Monday, September 2, 2013

Day 3 & 4 - On the Colorado River - August 29 & 30

Another early morning and a group consisting of about 15 adults and 20 Boy Scouts embark on a rafting trip on the Colorado. Recent rains meant the river was higher than usual and the color of red clay. I was a bit apprehensive that I might find such a "float" boring or under stimulating, but there were some inflatable kayaks available, so I chose to kayak instead of riding the raft. I ended up having the least likely (for me) kayaking partner: a 30-something guy from south Texas who called me "ma'am" the entire time, who voted for Rick Perry every election, is a proud gun-owner and hunter, and has zero interest in technology (would never be on Facebook)-- sort of everything I wanted to escape when departing Texas!! However, I much preferred having him as a co-pilot to one of the 12-year-old boys (who had ongoing water fights throughout the trip) and he turned out to be a fantastic partner: noticed wildlife I missed, happily waited as I unpacked my camera from its waterproof container, and approached the rapids with a confidence I lacked. I heard about his upbringing in foster care and how this was his first vacation in nine years. He teased me about all my liberal views and I ranted about the politics of Texas. Altogether, a great match. We camped out on the river bank, and if they could have found a way to provide showers, I would have cheerfully kayaked the river for a week. The trip was more than I expected, with exhilarating rapids and amazing views if the sandstone cliffs.
Day 1 of river trip.
Evening camp:

Arches National Park - August 28, 2013

I met up with the group from the Moab Adventure Center T 7:15 a.m. (early for me, but I am ready to go) and we had a tour of the park for the next 4 & 1/2 hours. Below are some of he photos from hat excursion.
In the evening, our group went out for a "Hummer Sunset Safari" - a title suggesting to me a quiet ride in the desert where there would be opportunities to see the canyons & the river in the evening light. What I DID NOT EXPECT was a hair-raising Hummer drive up 60 degree angles on gigantic rocks followed by racing curves in the sand. Remember that high anxiety feeling of going up the steep incline of a huge roller coaster where your stomach sinks and you wonder what on earth ever gave you the crazy idea of getting on the "Devil's Backbone Coaster?" That is EXACTLY the thought and expressed reaction of myself and several of my trip mates (excepting all the young adolescent and adult males who thought the experience was totally exhilarating!). It was terrifying and I kept wondering if my health insurance would even cover injuries due to such insane activities. I definitely should have read the liability release more carefully. However, the sunset photos were magnificent & would have made the "adventure" worth the terror if only I had not ERASED the entire memory card accidentally. Note to self: don't try to edit images while still under the influence of an adrenalin rush. So the experience of that night will remain in memory, but without visual accompaniment.

On the road again....

Long time, no traveling. 2011 was the year I decided that I needed to get a divorce from Texas .... a difficult decision, but a long time coming. As I said in an earlier post, my experience on the Camino convinced me of the obvious truth that I only have one life, so I better make it the one that is right for me. So all of 2012 was spent planning & executing a move to Albuquerque & there was no time or interest in traveling. My trip for the year was the 14 hour drive from hell with two very unhappy cats, but we arrived safely in ABQ and 18 months later, I am "on the road again." I had planned originally to hike the Dingle Peninsula on the west coast of Ireland (which I still want to do), but the move to NM made a trip within the US much more viable and attractive. So this is my first American Car Trip, and I am exploring the National Parks of the west and southwest. Day 1: August 27, 2013 - Drive from ABQ to Moab, UT Not much to say about this day except it was longer than expected due to frequent Riad work requiring stops of 15 minutes or more. But I am on holiday, so what's the rush?