So I’m not from Utah.
I’m from Ohio, a lush land of greenery, forest vegetation, rolling hills and sporadic thunderstorms. I also haven’t been camping in over 4 years, but it’s a totally different experience out here. Back at home, there’s a foresty canopy. You can pitch your tent in the shade atop a comfortable bed of pine needles (freshly fallen depending on the season) and gather up a few handfuls of the natural bedding to get your fire started. Beneath the “air mattress” of pine lies a soft layer of rich, hearty, rockless soil. You stay up late around the fire telling good stories and occasionally wandering down by the lake to throw your line in and see if the fish have anything better to do at 3am than you do. They don’t . Getting to your site is simple, thought not always easy, and it really gives you a good feeling knowing that your camp site doesn’t even look like a campsite. You wake up feeling refreshed, somewhere between morning dew on the grass and a cool relaxing morning breeze.
In Utah, you drive a few miles into the mountains before anything looks like a traditional campsite. The views on the way are positively spectacular, and as much as I love rolling hills, they are decidedly not red-rock mountains. Shade comes when the sun goes down, but makes sure that 20 degrees Fahrenheit go down with the sun. The bed to sleep on is clay and rocks, a less-than-acceptable alternative to pine needles and thick, soft soil.