Note by Beci Ã¢â‚¬â€œ AhhÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ the glamorous life of a travel planner. Hurricane Dean managed to change my plans today. I stayed behind to assist a client trying to escape Cancun before the category 5 storm blew into town. So while I was working the phones, Michelle volunteered to cover blog duty today. Thanks Michelle!
A Ã¢â‚¬Å“DelicateÃ¢â‚¬Â Day
Blog entry courtesy of Daredevil Michelle –
We had another early wake-up call but enjoyed the fact that we only would be on the bus today for about 30 minutes! Lots of applauseÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ The Lodge has a brunch on Sunday mornings instead of their normal breakfast. This was a special treat for us since the Lodge bakes all of their own pastries and makes many dishes from scratch. Most amazing in my opinion, the Gingerbread pancakes Annette chose which I of course snuck a bite of. So with full bellies and lots of anticipation of a great hike we were going to take inside Natural Bridges State Park, by 8am we were on our way.
We picked up our local guide for the day named Dave. He is quite the outdoorsman and full of special words for all the rocks we saw while driving. What was that one for petrified Dinosaur poop? Once inside the park we ascended up a winding road and into the park stopping first at Balance Rock. Most of the sandstone rocks here have been eroded by wind, water, rain over time leaving them as they are today. Giant sand boulders are teetering on what look like tall totem poles throughout this park and parts of Utah.
Next stop, the trail up to Delicate Rock. This is one part of the trip I am really excited about, climbing up to see a natural Ã¢â‚¬Å“bridgeÃ¢â‚¬Â. The trail is deceiving but well traveled so obviously a park favorite. Our guides made sure we had lots of water and we soon found out why, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hot here in August. The trail starts out slow and gradual and our group of 25 or so trickled along at their own pace, stopping for well needed breaks. Those coming down the trail kept saying Ã¢â‚¬Å“its well worth the hikeÃ¢â‚¬Â which gave us a boost and kept me chugging along to the top. Once the trail reaches the flat rock surface, the climbing got intense and you had to keep saying, I think I can, I think I canÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
At the top of the rock the trail levels out and switchbacks along the side of the cliffs for a short while. As we rounded one last bend, there it is, Delicate Rock. A naturally formed Arch off in the distance over what looks like a whirlpool of swirling reddish, white sandstone. Worth the climb, absolutely and the best part is you can stand inside the Arch to really get a feel for how big it is and how small you are.
After resting for a bit for snacks and water, our guides had us all form a friendship circle together to congratulate ourselves for a great hike then handed us a special treat for this accomplishment. We all gathered up our belongings and headed down the trail at about 11:00. Glad to be going down since the heat of the day was becoming even more apparent on the faces of other hikers just starting to make the climb. Once back down and on the bus we felt a great since of Ã¢â‚¬Å“ahÃ¢â‚¬Â and drove out of the park and into Moab where we all got to wander around for 2 hours and eat lunch.
Annette and the kids and I chose Sliprock CafÃƒÂ©. A local bar and grill type place with salads, sandwiches and smoothies. We got salads, fries and mozzarella sticks which were all quite tasty after a long morning. I wandered around and had to buy a shirt with a picture of Delicate Arch on the front. Moab is known for motocross bikers, rafting and other outdoor activities and many of the local shops support these sports.
The group headed back to Red Cliffs lodge at 3:00 pm and I headed out for my afternoon Adventure, ATV riding. I went along with 2 other single momÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in the group and their 10 year old sons. I have never been on an ATV and was somewhat nervous as I always am at doing something new for the first time. Besides looking at the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, this by far was the BEST thing I have done on this trip.
Our guide is Casey and looks a lot like Val Kilmer, not a bad thing at all to us girls. We start out gearing up with helmets, gloves and goggles, all necessities for this adventure. Casey gives us a quick lesson on the bikes and we are off. I am on a single while mom and sonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s get the doubles. The path is for the most part flat and drive thru a red rock canyon area along a creek. Did I say creek? Yes, we right off the bat cross over the creek at several spots and water sprays all over us. Totally awesome! We continue riding and now climbing up through the canyon along the creek bed and plateau at the top of butte. We stop for water and pictures and the view is beautiful and amazingly very different from all the other areas IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen. Standing along the edge of farmland we can see a green valley of blowing wheat surrounded by beautiful rocky hills. This part of the trail is very flat and fast! Casey pretty much disappears behind us and we drive at our own speed now back down the trail. By this time, I have gotten the hand of the ATV and drive a little faster, now trying to drive fast through the creek crossings and sliding my wheels behind me. The whole trip takes 2 hours and the whole group had a blast. I would definitely recommend this for those wanting a real adventure in parts of the area you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see otherwise. Other options for the afternoon were Horseback riding and Hummer Jeep tours all of which were reported to be amazing also.
Kids tonight got to have their Jr Adventure dinner and Movie night. They watched High School Musical II while adults dined on their own in the Lodge. Oh yes, did I mention the Lodge is also a Winery with free wine tasting during the dayÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.CanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go wrong here. Beautiful setting, great staff, very relaxing, millions of stars etc etc etc.
Time to sleep, tomorrowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Adventure, a raft float down the Colorado River.