We made it home from Rifle. It was a good trip and we enjoyed the climbing, the cool spruce forests, nightly campfires and, of course, the fish! We have come to the conclusion that Elise is obsessed with fish. She wants to see them everywhere we go and is hoping for great results in Greece.
We decided to take a detour on the way home and drove through Moab, Utah. It was brutally hot, but the scenery was spectacular - well worth the added effort. Pictures from the drive...
We arrived in Moab in the early afternoon and it was hot - really, really hot. In fact it was so hot, the sand burned the bottom of our feet. We found a swimming hole in the Colorado river and enjoyed just lounging around in the shade and, of course, swimming. I went in first and then Elise had to follow. This turned into a long session of splashing, swimming and "mud painting". The water was cold, but even Pam mustered the courage to get in. It was refreshing to say the least.
Later in the day we visited Arches, a national park just outside of Moab. It's an amazing landscape of towering sandstone walls and spires and holds over 2,000 natural stone arches, apparently. It was wickedly hot, but we slathered on the sunscreen, drank lots of water and set out on a couple of hikes.
Pam and Elise hiking to Landscape arch. This excursion was marred by a running fall on the way back. Elise was sick of being in the backpack and wanted to hike. We let her, but she kept running ahead and finally tripped on her own feet and fell in the gravel. You can imagine the result. But it was nothing that a "Dora" band aid couldn't cure.
Landscape arch. This formation is incredible. It's got to be at least a couple hundred feet across and is every bit as fragile as it looks.
Deer below Landscape arch. Elise was delighted by this and we spent a lot of time watching them graze on the shrubs. The surroundings were so arid, I couldn't believe large mammals could survive here.
Elise sitting in the crook of a juniper tree below Landscape arch.
Near sunset, we decided to make a longer hike to the famous Delicate arch. The walk was quite long, mostly uphill and there were lots of people there taking photographs. I carried Elise the entire way and was a little brutalized by the journey. But once I saw the arch, I got my wind back...fast. It was a truly stunning setting and we hung around for an hour or so before quickly hiking back across the slabs to our van.
Pam and Elise near the arch.
Pam and Elise under the arch.
We went out for dinner in Moab that night and then drove back to the Colorado river and camped at a spot called "Goose Island". It was super warm and we just set up the tent - no fly. Still, we had trouble sleeping because it was so warm. But not Elise. She can sleep through anything, apparently.
This is a photo of the wall above our campsite in the early morning light.
On the long drive home, we stopped at a landmark on the Oregon trial called "Farewell Bend". Elise and I hiked along the Snake river spotting birds and taking pictures. This was a nice evening stretch before the drive into Oregon and our final night in the tent.
We are home for just under three weeks and then off to Greece on September 29th for two months! We'll post pictures and stories often while we are away so stay tuned.