I am 5 months pregnant. In all reality, I am not very big yet. But I have been feeling huge lately. I know I have a lot more to grow, so I am using this as an adjustment period to get used to this feeling.
This past weekend, we travelled to the one place in the world that makes me feel small: Utah. I love Utah. Everything about the landscape just blows my mind. My first trip to Utah was to a conference in Salt Lake City in October 2005. It was actually my first time to be in any part of the Rocky Mountains. My favorite part of the trip was running through the trails adjacent to the hotel where I was staying. Just a few months after that trip, I decided to move to Boulder for graduate school. The rest is history.
Although I love Colorado, there is something especially magical about Utah. The red sand, the dessert landscape, the massive canyons where you can get lost and the mountains that seem to pop up out of nowhere. When I am in or near a canyon in Utah, I realize just how small I am in this big, big world. It is really amazing that these canyons exist.
Unfortunately, our weekend started with a hitch. We left Saturday afternoon and planned to meet friends at a campsite on Saturday evening. Well, when we were 75 miles from the CO-UT border, our Jeep hiccuped; then it stopped working. We were just 100 yards from an exit but had to pull over to the side of I-70. We waited a bit and finally got it to restart. We pulled off the interstate and drove around the small town of Parachute, CO. At 5:00 on a Saturday, there were no mechanics open. We decided the Jeep was doing OK now so we kept going for another 30 miles on the interstate. It did the same thing just outside of Grand Junction, CO. Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope. Once you go past Grand Junction, there is very little (i.e. nothing-not even a gas station) before you get to Moab.
At this point, I put my foot down on getting to Moab that night. I was not about to drive into the dessert with an unreliable vehicle until we saw a mechanic. All the mechanics were closed in Grand Junction on Saturday night. We found an auto-body parts store that was still open. The guys there were able to test the Jeep, but could still not exactly diagnose the problem. While David was dealing with them, I was Yelping and calling around to find the closest, cheapest motel that took dogs.
We found a great dog-friendly motel (Clarion Inn) and the names of a couple mechanic shops who happened to be open on Sunday morning. By this point, it was 7 pm on Valentine’s Day in Grand Junction without a reliable vehicle and our camping plans had fallen through. So we walked across the parking lot of the motel to a Village Inn to grab some food. Yes, we celebrated Valentine’s Day by eating chain diner food.
David got breakfast for dinner. I opted for a sandwich and salad.
Sunday morning, we waited in front of a mechanic until he got to work at 9:00am. Luckily, he could diagnose the problem, order a part, have it ready in an hour and (best of all) charge us a decent amount. I walked the dogs around a park behind the mechanic as we waited.
Finally, we were ready to go. Our friends had a campsite at Arches National Park, so we decided our first stop would be to set up our tent and get settled there. We were there by noon, set up the tent and then took the doggies to a trail where they could run and get their energy out. Dogs are not allowed in any of the Utah National Parks, except at the campgrounds, so we had to leave the park for this.
We did not get much of a hike in because we were meeting our friends at 3:30 at the Delicate Arch trailhead back in Arches, so we could hike up to the arch for sunset. We had to leave the dogs in the car for this, but it was cool and in the shade. They had several walks that day so they were tired enough not to complain.
On the way up. See all the people in the background? We were clearly not the only ones to head up for the sunset.
The hike was great; the sunset was not too bad, either.
That hike was definitely the highlight of our little 24 hour adventure in Moab. We headed back to the campsite, made burritos and s’mores and played some games. Our friends left early the next morning to get back to Boulder, but we wanted to get one more hike in since we had missed Saturday in Moab. We found a dog-friendly trail outside the park and went for a nice, short 3-mile hike.
We ran into nobody on the way up the trail so we had it all to ourselves. But I forgot my water and started to feel a little lightheaded near the top. Usually I would forge ahead, but I took precautions and sat down to rest while David finished off the hike. These were my views from where I was sitting.
We had started on the canyon floor and came up to the top. When I saw how massive these canyons are, I reminded myself how small I am in this world.