Wow, I don't even know where to begin, so I'll just write about snippets and observances of what I remember from our summer adventure to Moab, Utah.
The trip started off with a bit of a delay, thanks to Langley the Lab who made a prison break at the last minute, leaving Joe and myself to track her down and David standing in the driveway next to our packed up car. After 45 minutes of searching high and low for her, I finally discovered her standing next to the fence of our neighborhood pool, wistfully looking at the water and all the kids playing, politely wagging her tail and completely ignoring my calls to "come here!" But that was the only hiccup on our getting out of town. Once we got her safely corralled (and scolded half-heartedly), we were on our way!
We stopped in Oklahoma City the first night, then made it to Los Alamos the second night (home of the Manhattan Project) and arrived in Moab Sunday afternoon. Along the way, we saw cyclists on Route 66, made a stop at the famous Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo, Texas, and marveled at the true vastness of this land we live in. Wildlife we spotted on the way included one magpie, two prairie dogs, three elk, a flock of wild turkeys and a herd of buffalo. Another strange thing I saw as I was taking a turn driving, was a dead cow in the median of the highway.
I kid you not.
I have no idea how he got there, but there he was, a black and white cow, lying in the grass. The things you see . . .
Once we got unpacked and settled into our hotel room, we began planning our first adventure. Joe really wanted to hit the Primitive Trail, a 7-mile hike in Arches National Park. David and I had hiked it with Meghan last summer, and Joe had heard the re-telling of that slog throughout the year and he was eager to see if it was as "primitive" as we claimed. So, the next morning, we filled our camelbacks, gooped up on sunscreen and hit the trail.
And wouldn't you know it wasn't nearly as bad as I remembered it being? I guess Time really does erase bad memories. We wound up laughing and goofing off and having a blast. We met up with the nicest couple from Holland, escorted by a teen ager from Great Britain, and together we hiked along until we decided to take an off shoot of the trail to visit another part of the park. We managed a family portrait (we missed Meghan, who had to stay behind this trip due to work), the boys laughing at me as I ran to get in place before the camera clicked. We climbed tall slick rock (the whole time I was telling myself, "Don't look down, don't look down!") and once again were amazed at this beautiful, strange land that we were hiking.
We quickly fell into a routine the three days we were in Moab. We'd hike all morning and into the afternoon, after filling up on pancakes and waffles at our favorite breakfast place, then come back to town to have lunch at the best little food truck in all of North America, the Quesadilla Mobilla and have ice cream at a local restaurant. After taking a little cool down/A.C. break back in our hotel, we'd head out to Dead Horse Point State Park and the boys would mountain bike while I did a bit more hiking and played with my little storm trooper.
You didn't think I'd leave him behind, did you?
The next two days were just as amazing as the first. We hiked one last time in Arches out to an arch that was way on the outskirts of the park, so far out, in fact, that we had the entire trail and canyon to ourselves. Then the last and final day, saw us out hiking along Murphy's Trail in Canyonlands, and once again we had the entire trail to ourselves. This one was probably the most technical as it was a 500' drop in elevation going down and then another 500' gain coming back up. In fact, it was so steep that there were a couple times when I couldn't watch Joe as he descended because the trail was so, so narrow and the bottom of the canyon was so, so far down. But we made it back safe and sound, and after we cooled off back in our rooms, Dave and I headed back out to Canyonlands for a sunset shot, but instead I got my first lightning strike of a far off storm.
It was exhilarating.
All too soon, it was time to hit the road home again. This morning, as I ran my morning miles, I thought back to last week and what we had done last Monday. We hiked the Primitive Trail, met some nice people from Holland and had the best quesadillas around. And that led me to wonder which part of the week I liked the best, which trail and park was my favorite (the hike to Tower Arch and Dead Horse Point State Park, with Canyonlands a very close second) and everything in between, all the jokes, all the quiet that we met hiking along those trails, the birds we saw playing in the wind, the people we met, the clouds that billowed up every evening making the landscape even more beautiful. For all of that, for my boys and for the chance to have this time with them, well, this adventure is one I will ponder and remember for the rest of my life.