Monday, August 13, 2012

The week with Mom (Part 2)

Monument Valley

Flag in the Navajo Nation
Gosh it has been a wee while since this all happened so I'll try scratch together the memories. So a bit of a big day, driving over 500km or 300mi. Again as usual thought it was a beautiful drive with the rich red sand landscape of Arizona and Utah. The feature of the day, seeing the magnificent Monument Valley. This gigantuian landscape situated right off the main road within the Navajo Nation Indian reservation was a sight and wonderful experience of an American Indian place. Not falling within the National Parks system made this place a bit cooler really. We decided to drive around a burly sand road that took us winding through the buttes or 'big rock things.' A journey Diane was apprehensive taking our hire car on, but no worries I only bottomed out a few times. The very undeveloped feel, not the crowds seen else where and a few friendly Navajoes to talk to made it. One offering out a photo opp on a mustang horse for a dollar and another showing us a traditional desert mud hut, and plenty of others selling hand made crafts and jewelry. The buttes were pretty amazing, another natural wonder on a scale of nearly unfathomable history of creation. On just another pefrect day, this place was wicked.

Driving on we headed for Moab, Utah on the edge of the Arches National Park. Sighting our first arch just before reaching town. I decide looking from afar was not good enough so I ran right up and climbed as high up the arch as I could. Only on my descent I realised sitting in a car for hours then sprinting up hill at high elevation in the desert was unfortunately painful. A wildly huge American BBQ dinner left us extremely full with plates of food unbelievably huge and dense and a burger that was taller than my local craft beer.

Arches National Park was another treat, slightly congested and on a steaming hot day escaping the crowds was hard as walking was deathly. Again you wounder how such unique formations occurred, day after day a different completely amazing geological wonder. Amy and I took a little 30 min walk early in the park, deep between some long buttes capturing a little moment of isolation. On along to the long list of arches, some narrow arches in large rock formations and others standing on their lonesome standing so brittle as if they could topple at any moment. We ventured down narrow slots between buttes across sand so pure, even managing to find a sturdy accessible arch to summit!

Diane, Amy, Shannon & Thomas
Driving on that afternoon moving from the desert to mountains, its still hard to imagine such vastly different environments so closely adjacent. For the night we stayed in the picturesque alpine town of Park City, host to the 2002 Winter Olympics. A very adorable sleepy little mountain town in its spring off season during our visit. Still plenty of little shops for my ladies and a nice pizza joint with some local brews. The Winter Olympics museum and training centre was cool. The athletes don't get a rest even when there isn't snow though as we sat and watched while ski jump athletes practiced with an artificial ski ramp jumping into a pool! In skis and full winter attire too!

Can you spot the skier upside-down flipping into the pool?

On our last day with Mommy and Shan we headed to Salt Lake City where they were to fly out from. A few last sights of the Mormon tabernacle, the city itself and a look at the lake. I originally thought I was keen for a swim, but changed my mind once we got to the water. After covering a few thousand miles already we also had to return our car and get another as we had driven so far we required an oil change. So hoping for a more fuel efficient vehicle, the Mitsubishi Endeavor 4x4 wasn't exactly what we were thinking. Seeing Diane and Shannon off that night made me excited for one thing, a sleep-in the next morning, a casual start to the day with a swim, playing basketball and a spa. Man was this one nice campground!!!
Shannon, Amy & Thomas in Park City, Utah

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