Driving through Zion National Park for the final time last year, exiting out through the East Entrance to the Park. Easily the least common way to get to the heart of Zion. Just after you pass the gates, a cluster of cabins sit perched on the edge of a hill overlooking a greenish pasture full of buffalo.

Zion Mountain Ranch. I scribbled the name of the place down, and as soon as I made it home I started making plans to stay here on my next trip through Southern Utah.

A year later, I open the door to my cabin. I’m at the end of the property, on the edge of a canyon. A stone hearth fireplace is waiting to have wood crackle and burn so that the walls of the cabin can hold in the warmth of the flames.

I can’t escape the last minute details of work that need to be done. I pour a strong Bloody Mary, pull the blanket closer to my chin, and get the work done as the wind brings in another winter storm.

The large windows let me watch the deer forage just outside.

I close the laptop with satisfaction. The holiday can start, the work project is done. I hike, sleep, repeat.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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