A Desert Adventure

  Superman, the boys and I are here in Moab, Utah.  
Our first day here, we checked out Arches National Park. 

 Millions of years ago, ocean waves covered this area. 

 Doesn’t this look like something from Star Wars?  The ground here looks like sand in this picture, but it is actually something they call “slick rock”. When it rains they say the water will come through so fast, causing extreme flooding, due to the ground not being able to absorb the rain.

 This is Balancing Rock. I hope the people in the foreground help give you some perspective of how huge this is. Mind boggling, really. 

 Surprisingly, not many people out. 

 Delicate Arch. Doesn’t seem like that big a deal…

  Until you throw some people under there!  

 Trying to create a typical tourist photo, but not quite capturing the right effect. 

 Double Arches. Imagine million of years ago, when the ocean began to dry up, leaving behind miles thick layers of salty sediment.  

 Then as years pass, with wind, fault shifts and rain, the unstable salt layers begin to erode away. 

 The erosion leaves us these amazing arches. I think this landscape reminds me of the roadrunner cartoons. Beep Beep!

 And she conquers the world! Ok. So I really didn’t conquer the world, but I did scramble up this here rock face. Going up wasn’t the problem. It’s the coming down that provided much humor for Superman.

 Petroglyph drawings from the Ute Indians thousands of years ago.  

 The next day, we take “The Land Before Time” Canyoneering trip. Canyoneering is the process of traveling through steep canyons by hiking, scrambling, climbing, swimming, and  rappelling.  

 Ok so this isn’t the exact trail we took, but it is close. 

 There were many very narrow slots that we had to shimmy through or use what they call bridging. Bridging is your hands are on the opposite wall of your feet. You form a bridge over the water and “walk” your hands and feet to the other side.

  This was a very narrow slot we had to get through. On the left is the canyon wall and to the right, there is a petrified tree. We had to climb to the top of the tree, turn around, carefully place feet on wall,  then jump into the chest deep water. Hitting your chin on the tree as you jumped down would have caused great pain. 

 This is one of three rappelling we had to do. This particular one was 130 feet down. Yup 130 Feet!

 Do you see the rope? Old Mar shimmied on down that thing…No Problem! Actually, rappelling is not scary. I feel perfectly safe. I’m all harnessed up, safely secure with all sorts of ropes, carabiners, special knots and guys paying attention to all the details. We rappelled down a 75 ft drop and a 125ft drop. 

 As soon as we got to the bottom of this 130 ft canyon, we had to squeeze through a small crevice into waist high stinky water.  

 One of the many fascinating things I learned on this adventure was the durability of Mother Nature through thousands, even millions of years. This juniper tree (although not photographed well) is said to be thousands of years old. Thousands! That BLOWS MY MIND!  

 We saw a small pool of water, which our guide said is fed by a natural spring, so it has always had water in it. In this pool were tiny little critters that he said are same as they were in the prehistoric age. This area has not been ruined by developers, roads, railways….people.  

 It is always changing, but yet thankfully stays the same. My hope is that my fellow humans will continue to revere this land we live in. As for here in Moab, every day brings something new. Maybe it is 110 degrees outside today and the next day 90 degrees. On Monday a dry riverbed, and yet on Tuesday a roaring flood. To think that at one time a long, long time ago, this was somewhat flat land with an ocean covering it. And here it is today. Wow. 

Friends we are so blessed to have this at our disposal. Take care of it. Enjoy it.

Thanks for dropping by!  

 
 

The #1 Thing to Do in Banff, Canada

IMG_6522.JPGAre you planning to visit Banff, Canada? Are you ready to have a little adventure? Then you have to make make time for the Via Ferrata. IMG_6524.JPGThe Iron Road is a series of ladders, holds and cables which are set in the mountain and are used to climb to the top of The Norquay cliffs. Our good friends, Greg and Joyclynn, immediately said Yes! when Superman sent an email asking if they’d like to join us.

IMG_6519.JPGThe certified guides helped strap us in our harnesses, helmets and gloves. (Even ones with pretty little flowers on them…You Da Man Greg!) We took the chairlift to the start of the four hour adventure.

IMG_6532.JPG(photo via http://summer.banffnorquay.com)
The first step out of our comfort zone was the swinging bridge. (Note to self…do not be the person immediately in front of Superman on this bridge. He is obnoxious.)

IMG_6515.JPGAlthough there are rungs and foot holds to grab onto if you wanted, this is a moderate climb for the average Mary. No one is pulling you up. You use your upper and lower body muscles to get yourself to the next level.

IMG_6523.JPGAnd when you do get to the next ridge and you take a look at the scenery around you….the beauty will take your breath away. The higher you get, the better the view.

IMG_6505.JPGHey, Look at me Ma! One hand!!

Even though I’m not completely comfortable with heights, I never felt scared. Safety is the Via Ferrata’s number one priority.

IMG_6504.JPGAs an added bonus, we saw this beautiful double rainbow!

This little adventure sure has been the talk of the conference. Most people have been flabbergasted at the idea and others want to sign up right away. As I would like to quote Superman

You never know how much you are capable of doing until you get out there and do it.

He’s definitely opened my eyes to what this old body can do. In fact, I think my body can do just about anything, it’s my mind that trips me up. I’m glad he’s around to keep challenging me.

Thank you Joyclynn and Greg for another great memory! Superman- You Rock! And thanks to you for dropping by,

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