Feeling Free in Utah

Me: “Do you think I can do this?


Husband: “I think you can do anything now.”


I recently returned from a week-long adventure in, and around Escalante, Utah. My husband and I flew to meet our, now Californian – but forever Midwesterners at heart, friends in Las Vegas.  We rented a Santa Fe and hit the open road.

Road trips (loud music, non-stop storytelling, laughing until it hurts, windows down, and expansive views of canyons) are soul-filling.

We wanted an off-the-beaten-path adventure so we chose Bureau of Land Management (“BLM land”) as our playground.  Coyote Gulch in Glen Canyon was our first destination.  She did not disappoint!

We knew that a “class 5 scramble” would be part of our entry/exit to Coyote Gulch, but honestly I had no idea what that meant.  We also knew that we had to carry out ALLLL of our own waste.  I DID know what that meant….yikes.



Ultimately, I learned that facing my fears of climbing up and down huge steep cliffs and packing out your fecal matter is worth the adventure.

We had FUN.  Face-hurts-from-smiling-and-energy-rush-from-challenges FUN.



I “scrambled” down a cliff in between two giant rocks that I could barely fit through.

I climbed up a steep rock that had three ominously placed climbing ropes anchored somewhere beyond sight.  

My husband didn’t think I would do it.   I didn’t think I would do it.

The sight of those three ropes hanging from a cliff literally took my breath away.



The only other option was hiking 7 more miles….  I mustered up the courage, took a LOT of deep breaths, tried not to attach to my fear, and just went for it without overthinking it.

I can hardly believe I did it.  It was such a rush.

After that hike out we went to a beautiful day hike called Devil’s Garden.   A whimsical little place filled with “hoodoo” rock formations that you can climb all over.  At the base of one of the steep hoodoos, I asked my husband if he thought I could scramble up it – he replied that I didn’t need his reassurance anymore: “I think you can do anything now”.

Photo By Bailey Aro Photography

Photo By Bailey Aro Photography

Bryana Cook and, her husband, Dan Ryan live and play in Longville, MN.  Bryana is a yoga teacher/business owner (Northern Namaste Yoga & Boreal Bliss Yoga Retreats) and social worker. Dan is a local fishing guide (Dan Ryan Guide Service) and environmental educator.  Together they make a point of living a life they enjoy in an area they love.  Lake country provides endless opportunities for fun. When not near a lake, you may find Bryana and Dan making maple syrup, playing with the dogs, hiking, traveling, or chopping wood and moving it around.





***P.S.  If you're like me... you are pretty depressed about this January-like weather in April.  I revisited by first blog article, Radical Self-Care in Winter, and found my own thoughts helpful.  Now I just need to listen to myself...  Here it is.