Listening to: peace and quiet
Sept 13-16, 2013 - Arches National Park
Fri the 13th. Dun dun dun. Drove in the rain and dropped off my dog at Gma's. My first time getting a dog sitter for him. Sad day. Gma told me not to go to 'southern' end of the state, first I'm going to the east thank you... She said that it would flash flood and we would die or something. Just because we were getting rain doesn't mean the rest of the state was... And then my dog, sweet dog, got so excited he pooped all over the front room. How embarrassing and not a good start for a babysitter. Anyways, that was a slightly depressing send off for a vacation. Fri the 13th begins!
The rain cleared up. I figgered we'd drive during the weather and get there just in time for sunshine down there. I was right for the most part. We left around 10:-10:30 and got there about 2:00. We stopped in Price for Subway. I let him drive the whole time Friday with his car an' all. He used his new car and the turbo a lot. Finally, I'll let him drive me around.
We showed up Fri afternoonish and we checked in the hotel, the place was packed, the hotels are all full, I got what I could find 'last minute' (which was like 2 weeks ago). It was a nice modern looking place, purple and teal colors, with abstract style bedding. Anyways, we headed back up to Arches National Park and checked out the Visitors Center while it was open and checked out the video. We planned on hiking up to the Delicate Arch that night. I got myself all pumped and ready. We headed up to the area I didn't get to see last time and thought we'd take a quick hike up to the Landscape Arch, the thinnest arch left which is slowly coming down.
While we were up on another short trail the clouds came and nearby and it started sprinkling. The boy was already in 'go, go, go' mood and then it rains so he almost went into a panic. Oh bother. Searching anywhere and everywhere for cover. It felt good! You need some sprinkle when yer hiking on a hot day. Just not sure if it would flash flood... Everyone was running down the path the other way while we were hiking up the path. Mostly it was ppl with cameras and tri-pods who were running and some younger kids. Younger kids to me nowadays is like 19 yr olds...
So we had the choice of continuing to Landscape Arch or trying to get to Delicate Arch before the flash flood came. I was determined to hike Delicate that day. I just had to. I wanted to hike it while the sun went down. Pritti that way. But with all the clouds coming that point was probably mute. Evan said we shouldn't with the pending rain and hiking on that slick rock. He started telling me things to scare me away from the idea. Real mature. I made up my mind and started walking, then I promptly turned around and headed up to the Landscape Arch like the boy wanted. I juss didn't know enough about the rain in that area.
When we were coming back down, we still had time to hike Delicate, we drove by it and saw that the road was closed to the parking lot. A flash flood swooped down and covered the road to get in and out of the place. Water pushed all this red dirt onto the road and there was a line of cars waiting to get out, waiting for something to come and unbury the road. I think we choose the right hike to take tonight? We were coming back up this way to get home on Monday, maybe we could try to hike it then, depending on the rain.
A nice shower after a hike in the sprinkle rain. mmm. That night we weren't really hungry when we walked a block away from the hotel to search for food. We checked out menus and prices and wasn't really interested. Oddly enough I ended up with an all you can eat soup and salad and the boy had a sandwhich. I was just starting my period and so I had a bottomless pit of a stomach even though I didn't feel very hungry. I prolly sat there for like 2 hours and juss ate a little at a time. Also with the period comes the weird taste of everything. Everything tastes different, everything smells strongly, etc. I didn't end up liking most of the food I was eating, but I just kept going. There's no 'full' button when it comes to that time of month and bloating.
Saturday, Sept 14, 2013 - Mesa Verde National Park
I made him take me to the Denny's for breakfast. Our hotel didn't have a contential breakfast and the next hotel did. I wanted at least one morning of a good breakfast! We went up and down the shops and looked around. The boy didn't find anything he wanted. I found a flag for Dallin, something like "Guns are our nations homeland security" or something like that... I found a shirt I liked. I already have magnets and postcards from the first time I went to Moab in 2010. We double checked that the Delicate Arch road was closed for the rest of the day I believe before we moved on to check out of the hotel and headed to CO. The boy wanted to get there and stay there for as long as possible. I wasn't going to let him spend 3 whole days in one National Park, it would get boring, so I tried to split it up and stall him for awhile. I tried to convince him we could stop and 'smell the flowers' and see the sights as we went along. We stopped at a "Hole in the Rock". Kinda interesting, always has some type of building/home/store inside the hole in the rock. I'm sure there's more than one.
