Lost in Loa
It is said that the Loa are Louisiana Voodoo spirits that dwell in the space between humanity and the creator, a creole limbo. In our case, a limbo between the planned and the worst case scenario. It is here in Loa, Utah; named after their first Mormon settlers fresh off a trip from our paradise state, Hawaii and its famous Mauna Loa, that we have taken as our home for the last five days. And I know what you’re thinking, no, this town of one restaurant and a wild goat, a town that stretches maybe ¼ of a mile long was not originally on our route, at least not until power steering fluid came pouring out of our engine the night before our drive through Capital Reef National Park and after a long day working our way through Arches National Park.
It was there on that Mesa of BLM land that my boyfriend and I, sans cellphone service and without a soul in site, realized that shit has truly hit the fan. And so we packed our backpacks with plenty of fluids, snacks, and sunscreen and began to hike into what seemed like the least populated National Park we have ever been too. The visitor center? A 9 mile hike. But, after we hiked a mile and started to feel the sun hit our backs unapologetically, my desperate thumb pierced the air beside us every time we heard cars whizzing by. Finally, someone stopped and we exchanged quick promises to not murder each other. This beautiful soul drove us to the visitor center where we got connected with AAA and a tow truck from the nearest town; Loa, Utah. That woman who picked us up and popped our hitchhiking cherries was just the beginning of a stream of charitable acts from everyone we encountered here in the middle of Utah. From Chris in the visitor center at Capital Reef, who made us laugh when we were obviously in distress, to Brian’s Auto who not only picked us up from the visitor center but did not give up when the rusted out bottom of our little blue bus posed a difficult automotive challenge, at every turn we encountered waitresses, business owners, and strangers who wanted to help.
Well a long and painful story short, we blew our power steering cooler and were stranded Loa until Wednesday. But the good news is, we had plenty of movies to watch, a fridge stocked with beer, and the bathroom was a short walk to Family Dollar. Shout out to the people of Loa for never questioning us constantly using their public restrooms. And on Tuesday we had THE Brian family matriarch, Monica Brian, of the Loa Brian Royalty (they seem to own everything around here) to drive us into Capital Reef where we got to explore one of the coolest National Parks I have ever been too. There we hiked through Sulphur Creek, passing unbelievable canyons and secret oases meeting only two people on our 5 mile hike, and enjoyed a fresh baked apple pie from the original orchard in Capital Reef which was once owned and operated by a family who lived there before it became protected land. All in all, we made the most of a bad situation, played a lot of card games, and got to meet so many fantastic people here. Limbo or not, Loa was truly an unforgettable transition in or journey to LA, a journey we hope can continue with many less unplanned detours.