Phoenix Gay Rodeo to Zion’s Angel

13 - 21 February 2015. Filed under category Personal.

I’ve spent two and a half weeks in the US. The first ten days I was driving around in a motorhome, and this blog post is about these ten days. (The following week I spent in Long Beach and mostly worked.) I’ll keep it short and focus mostly on the pictures taken. Enjoy.

First, I’d like to send a big ‘thank you’ to Don Kendrick for taking me on this trip and driving the old motorhome through four states. I had a great time!

Phoenix Rodeo

Followers of The Modern Nomad will know that I’ve been going to three gay rodeos in the last few years, and now it was time for my forth in Phoenix.

I spent the daytime watching the competition, flirt with hunky cowboys and hang out with Don and his friends. I would normally have been drinking too, but since I was competing in the last two events, I had to stay sober.

Don and I teamed up and competed in Steer Deco and Goat Dressing. Steer Deco is where the header (Don) uses a rope and pure muscle to move a steer (castrated bull) over a line and the tailer (yours truly) runs up and ties a ribbon on the tail of the steer. Goat Dressing is where two people run up and pull underwear onto a goat.

We placed 10th in both events on the first day. Second day, we placed 6th in Goat Dressing and 5th in Steer Deco, earning us a sweet pink ribbon.

Night time, we mainly danced (Two- Stepping and Shadow) or sat around the camp fire outside the motorhome and drank the nights away with random strangers. At one point, one person was doing fire spinning while a second guy sang some anthem and a third waved around an enormous US flag.

(Edit 18 March: A friend shot my steer deco event with a drone. Check it out here.)

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend

After the rodeo, we drove up through Arizona to Page, a city near the border of Utah where we visited two remarkable natural sceneries, one confined and one open.

Antelope Canyon is quietly famous. Many of you will have seen posters of it, but never know where it is located. Among photographers, however, it is well known as an amazing canyon where the rich red rock, flash-flooding induced wave patterns and shifting light makes it ideal for photos.

Nearby lies Horseshoe Bend, a 270-degree turn of the Colorado River. Not much more to say about it other than ‘wow’.

Zion and Angel’s Landing

Or final stop was Zion National Park, Utah. It is a stunning park with great big red mountains and deep valleys. Just driving through was amazing, but prime among the experiences was Angel’s Landing.

Angel’s Landing is a 10 km (6.16 mile) round-trip hike. Sounds pretty tame, but all of the way to the turnaround point is uphill. Most of the way up is a prepared path with no real obstacles other than the uphill slope. It is a beautiful hike, but it is the last 0.9 km (0.55 miles) where the fun really starts as the hike goes from a steep walk to a steep climb up a narrow ridge to the summit!

There are chains. The chains don’t form a fence from the very long way down (430 meters or 1400 feet) to the very hard rock below on either side of the narrow ridge. No, the chains are there so you can pull yourself up the ever steeper climb towards the peak where I presume the Angel Lands. There is a giddying sense of dread to walk just a step or a mistake away from certain death. Sure, you’ve got that chain to hold on to, but your mind still can’t let go of the idea that it would just take one little slip-up…

I don’t want it to sound too dangerous though. There were a lot of people walking the path, and only six deaths since 2004, so statistically, those are pretty good odds. Still, that brain just won’t let go of the feeling of what it would be like to slip across that precipice.

Then there is the view from the top. Worth. Every. Risky. Step.

Panorama from the top of Angel's Landing

Panorama from the top of Angel’s Landing

Travel Updates

After Zion, I spent a week in Long Beach and then I flew to Madrid where I am currently, suffering through the worst case of jetlag ever. (I was awake for 33 hours straight.) I’ll be in Madrid for at least two weeks, up to 14 March, but I may stay longer if I feel like it or I might check out Paris, Amsterdam or Berlin (again).

If you have suggestions, please let me know! And if you have a spare bedroom, even better!


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  1. J Heider says:

    Another challenging “chain” climb is Juana Pichu the sister mountain to Machu Pichu. Add the almost 18,000 feet altitude, and it too is a climb to remember, (fear?)!

    1. Putting it on my bucket list!

  2. Anthony says:

    Hahaha GOLD! Your first attempt or episode of the Steer Deco is just fabulous. There are so many things to say here but I think it’s just best to let it speak for itself and enjoy the entertainment. Happy Mardi Gras. Yeeeha 🙂 A

    1. The damned steer just wouldn’t stop and let me add some glamour.

  3. Arpita says:

    Hi Gustav,

    Glad to see these pics of Zion NP. It is amazing. I would recommend a visit to Monument Valley (Artists’ Point). This place is not on the map of the US as it is owned by Navajo Nation Reservations. If you have watched some John Wayne movies, this place has been featured. I hope you have a wonderful time while seeking new dimensions to life.


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