People travel to places for many reasons; for experience, to escape, for vacation, to refresh and rejuvenate or just because. My thoughts go to a trip I took to southern Utah during Spring Break. This trip was both fascinating and memorable as I participated in an “On Site Policy” course as a student of the University of Utah. It was a trip that the whole class was looked forward to taking. Not only would we be getting 3 credit hours for the class, but we would be going to one of the most beautiful areas in the country. We would be meeting with management from the Zion National Park, the BLM, Springdale and Kanab City offices, Coral Pink Sand Dunes Assistant Park Manager and the Travel and Convention Bureau in St. George, along with several small business owners in the area to discuss their policies, visions and missions. The attendance of the class was small this year due to the recent loss of our dear friend and Professor, Joe Arave. He took part in this class each year, as he worked along with his friend and fellow Professor, Michael Kane. This year, Michael would not be sharing the experience with Joe. As a matter of fact, Joe’s funeral was the 2nd day of our trip.
On Tuesday morning, we started out early to keep up with the scheduled agenda, but took a hike before meeting with those we came to visit in the local park area. It was a beautiful day, the sky was clear, the sun was shining bright, and we all felt refreshed from the good night sleep and the best breakfast we could have asked for. We just happened to be staying at the Zion Ponderosa and was treated not only with the fantastic views of the Resort just outside of Kanab, but we received the luxury of artistic, gourmet meals provided by one of Southern Utah’s finest Executive Chefs, Francis van der Stappen. We were prepared for the day. Yet….we couldn’t help think about Joe and how we would miss his funeral today, and how he would have been here if he could.