One of the things I forgot to mention about hiking in these beautiful places is that whenever you enter a new park, the ranger at the entrance gives you a little guide that explains, among other things, the hikes that are available. They are divided into easy, moderate and strenuous hikes. My dear companion's eyes immediately scanned to the strenuous list to find our first choice. I was always intimidated by the language: long drop offs, a long steep narrow ridge to the summit, not for children, steep but spectacular. But I never backed down to the challenge presented to me. I admit to a bit of complaint along the way but always felt great after accomplishing the task. I look a little grumpy or stressed in this photo, but I guarantee that it is not because of the park! This was a unique place with beauty unlike any other!
After walking for a while around the rim we hiked down through beautiful rock formations called hoodoos. Each one was unique and I found myself taking photo after photo trying to capture their wonder! It was impossible but after walking down, through and back up and out, we turned back to look and again marveled at this park's unique beauty. I loved this hike. It was perfect after our extremely difficult hikes the days before.
Capitol Reef National Park was our next stop!
This was an almost completely flat hike along the floor of deep and twisting, water-carved, sheer-walled canyons.
Words cannot express the vastness and uniqueness of the amazing rock scenery throughout this park. Brian and I just could not get enough of each gigantic rock formation. It was as though God had reached down and played with enormous vats of clay and left them to harden, each different from any other.
Once again we picked a trail in the strenuous section, Devils Garden. Length 7.2 miles round trip. Time: 3-5 hours. "Longest of the maintained trails in the park, leads to eight awe-inspiring arches. Expect narrow ledges with rocky surface hiking and scrambling on slickrock. Not recommended when rock is wet or snowy."
This sounds like our kind of hike! Scrambling on slickrock? Ah, yes.
Hikes that did not follow a dirt trail were guided by little stacks of rocks along the way. Sometimes we had to scan the area to find where these little guides would be. One time the stack was up on the top of a huge boulder! Brian was able to scale the "wall" but I needed help. Three strong young men, my "angels," eagerly offered to help get me up to the top and carefully made sure I made it safely to the other side. I was extremely thankful. Before surveying my scraped knees I blessed them and their hearts as helpers who were in the right place at the right time.
Sadly, this was our last park. We drove out as much in wonder as when we drove in. The vast area with immense rock formations never lost their fascination. We could only praise God for the individuality and beauty of His creation.
Our last stop was Denver. Driving for 6 hours from Arches to Denver after a long and hot hike, pushed us to drop into bed totally spent. But the next morning found us refreshed and ready for a day with my sister, Ann, and her husband, Max. We enjoyed entering into a dominoes game with them and their friends that lasted for hours! Now I know why she calls herself a Domino Diva!
Somehow Brian knew that his favorite baseball team, the San Francisco Giants were playing the Colorado Rockies that evening. So off we went to enjoy some baseball. I know only one player, Buster Posey, and he was in great form that night. I totally enjoyed seeing him hit a home run! The next morning we got up and headed back to Cedar Rapids, a twelve hour drive straight through. We were happy to get home but sad that a truly marvelous trip was over. We celebrated thirty-five years of marriage and did some hard hiking to enjoy some of God's outstanding masterpieces of creativity.
Thankful. Yes,extremely thankful.