Sep 14, 2018

BeaUTAHful Anniversary

9/14/2018 — cori
To celebrate our 22nd anniversary, Chuck and I decided to head back to one of our favorite places - Utah. Can I just say how much I LOVE this state?! It has some of the most amazing geological features, mountains, rivers, and scenery. We kept hearing about Moab and thought that would be an awesome place to spend a weekend together.

This is the view we were greeted with while driving into town! 

After the gorgeous 6 hour drive, we found our rental property and walked around the downtown area. Then we drove 30 miles outside of town to a place called Dead Horse State Park. We heard it had spectacular sunsets. It did not disappoint. We spent two sunsets out here overlooking this massive canyon.

First thing the next day we went straight to Arches National Park. We had no idea what to expect but were super excited to see and try it all. We figured we would do the Big One first - the Delicate Arch. After finally finding the right trail, we began our trek. We never checked to see if it was an easy, moderate, or difficult trail until we finished it 2 hours later. Of course we jumped right into the hardest of hard. The picture above is actually a trail, it goes all the way to the top of that rock ledge and then some. It's very difficult to tell the steady incline, but our legs sure felt it!

This is the rock ledge that was in the top right hand corner of the above picture. It went on and on and on. It was a beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky. We had to keep reminding ourselves we were in the desert and that shade was a luxury.

This is the final part of the trail. Around the corner and to the right, the Delicate Arch awaits. That is, if you ever make it past this tiny, life-threatening path that plunges hundreds of feet straight down on the left. Walking up was fine because I could hug the cliff face. Walking back down on the other side was almost the end of me. My legs were so shaky I don't know how I was able to physically keep walking. Chuck kept telling me,"Just look at the wall. I'll guide you down." I did and he did. But that was just the beginning of doing all kinds of things I didn't know I was able to do. This was the weekend of doing hard things. But the reward and payoff was soooo worth it! 

TADA!! The Arch is MASSIVE! And BEAUTIFUL! It was definitely worth the hike! 

Another, closer angle. 

We drove to a picnic spot and enjoyed a nice, shady lunch. 

Right behind our picnic table was this little cave. Chuck couldn't resist climbing up it. It was the climb back down that was tricky though. It wasn't super tall, but it was very slick with no place to hold on to but too high to jump down from. This time it was my turn to help him. I verbally guided him down by telling him where to place his feet (as I recorded it on video). 

Our next hike was in a place called The Fiery Furnace. We had to watch a special video at the Visitor Center and answer a few questions before paying for a permit to walk through this amazing place. They have to keep track of all the hikers here because there are no trails. It's just a maze of rocks that seems to go on forever. And it was the highlight of our whole trip. 

The Fiery Furnace was as hot as it's name. There is no direct way in, you just start walking. We came to a huge grouping of boulders and just started climbing. Remember that phrase our family coined years ago, "It's not an adventure unless mom is scared." was a true adventure! 

This place just blew our minds! There were crevices so narrow we had to squeeze sideways to get through them.

Or shimmy our way through Ninja Warrior style.

This was the day I became brave. 

It was so serene and quiet. We felt like the only people there. There was a sense of awe all around us. I think we passed only 4 other people the whole 2+ hours we were out there. It was a little dicey water-wise. We each only had one bottle of water left for this hike. We could have used like 3 more. It was HOT. And we had no idea how long this hike would take us or if we would ever find our way out of this maze of boulders and cliffs. It was the ultimate off-road adventure for us. We felt a huge sense of accomplishment walking out of there 2.5 hours later.

That evening we went out for a special dinner and back to the Sunset Place.

It was every bit as romantic as you think it would be.

A nice fellow sunset watcher offered to take our photo. 

I thought it ironic that at the same time, a photographer was there taking wedding photos of this sweet new couple as we were there taking pictures on our 22nd wedding anniversary.

The next day we spent the first 4 hours paddle boarding down the Colorado River. We had THE BEST TIME EVER! There were only 3 of us and our guide. We even did paddle board yoga! We went through some level 1 rapids, through which we mostly paddled through on our knees. Chuck tried the last set standing up and fell. He fell off twice and I fell off once. I was shocked that was all. I was expecting alot more falling. Unfortunately, I don't have my pictures of that developed yet. We had to do an old school waterproof disposable camera in order to capture this incredible occasion. When I get them back, I'll be sure to do another blog with those pictures. 

After lunch, we headed back out to Arches National Park and thought we would do a few easy hikes. We managed to walk the path to Balanced Rock and the North and South Windows (below) before calling it a day. 

Just to walk up a simple path took every ounce of our energy. Now we know why. Come to find out, it hit 104 degrees that afternoon and we felt like we were dragging. We were exhausted! We didn't even eat dinner. I think we were in bed by 6:30. 

We stopped for a little walk on the bridge over the Colorado River the morning we left for one more moment in the shadow of those beautiful mountains and rock formations.

And as per tradition, our song for this year was: Perfect, by Ed Sheeran. I think it sums up our love for each other and appreciation for our time together in this Perfect place!

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