It didn't take long to get to CO and 20 minutes just before town we started seeing 'dwelling' sites or whatever we could see along the way. So we meandered toward some of those. We went to the Lowry dwellings first and we attempted to find this other one, but we never made it before we turned around and then we attempted to find the Anazasi Historical Museum/Center thing and we never quite made it to that one either the whole time we were there....
We went into town and checked into our dinky hotel. Hey, it was cheap. The owners appearance needed some...work on, and breakfast was lame, but it was all good by the end of the stay. Then we headed over to the Welcome Center and talked this ornery judgmental lady who told us what to do. The boy HAD to buy tickets to all of the guided tours THAT day. So we went up the Mesa Verde National Park and stopped by the visitors center, stamped the boys passport, got me a smashed penny, and bought tickets to the only two guided tours we were allowed to see. The other side of the part closes during the 'off-season'. We chose to do one that evening when it was cooler and the other the next morning and then explore the rest of the park Sunday.
So we meandered up the long switch back mountain up to the cliffs and headed for the Balancy House cliff dwelling. They tell you that you will climb ladders, crawl through tight spaces, and hope you aren't afraid of heights. We chose that one first. It wasn't as exciting. We got there like 10 minutes early, of course, and waited for the guide. The boy hoped for an indian/native guide while we were learning about their coulture and sure enough we got a native. An old, ornery, passive, long winded, native.
We had a small group of like 15-20 people and stood up at the top and listened to him for like 20 minutes I swear. They say the tours go 1.5 hours. Now I know why. They all just talk for about an hour and we go through the actual dwelling in like 30 minutes. Anyways he tried to get us to relate to the cliff dwellers and how they would survive in the desert. Got the brain gears moving. This small family came running down the path after us and asked if they could join us, they had gotten tickets, but were late cuz of traffic and their last tour. The old ornery native scoffed at them and didn't really say yes or no and rudely said "well make up your mind". Clearly, this family did not feel welcome. I've seen the guide talk another guy like that who asked if he could go on the tour without a ticket. I knew he was just trying to follow the rules and was rude and ornery and didn't really know how to be assertive and say no very well. I wanted to say "yes, you will stay! stay!".
He continued his long winded chat before we even got to the dwelling. As we climbed down the cliff into the house in the cliff we chatted to the family behind us. The boy turned around and said "welcome to the group". Something they clearly did not feel welcome. The girl jumped on that statement and they gave a sincere thank you and then she went on to explain why they were late. They did a good job ignoring the guides rudeness the rest of the tour.
The guide picked on me a lot. At first he used my long hair to help the group figger out how to survive in the desert. Then he used me in the cliff dwelling to explain how the generations of cliff dwellers might have lived and carried on each generation, as in a woman who can bear children. He gave me a Junior Ranger badge for picking on me.
I thought he picked on me because at one point we were standing around and someone warned us not to lean on the dwelling walls or the guide would get all ornery and rude and as we were climbing a ladder up to more rooms I mentioned I wasn't so worried about his rudeness and said "He's just a mean old man who needs his mommy" (quoting Peter Pan when Mary says to Jack, "Let's go home Jack. He's just a mean old man who needs his mommy very very badly!") and the family heard me and they all laughed. I think they like us. We made friends. Then when the guide was picking on me and having babies and all the wife of the family was making faces with me when I made a face at what he was saying about me. He made 'back handed' comment basically saying I wasn't no 'spring chicken' and then explaining that I was the youngest one there to produce babies. It was weird. He kinda went into detail on that 'no spring chicken' comment....
Anyways, we listened, we learned, we walked, we crawled, we climbed, we took pictures, we talked, we pondered together about water and surviving in the desert and in the cliff and we departed back up at the top of the cliff. We went to a few more stops before it got dark and headed back down the long switchback road. We stopped by Pizza Hut I think and ordered a big ol' pizza. We were so hungry.
He didn't want to drive up Arches road -twice- in two days. Somehow he wanted to just drive up Arches once and do it all in one evening or something. But at Mesa Verde, where had his heart set on going, he could drive up the long winding road twice. Up and down, up and down, etc. Oy vay. I got sick on the drive up so I drove down and the rest of the trip, really.
Sunday, Sept 15th, 2013 - Mesa Verde National Park
We got up earlier, the boy had made the Cliff Palace tour for like 10:30 so we had to leave around 9am to get there in time. The boy ate the continential breakfast. I attempted and didn't like it and ate some pizza instead. I convinced him that if I drove we wouldn't be late. Oy vay.
