Sunday, April 15, 2012

My girls* weekend out

You never know how comfortable a rock can be until you're laying on it, staring up at the sky, and realize you could fall asleep there if not for the snowflakes aiming straight for your face.

I spent several minutes doing just that on Wilson Arch.

The rest of my 36-hour escape to southern Utah went be-yoo-ti-fully. (Don't be fooled by the sky; it only looks like a half-sunny, half-stormy spring Utah day. In reality, it was a mostly sunny, partly stormy spring Utah day.)

And I think I would have had an easier time falling asleep on the rock than I did at my motel in Blanding. I very much enjoyed not making conversation for 12 straight hours, sitting on the foot of the king-sized bed eating my hot, greasy french fries before curling up in it, adjusting the temperature every 15 minutes according to my liking and walking everywhere I needed to go, that didn't change the fact that being there all alone required my industrial-strength flashlight on the nightstand.

Natural Bridges is aptly named, so I won't go into too much detail. There are three major bridges; finding all three of them felt like a page out of a "Where's Waldo?" book.

Can you find Sipapu? It's easier on the one below.

Kachina is the only one I didn't hike down to. I didn't know how much time I had so I wouldn't let myself.


While hiking down through Owachomo and back to Kachina (I can't help it. I see a trail, I take it.), I answered a critical hiking question: if I had to spend the night out here, where would I sleep?

Granted, I was half a mile from my car, the sun was still very much and if I'd had to drag myself with a broken leg out of there, it wouldn't have taken more than half an hour. But still, it was good to know I'd have a roof -- or something -- over my head. And had I slept there, I probably would have had lots of bedfellows. :)

Sunday I walked to church and sat in what I'm pretty sure was this family's regular pew, judging by the husband's indignant whispering behind me: "It's always empty, even three minutes to 9! There's always an empty row behind us." "Honey, we never sit in the same place twice." "Except for the last several weeks! We sat right up there!" Following that show I went to Hovenweep, a village of ancient Puebloan ruins. I spent a few formative years in northern New Mexico where going to Indian ruins was an annual field trip. Plus, the drive out there was flat and tepia-hued with acres of desert-blue sky for company. There was no loneliness there.

After Hovenweep came the "everything I wanted to do while driving somewhere between Provo and Roswell but never had time to do because I just wanted to not be driving anywhere" part of the trip.

First stop: Newspaper Rock. I know, right?

The good news: writing down what's going on so other people who didn't see it firsthand can know what's going on has been around for eight or so centuries. That gives me hope that it's got a few good years left.

Next stop was Wilson Arch, then Hole in the Rock, which turned out to be so big of a disappointment that I didn't even take a picture. It's good to know that in at least some of these cases, I hadn't been missing anything in all these years of driving past it.

Being outside just makes me so happy! Every time I got back into the car I had to set the cruise control right away or my excitement pooled in my right foot and the sewing machine engine went into turbo.

Anyway. I'm back in Provo -- a little smelly, sporting a sun/caffeine/not a lot of sleep headache, tired, happy and 16 hours removed from being back at work. The weekend is never long enough.

But next week marks the start of National Parks Week, when you can get into national parks for free (minus the $4 a gallon gas). I have this wide open Saturday afternoon next week, and Kolob Canyon is three hours away. It's tempting -- very, very tempting.

* In case you're wondering, my girls weekend buddy was Mother Nature.

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