Monday, March 16

Moab Marching Madness

We've made our way west to Moab for a spring break. It's good to have the family together. We flew out Saturday night to Salt Lake. Our first big choice, at the Alamo counter, was whether we wanted an HHR or a G-Six. It turns out that Chevrolet makes a car called an HHR and Pontiac makes one cleverly named the G-Six (or perhaps "G-6" - I'm not really sure). I had never heard of the HHR (though I've known about the number 6 for a very long time). I asked what it was like and the friendly Alamo rep said "a milk truck on wheels." How could you pass that up? Makes me wonder why American car companies are in trouble! That description and a clever name like the HHR? We took it.

Our drive to Moab was beautiful. A fun trip through a mountain pass. A lunch in Price at "Los 2 Amigos" - Peter and I differed on whether the name was a good one. When we reached our condo - which is perfect for our needs - we were faced with our second choice. Where to hike first? It was 4 pm, so we make the short junket to Arches (skipping without hesitation the NCAA selection show, which illustrates how beautiful this place is). We walked "Park Avenue" - which was stunning.

Then took a hike to Utah's post card - Delicate Arch - to watch the sunset.

It's popular for a reason. It's really quite beautiful.

It's on to longer hikes and more vistas.

Monday - Island in the Sky. A day of long views and lots of short hikes.

Mesa Arch, with 100 miles of the Colorado River in the distance.

Upheaval Dome - salt coming up or a meteor? The Oleson named family members favor a meteor explanation. Ms. Morton-Peters finds the salt explanation more plausible.

This looks like an album cover. With Kate as the bass player who the band had to put in the photo.

Pretty amazing spot to have lunch.

Needles / Chesler Park / The Joint Trail

Tuesday was a long 11 mile hike through just an incredible area. Whereas the amazing hikes in Island in the Sky were looking down over broad expanses, our hike in Needles was lower in the canyons, with more immediacy. Round every corner (or more accurately in most cases, through, around and over every opening between rocks) were incredible sights to behold. Peter and I couldn't stop photographing.

For hour after hour we just followed the cairns to the vistas beyond.

Eventually we came over a gap in the rocks to Chesler Park, a "green space" provided by the desert planner, surrounded by Needles.

The "band" took another album cover photo.

Then it was on to the Joint Trail, an amazing section of the trail in very narrow cracks in some very large rocks.

An amazing day.

Arches / Devil's Garden

We spent Wednesday in Arches, mostly on the Devil's Garden primitive hike. Arches is more heavily travelled than Canyonlands, but still beautiful. It was a day of arch viewing, beginning at Double Arch,

and, at least for us, reaching its peak at Double O Arch.

Some of the hike was breathtakingly beautiful and plain old breathtaking at the same time, like the gentle stroll down to our lunch spot.

We have survived unscathed though. I think our biggest injury occurred yesterday. As a considerate family member and sometime snorer, I've taken to wearing Breath-Right Strips to bed - they seem to reduce my offensive snoring somewhat. Unfortunately, the removal of the strip from a sunburned nose took a layer of skin with it.

Along the way, I tried to horn into the band.

Peter invented the "Barkless Lounger."

and, as we were hiking to Navajo Arch, a pun contest ensued. The upset winner was Madeline - with the name for a Native American junk food snack, the "Navi Ho Ho". As a person who honors the pun, it is a gratifying moment to hear my three family members firing off puns one after the other. I know, as I always have, that my life has not been wasted.

Potash Road / Corona Arch / Center Cafe

We spent our last day in Moab driving out the Potash Road by the Colorado River to make the hike (a fairly short and reasonable one) to Corona Arch and Bowtie Arch. Early on the cliffs along the river are sheer and rugged, and attractive to climbers.

The river was cold, fast and beautiful.

We particularly loved Corona Arch. It was a beautiful day, and for much of our time there we had it mostly to ourselves.

Kate is the tiny blue dot beneath the arch. It's just a stunningly beautiful place. We finished our week with a couple of wonderful meals. The first was at the Center Cafe in Moab.

And finally, a great Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City - the Red Iguana. Less elegant but lots of fun.

The trip was exceptional. We got along well (with just enough bickering between the kids to bring back memories). The places were great. A wonderful week.