I arrived in Cedar City, Utah a little over a week ago for my next 30 day stay. Cedar City is in the southwest corner of Utah, it has a higher elevation than Denver (5,846 ft.) and is a place I have never been. I chose Cedar City because it is about equidistance to two national parks I’ve been wanting to explore: Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. I could have chosen St. George, Utah but I wanted a smaller town feel and Cedar City would give me that.
I typically do initial research about a place before I decide to stay there to make sure there are a lot of outdoor activities near by and it’s relatively safe but beyond that I do not know much about a town until I arrive. It was about an eight and a half hour drive from Denver and during my drive I passed very few towns and most highway exits had a sign below that said “No Services”. It was a long drive through the hot desert with very little stopping and by the time I turned on to the country road my Airbnb was off of, I was tired, dehydrated and was left questioning if this was the right decision for my next stay.
Questioning my decisions isn’t uncommon though. Every time I make a decision that pushes me out of my comfort zone, my mind tries to sabotage me. It tells me the easier option was to stay in my bubble of comfort and to continue living my life of certainty in Colorado, a state I absolutely love with close friends and my boyfriend close by. When I’m faced with a new challenge that I’ve given myself my mind briefly wants to go back to the easier path I could have taken but I know that path is not filled with new opportunities like the more uncertain paths you could choose. Also, this path will be way more fun!
Cedar City, Utah has a population of 32,000 people so it’s not necessarily a small town but it is much smaller than Denver’s 705,500 person population. When I arrived at 3PM it was 100 degrees, full sunshine and I quickly discovered Utah heat is different. When I was unloading the car and dragging my belongings up a flight of stairs to my apartment, I felt like I was living in an oven. The heat, it turns out, is just something I have to get used to.
When I arrive in a new place I like to follow a little routine to help me get settled and it goes something like this:
- Unpack! Put my clothes away, set up my work space and try to make the space feel more homey.
- Make a list of things I need, food and otherwise.
- Go into town, get groceries and walk around.
- Go to the town’s visitor center or do online research to plan activities to do while I’m here.
- Loosely plan my weeks with top activities to do each week.
- Find a fitness studio and/or running path. I try to find places where the local community will be so I can make friends!
My list of things to explore around Cedar City consisted of quite a few items. I was most excited about the two national parks nearby (which I visited this past week and will write about later!), Cedar Breaks National Monument, seeing a Shakespeare play, visiting the art museum, hiking to Kanarra Falls, checking out St. George, ATVing in the desert, joining a fitness and yoga studio, trying local restaurants in town, hiking local trails, and meeting the community.
After my first week here and marking quite a few things off my list including joining a fitness studio, making a friend, checking out local eateries, finding a great running trail, ATVing in the desert and exploring national parks, I discovered I quite like this small town. I think I’m going to fit right in which makes me think: Where else would I fit in and find joy if I gave more places, people, and things a chance?
Until the next tale… Happy trails.