The Cliff Palace is basically the infamous cliff dwelling everyone sees on postcards and pictures and when they think about Mesa Verde. Kinda like Delicate Arch is the arch everyone thinks of when they hear arch or UT or see pictures of it. It was the biggest dwelling that was still mostly intact in the whole park I believe. We had another 1.5 hour tour, this time with a LOT more people. Glad we did a small one in the evening.
More talking. More pictures. More dwellings. And from day one, from the Lowry dwellings we saw very first are these pits that like -every- dwelling has, called Kivas. More kivas. The boy was just eating this stuff up. I'm sure how many questions you can ask about a round hole in the ground, but he asked them. He wanted to know everything about this cliff dwelling lifestyle. I never even heard of the National Park until he mentioned he wanted to go to it like a year ago. But it did look cool and made you wonder how they built that high up and how they climbed up there to live. They picked good spots with the sun in the right spots during the winters and summers.
The park was small enough and we still had the whole day to explore I said we should visit every spot on the map and look-see. That might have been a mistake. He was juss eating this information up and I had to walk through it the whole time and see more kivas' and read more posts and climb up and down more hills. I was more interested in the bunnies and lizards I saw on the path than more kivas'.
We went to the Spruce Tree, self guided, after the Cliff Palace. Unfortunately there they had guides on site to watch the place and answer questions. And boy did he have questions... haha. It wasn't that bad. From like 10:30 to about 4:30 we were out exploring. I made him stop and get me a navajo taco while we were experiencing the culture and it was lunch time. Yum. Perfect light treat before more exploring in the hot day.
Side note: All the flooding currently happening in CO, this great flood natural disaster they are having is like up in Denver, Boulder County area, not in the bottom west corner, so we didn't get any flash floods here. They said the weather wouldn't stop the park from continuing only lightning would scare the rangers away. And mostly the flash flooding UT was in southern UT in Zions Park, not as much in the east.
We got done with the park in like 1.5 days, not even that. Glad I stalled the boy with other activities. He was just to yeager and excited to come and see and learn. But I wasn't going to do that for three days, I was already somewhat bored and tired of it after 1.5 days. So we headed back to Cortez and looked for souveniors of CO. We didn't find anything til the next day tho. Everything was closed on Sundays. I got my postcards and magnets for both the park and the state, yes its right next door and I've never really 'been' to CO. I found a shot glass for Sarahs collection and a stone thing with Cliff Palace on it for Ma and Pa. There, got them all gifts. I wanted some pants, but I didn't find any... no clothes I wanted.
I had this idea that since we still had time on Sunday to explore we could go to the Four Corners Sun night and then Mon morning we could have more time getting back to Arches, taking a quick 2 hour hike and then drive the rest of the way home. Just bump our timeline up a bit to have more time to get things done before we had to drive home. It was kinda brillant. So we headed over to the Four Corners, which I found the actual destination that you drive up on is in New Mexico, thankyouverymuch. I just knew that the four corners, at least to enter into it, had to be in ONE state and I couldn't tell which one it was cuz on the map it doesnt' really mark where Four Corners is, the actual monument. Anyways....
We came, we saw, we took pictures, we bought from the vendors, and we had some fry bread. Always have to have the native fry bread. I was 4 states/places at once! That should be on my bucket list. Copying "A Walk To Remember" she wanted to be in two places/states at once, but I got four! I bought a postcard, magnet, and keychain of the four corners. I had to use the boys cash cuz I ran out and wanted more stuffs. teehee. Awesome. Look at me experiencing things. Getting cultured. I think my P. Blessing says something about that....
We got some snacks at Wally World and snacked on that for dinner after the fry bread. More showers, more tv, and then we went to the hot tub. A long hot day in the sun and warmish showers to get the sweat off and then a hot tub when it was still kinda warm in the evening....we didn't stay in the hot tub very long... But the pool water was so cold. A cute older couple were excerising together in the pool. But it was nice to relax the muscles. Mesa is MUCH easier than hiking Arches by FAR. But still, each morning I'd wake up with my calves doing something twitchy. After the first evening at Arches my calves had like charlie horses in them for awhile.
Monday, Sept 16, 2013 - Back to Arches and Moab
Mon we slept in a bit longer. The boy had the continential breakfast again and he ate the rest of the pizza the night before so I juss ate some pastries. We watched the rest of a TV show we missed the night before until about 10-10:30 and then we left. We got to Moab about noon and decided to hike the Arch in the hottest part of the day. Bought more stuff at the information center when we went to ask if there was any more rain since Fri.
