Destination Reached, Vacation in Full Blast!

28 11 2013

Our night in Moab was just lovely. We slept in, not in much of a hurry, and decided to do a quick drive-through of Arches National Park on our way out of town. The weather was pretty nasty and we had such a cool hike the day before, so we were ok with this. And Simba isn’t allowed to hike the Park trails – rude.

The visitor’s center at the entrance is pretty cool. I finally found the information I wanted on the geology of the area. Utah was once covered by a sea? The light tan mound-looking topography is petrified sand dunes? So cool! We oogled all the wild scenery from the truck and took pictures through the windows.

Three Gossips formation at Arches National Park, Moab UT

This formation is called the Three Gossips. Also, the snow in the desert kind of rocked my world.

Balancing Rock in the mist, Arches National Park Utah

This is Balancing Rock, shrouded in fog and clouds. I think it’s rather a good look.

I really can’t tell you how much I loved this place. The towering vertical walls and their canyons; the Courthouse Towers; the Petrified Dunes; the Garden of Eden; the Fiery Furnace; the Salt Valley; Devils Garden. Even the names are pretty wonderful. The clouds had cleared off a bit once we reached Devils Garden, and we decided to take a quick walk through the weird rock “fins”. Simba looked at me with his concerned eyebrows, and I felt like the worst traitor in the world. Thankfully, he forgives quickly.

Rock fins in Devils Garden, Arches National Park UT

Me and the fins…though you can’t really tell this close…

Arches National Park, UT

I don’t remember the name of this guy, but here you go: an arch in Arches National Park!

So we drove back out and continued our road trip. Across the flats of Eastern Utah with the Book Cliffs blocking the northern horizon. We crossed the state line into Colorado, and I know for a fact the Rockies were right stinkin’ there, but the stupid clouds were low and thick and we couldn’t see anything. After blasting past Grand Junction, the scenery showed us why the sign at the border said “Welcome to Colorful Colorado!” The slopes and hillsides were striped with color, reminding me of the painted hills of Oregon. The slopes of foothills turned into slopes of mountains and we drove through the incredible Glenwood Canyon. We drove, we discussed, we sang, we chatted nonsense…typical activities for Day 3 of a road trip. We climbed into the mountains and passed quite a few ski towns. And it started snowing about the time we reached Vail.

Despite the nasty weather, we made it to Denver and to J’s dad’s house in one piece. FINALLY! We stayed up late visiting and then settled in for the night. As we made our beds in the spare room, Simba noticed one very important new development: my bed was at the same level as HIS BED!! Talk about a happy pup. So I snuggled him in next to me (which has never happened before) and he heaved a huge sigh of utter contentment as we dozed off to dreamland.

Our visit to Colorado has been both relaxing and utter fun. We spent an entire afternoon roaming the exhibits of the Museum of Nature and Science. If you’re ever in Dever, GO! It’s a wonderful museum. And now, more than ever, I want to be an archaeologist or paleontologist, or something along those lines that puts me in a field where I’m digging cool stuff up and analyzing it. So amazing. The journey through the history of the earth, complete with dino bones and the progession of life, was awesome. So was the exhibit on gems and minerals (you know how much we love our rocks!!). I left feeling quite inspired!

I also managed to meet up with a great friend that I made back in the days when I lived in Colorado. I don’t know how the stars aligned so that we both happened to be in Denver at the same time, but we met for dinner and an evening of silliness that made my little heart so happy.

We also took a little side trip up to Boulder, just to check things out. We took Simba hiking in the Flatirons, by the Chautauqua National Historic Landmark. Quite a place! Then a nice lunch and a little shopping in the awesome Pearl Street Mall (new winter running tights PURCHASED!) complete the day.

Flatirons near Boulder, CO at Chautauqua National Landmark

The awesome Flatirons and my two favorites on a lovely day in Boulder

And then there’s today, Thanksgiving. The day is gorgeous – close to 60 degrees! – so I’m thankful for the long walk and the time we spent playing in the nearby park with Simba. I’ve already changed into my stretchy pants and am getting ready to dive in and help with the cooking – so I’m thankful that we have this abundance of food to stretch my waistline. I’m also grateful and thankful for J’s family, allowing me to partake in their traditions and learn their recipes and join their family for the week. 

Then I start thinking about it, and I can’t list everything. I’m thankful for this life I’ve been given, and I’m doing my best to live it to the max. So I’m also thankful for all the friends and experiences that have come out of that.

I hope yall have a wonderful Thanksgiving, where ever you are and whatever you are doing. The next three days hold the promise of much more fun and adventure for us – J’s sister joining our party tomorrow, the second Thanksgiving we’re having due to her arrival, and of course our road trip home and the detours that will probably happen.

Happy Thanksgiving!

sunset over Denver skyline, Colorado

The sunset last night, as seen from J’s dad’s balcony. Makes me thankful for absolutely everything. 🙂

 

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