Friday, July 20, 2007

The ongoing process called life...

Our vacation last month went very well, we were able to spend a week in Colorado and Utah. We spent a couple of days with my brother-in-law and his wife and hiked in Golden Gate State Park in Colorado the day I arrived. Needless to say, this out of shape and overweight flatlander was huffing and puffing. I was actually surprised at how well I was able to breath considering I had gained something like 8400 feet of elevation in just 4 hours! I could keep pace hiking, but was completely unable to both hike and talk. It was one or the other. Probably a blessing in disguise for everyone else.

We also spent an afternoon at Elitch Garden Water Park in downtown Denver. This was the first time I have visited Elich's since they moved locations. Much nicer location, and a great view of downtown, especially from the top of some of the water park rides. I tried out the ride called "The Edge" and got my money's worth! The Edge is a 4+ story drop while you sit in an inner tube. It's effectively a gigantic water park half-pipe. I was pretty certain I was going to rocket off the far side and launch myself into the Pepsi Center parking lot, but thankfully gravity still works and I only came close to the top bumper. Absolutely thrilling! My wife chose to not take in this ride (wisely for her, she would NOT have liked it) and instead did some extra rounds on Castaway Creek. It was a lot of fun, and we'd certainly do it again. We're planning on hitting the Valleyfair water park later this summer.

After a couple of days in Denver we set out heading West for Utah. We got slowed down just before Silverthorne by an accident that closed down West bound I-70. So rather than making progress, we sat in traffic for 2 hours in the middle of nowhere. Eventually we made it to Moab, Utah. We originally were scheduled for camping at Wagner Lake, but the Moab Welcome Center advised us that A) even though by map it's a short distance it is still a 1.5+ hour drive (supposedly 18 miles away) and B) it is still cold enough at that altitude over night that the water hadn't yet been turned on. So we scrapped that plan (forfeiting the $29 reservation for the site) and stayed on the Northern outskirts of Moab in a private campground. This worked out well because we had hot showers, and the campground was 4 miles from Arches National Park, and 2 miles from Downtown Moab.

We spent an entire day in Arches National Park. That's a lot of rock! We hiked for roughly 14 hours. We got up early and arrived at the Ranger Station just as they opened with the hopes of getting reservations to go into an area called Fiery Furnace. They were completely filled, so we moved on to Plan B and drove into the trail head for Delicate Arch. Hiking to Delicate Arch is something I would advise to do early in the day this time of year. It was blazing hot and no shade for miles. Bring lots of water too. A long segment of the hike consists of walking across a huge portion of slickrock from cairn to cairn. Also not a place to be caught in a thunder storm! We spent a few hours at Delicate Arch, relaxing, enjoying the view, and eating lunch. We saw most of the sights in Arches in one day. Honestly you could spend two days and see more, but after about the 4th arch they begin to loose some of their impressiveness. And the oppressive heat in June doesn't help. I can only imagine what August must be like there. My wife was suffering through a cold the whole trip, so it was even worse for her.

Moab is a neat little town with lots to do. We would love to return there and take in some 4-wheeling, mountain biking and kayaking on the Colorado River. Everyone we met (locals) were very nice and friendly, which I suppose is to be expected in a town that lives off of tourism.

We spent the rest of our vacation in Fort Collins and Loveland Colorado with my aunts, uncles and cousins. Most of one day we spent at a place called Supper Made Simple which is owned and operated by my aunt. I had heard good things about these type of places, but became sold on it after spending a few hours making meals. The food was outstanding, healthy, well balanced, nicely portioned, and most important convenient.

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