Hello, our names are Keshia & Erik Joot, formally of Las Vegas, NV, by way of Florida, Georgia, Seattle and even Canada. Yeah, we have lived in a lot of places. But home is where the heart is they say. And our campground, @glampingcanyonlands, is home! Before committing to a new life in a foreign state, we had a good thing going in Las Vegas. Keshia was in management at Tesla and I was guiding tours to the Grand Canyon as well as doing handyman work. We had a beautiful 2200 square foot home with a two car garage, large landscaped yard, a swimming pool and hot tub, which was our wedding gift to each other. Life was good. Why change it then?
Well, the seeds of change were planted on our honeymoon in 2012. We decided to do some backpacking in the Canyonlands and just like that it became our favorite National Park. We rarely visit the same place twice, but we liked Canyonlands so much we scheduled a return trip on our first anniversary in 2013. After that trip, we had to acknowledge that this land was calling to us; our souls were tied and connected.
Roughly 5 years ago, we started plotting ways to move to southeast Utah. But we never came up with a solid or executable plan. Then, with little deliberation, towards the end of 2019, we decided to throw caution to the wind and just do it: sell our house, travel and then resettle in Southeast Utah.
In November of 2019, we sold our house in Las Vegas. From December 2019 to March 2020, we travelled through the US, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and India; eventually Covid-19 forced us to terminate our travels and return stateside, leaving just one thing to complete: resettle in Utah.
We knew whatever land we purchased would have to double as a home and business. We were looking for land that would accommodate a bed and breakfast, short term rentals, and/or a campground. After months of searching, we found a 22-acre plot of land halfway between the Needles District of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, which was perfect for a glamping facility. It checked all our boxes so we purchased it in June of 2020. The land was much more expensive than we had planned for and after the purchase was complete, we had nearly nothing left to develop the campground.
But I was able to do some construction side jobs in Las Vegas from June through August, earning just enough to start building our glampground. In hindsight, if Covid-19 hadn’t terminated our travels, we wouldn’t have had enough to buy the land. So that short term frustration was actually a winning lottery ticket in disguise!
Glamping Canyonlands started small. We opened on October 9, 2020, with three fully furnished, well-spaced glamping tents built on large and comfortable decks. We have one shared full-service, off-grid bathroom with a hot shower, running sink, and a flushing toilet. We have outstanding views of brilliant star-filled skies, canyons, mesas, and majestic mountains. But questions and doubts lingered about whether or not these things would be enough to succeed in such a competitive market. As soon as we posted pictures, we quickly filled our calendar and were booked solid for one straight month. It wasn’t long before we were sleeping easy. We have a long way to go, but it looks like our dream will pan out!
One month later, winter gripped our canyon and decorated our property in blankets of white. The the beauty of winter’s first embrace will live with us forever, but it also forced us to close for the season. Those seeds of change we mentioned earlier sprouted deep, healthy roots that will grow and expand
over the years.
Over time, we promise improvements, season to season, year to year. One day we will drill a well so we don’t have to haul water; one day we will have cabins with on-suite bathrooms; we will open a general and gift store, powered by green energy (solar, wind or both); we will have a communal kitchen, star gazing community and chickens and goats; we will have interstellar tent rentals on Mars (okay, that might be stretching it). But we honestly do have lofty goals and big plans for our glampground.
This year will aim to double our decks and glamping tents as well as build an office and check-in center. In the meantime, we excitedly await March 1st, the day we open for our first full season! That’s our story in a nutshell. Between the two of us, we have lived many places, but Southeast Utah is the first place we can both call home! And we’d love to share it with you! Visit our website for details, availability and pricing at glampingcanyonlands.com