The boy didn't really wanna do the hike. But for some reason I was so set on doing this stupid hike. I've done it before and it was hard then and it'll be harder now cuz I'm older and fatter, but I still wanted to see if I could do it I guess. I didnt know if I should ask the boy if he wanted to go cuz I knew he'd say no and then I'd be all selfish and make him go anyway. It'd be a breeze for him! What's he worried about! So I made him go. Might as well. We were there. Paid the fee the already. Had some extra time before we had to be home... No pritti sunset tho.
So around we got up there around 2:30 and started the hike during the hottest part of the day. Brilliant eh? Watched these tall foreigners in sandals and who barely had clothes simply walk up the rock like it was no big deal in the hot sun. I'm thinking, "I hate you". The beat us up there, hang around for like an hour or so til I get up there, I spend like 20 minutes up there and came back down and they beat me back down. Argh. I see older couples attempting to make it and I'm glad I do this hiking stuff when I'm 'younger'. Instead of trying to explore and experience life in my 40's or 50's.
My face, of course, is beat red and everyone thinks I'm gonna die like the last time I hiked this thing. Mom had to tell everyone I was just fine and shoo them around me as I stopped every few feet. We both get red faces when we do any sort of exercise. We feel fine, but we sure don't look it. So naturally one lady comments on my face when I get to the top. Victory! And then someone asks me if I'm okay and that I look sunburnt and should never use that sunscreen again. Oy vay. Stupid roseca. I think I was faster this year getting up there. I thought the boy would be pushing and pulling and freaking out about time and whatnot. But for the first time, and I mean for the first time almost literally, that I can remember, the boy was patient with me and my body as I hiked. He kept talking like it was our mind that could make all this happen, and I kept reminding him that I was going to go as fast as my body would let me... But he was actually patient and kind.
The only issue was when I wanted to stop and rest it HAD to be in the shade. We are climbing up a rock in the desert! There are no trees/shade until you get closer to the top and on the other side of the rock to get away from the sun. And when your calves are screaming cuz you are going steep uphill and you want water you really dont CARE if you have shade. You just want to stop and drink! But it was somewhat pleasant hiking with him this time. Took like 1.5 hours to get up there and explore and take pictures and then like 30 minutes to get down.
He wanted to take a little longer detour when we got down to look at some petroglyphs. By that time, after going down the steep rock, there was no stopping me. Once I stopped walking I was done..for hours. So I couldn't stand to stop and look at things and read stuff so I juss kept walking. Took the car keys and kept walking. I sat in the car with the A/C and vowed not to walk for at least 2 hours.
Tired and hot and hungry we got in the car and headed back home. I drove with the numb feeling legs and calves somehow. We stopped again in Price and had Subway. This is like the 3rd time I went through Helper and still didnt get to see the mining cave museum or the tallest miner. If I see Helper UT one more time, so help me, I must see it! No matter how lame it is! I didn't use the turbo as much as he did. I didnt pass as many people, I went the speed limit mostly. Everyone just thought I was the fast looking car and so I would go fast.
Dropped myself off at the house and got my stuff unloaded. Sent the boy home and got back into a car to go get the dog. Let's drive some more today. And it was different not driving a faster car. My poor car. I knew I'd get in and press the gas and go "awww" cuz it didn't turbo like his new car. I hope we put some big miles on his car after all the miles my car went thru for him! I got the dog around 9pm. Gma was up canning grapes with Renee there.
The dog seemed to like it there and didnt really know why I showed up. He liked it when Gma was in the kitchen. He got to stay inside the house most of the time and followed Gma around, literally, slept on her floor. No more bathroom accidents, ate his food all gone. Was a bit upset after Sunday dinner and everyone went home and he thought he was supposed to leave too. Was a bit offended when Gma got upset with his nosieness and kinda yelled at him. He wouldn't follow her for awhile. Gma doesn't do this often, but I'm glad she knows when and how to be assertive. Cute. I think Gma liked the company for a bit. Wouldn't like it permanently, but prolly thought it was nice, cute and fun for awhile. I felt more comfortable leaving him with her cuz I know they like each other and he could get more attention.
Took him home and went to bed. Work the next day and the first day of this dating class Ma wanted me to go to. Vacation over. Life moves on. It was a nice break, hiking really isnt my idea of vacation, but it works. Something different.