the national park.

We chose balanced rock for our stargazing spot, which also matched the post card we bought. We used our bike rear lights as red lights so that our night vision wouldn’t be ruined. Maxwell set up his camera and used his “love of photography” to capture some beautiful photos! We sat on the sidewalk, looking up at the twinkling stars and milky way while making bad jokes. I’ll share some:

The post card I bought

“One cow said to the other, do you want to go the beefy way or the milky way?”

“Some people like oatmeal with water, but I like it more the milky way”

“Oat, almond, soy, and dairy are all valid milky ways”

Sophia and I explored the path and followed some cairns left by the park rangers. It was so dark, that we almost took a wrong step and walked off a cliff.

This looks cooler on Maxwell's camera than on our pupils.

Compare Maxwell's pictures to my picture of the stars taken on my phone (Pixel 3).

After a night of stargazing, we went to bed.

In the morning we were planning to split into two groups, one that goes mountain biking and another that goes hiking. The mountain biking outfitters didn’t have shuttles that day so we, unfortunately, had to cancel the mountain biking. Maybe we will have a chance to do that later on our trip.

So we all went on a hike together to a waterfall called Faux Falls! We went for a freezing swim under the waterfall. It was so cold that my I could feel my breathing and heart rate pick up. The water pressure of the falls plus the cold was actually pretty painful. I heard that the cold is good for muscle recovery so I stayed in the water despite the temperature.

After the refreshing swim, we went for a drive around Canyonlands NP. We saw many cool rocks. Sophia and I took a quick 1 mile jog on one of the trails.

Sign Climbing

Canyonlands NP

Had some overpriced and mediocre food at some food trucks in Moab and heading back into Arches NP, which had some looming storm clouds. We saw some rocks, but this time with rainbows.

This hot dog was over $10 dollars

Driving Through Some Rain

We saw these multi-colored arches in the National Park

The Squad

Allegiant Airlines

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