Girls Gone Wild! A Story on the Pleasure of Snapple While Hiking the Wilderness

I recently had the pleasure of seeing “Wild”, an inspiring movie about the strong-willed feminist, Cheryl Strayed, who walks 1000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail in order to get her life back on track. Apart from the breathtaking scenery, the tear-inducing dark memories, and the moments of joy that the audience shares with Cheryl along the way, one more thing stuck out as I watched this movie: Cheryl’s craving to quench her thirst with a Snapple each time she reaches a destination point after hiking hundreds of miles in the wilderness. When I saw this trend over and over throughout the movie, I couldn’t help but smile and be reminded of the time my mom and I came to an oasis in the middle of a hot desert hike and all we wanted to quench our thirst was an ice-cold Snapple….

It was early July 2010 and we were on a road trip from Michigan to Southern California. I had just graduated college and accepted my first job, which was leading me out to Temecula, California. My little yellow Mazda Protege was packed from window to window, with a small space open in the passenger seat for my mom, and we set off on the 2000 mile drive to move me to my new home. As always, we were going to enjoy the journey, and this is what brought us to Bryce Canyon National Park on that hot July afternoon.

We rolled up to the Fairyland Loop hike around 1pm, and after preparing our bag with food, water, sunscreen and a sarong, we set off on the 8 mile hike in the 90 degree heat. The hike was absolutely magical. We started up high, on the canyon’s rim, and then descended down into the canyon. Right from the beginning we were awe-struck by the beauty stretching out before us and into the distance.

The sparse brush and pine added a necessary touch of life to the scenery, but what we didn’t know then was that soon the rock formations would take on a magical life all of their own.

The natural rock formations of the area are called “hoodoos” and as you walk above, alongside, or below these magnificent wind-swept spires you see so many shapes and figures that you would think this is where Disney came for his inspiration.

From above, on the canyon rim, you feel as though you are looking down on a castle town, and from below, the hoodoos reach up into the sky like giant chess pieces marked with the intricate etchings of the wind.

The best part of this hike is allowing your imagination to run wild. As you walk the winding path through the desert, let your mind wander and create all sorts of different fairyland creatures in the rock formations.

Nature’s color scheme in Bryce is beyond perfection, with the earth ebbing from cream to orange to deep rust red. We were lucky to have a robin’s egg blue sky and cottony white clouds. It felt as though we were walking through our own Fairyland Desert Paradise.

However, after a few hours of hiking in the direct sun, we were getting hot, and our energy was being zapped a lot faster than it normally would be. We drank our tea-warm water sparingly and continued to be amazed by the magic in which we were engulfed.

About 6 miles in to the hike, we were making our way up and out of the canyon and back to the rim when we came across another entrance to the hike which we didn’t know existed.

There we found a massive convenience store, with a porch patio and dozens of people eating and drinking before or after their hike. We had not brought a dime with us on our hike, so this oasis was bittersweet. We still had a few miles left, and decided to enter and refill our dwindling water supply with some tap water. However once we entered the store, the crisp and cool drinks made us salivate. Before I knew what was happening, my mom had approached two strangers and was half way into her pitch, “I know we don’t know you, but if you could buy us a drink and give me your address, I would gladly send you the money!”

The couple was from Denmark, and at first they weren’t sure what was being asked of them, but once they understood they laughed heartily and agreed to buy us a drink. That’s when we each selected an ice-cold Snapple from the cooler. I don’t know what it is about hiking through the wilderness that makes you crave a Snapple, but it is what we both reached for without thinking twice.

My sweet yet adventurous mom, Lori, refreshed from her Snapple break.

After that, the story is history. We made friends with the couple, and they told us about the fantastic hike they had embarked on the day before- The Narrows- in Zion National Park. This changed the course of our road trip, because we had been thinking about that very same hike, but had written it off…until we heard what this Danish couple had to say. I will forever be grateful for the kindness of those strangers, because that drink rejuvenated us, and their recommendation to hike The Narrows took us to the most memorable hike of my lifetime.

After our Snapple break, we finished up the last few miles of our trek with smiling faces. Bryce Canyon’s Fairyland Loop was more magical than I could have ever imagined. If you are ever making the drive near Bryce Canyon National Park, or Zion National Park, I highly recommend checking them both out, and make sure to do the Fairyland Loop hike in Bryce and The Narrows hike in Zion. These two hikes will forever live on in my memory.

Have you ever been to either of these beautiful National Parks? Or do you have a hike that will forever live on in your memory? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Please share in the comments section below.

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