On a hot June day, I was trapped on a packed shuttle bus—so packed that my nose was brushing the armpit of the man next to me. I was visiting Zion National Park in Utah. The owner of the armpit was a New York City schoolteacher, there with three friends as part of a bachelor party. They were headed to Las Vegas next—if we ever managed to get off the shuttle bus.
We were stuck because a van had slipped from Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and was hanging halfway off a ledge over a river. No one was hurt, but we had to wait for the van to be towed before we could move on and be dispelled at a shuttle stop to swarm around the park. Even when traffic is not being stopped because of a freak incident, to visit Zion is to often be jam-packed next to other people. It was the third most popular national park that year: 2017. To add to the chaos, I was there the week before July Fourth.