I’m a bit behind in my posting. It’s been hard to get Internet access and typing on a Pocket PC is very tedious. Currently, I’m using our hotel computer – they actually have one for public use. What a treat!

After our adventure Sunday escaping Roads, we headed to Bryce Canyon. I don’t even know how to describe the rocks, except drippy. There are trails that go down into the Canyon that aren’t too strenuous and are short enough to fit a tight schedule, so we meandered down through the cliff walls to see what views we could find. As we wandered down in between the canyons, we were treated to the sounds of a flutist, who must be a native here, because I could barely get enough oxygen for hiking, let alone, hiking and playing a flute.

After Bryce, we headed to Zion where we stayed at the nicest Best Western I’ve ever seen. They had a big pool, the best jets of a hot tub I’ve ever been in, a spacious room and a view of the Zion cliffs. I wanted to never leave. We spent Monday hiking to the top of Observation Point, a 2100 foot elevation change over 4 miles (one way), to the very top of the Zion cliffs, with a gorgeous view overlooking the valley. It is spectacular! For some reason, even though it was the exact same distance and elevation as the Kaibab hike we did in the Grand Canyon, it was brutal. I have done the same hike eight years ago, but somehow blacked out everything past the first 1000 feet, which somehow made me think the hike was considerably easier than it actually was. Stuart and I huffed and puffed the entire way up. It’s good a few days have passed so that I can write this, because I wasn’t actually speaking to myself for a good day. The view at the top though is worth every bit of hard work to get there and if my computer were working, I could point you to some pictures, but that will have to wait until I get home or get my laptop fixed, a prospect that doesn’t seem promising…more on that later.

Anyway, Zion was magnificient. The way down from Observation Point seemed to be as long as the way up. With each switchback down, you can see the valley floor coming closer and closer, but simultaneously, it doesn’t seem as if you’ve made any progress. Somehow we managed to get back to the valley in time to also do a small portion of the Zion Narrows, a trail that is the Virgin river that winds in between the canyons at Zion. Years ago, the only way through the canyons was through the river, but now there is a mile long paved trail that one can walk to get to the good parts. Since I’m rushed for time, I’ll have to wait to tell more about that later, hopefully accompanied by pictures (damned computers!!).

Tuesday, we drove back to Willis Creek to see if we wanted to give that slot canyon one more go. Without question, we decided it wasn’t a good idea. There was a large dip now at the bottom of the hill, no doubt created by our tire tracks. Oh well, maybe another time, with a some honking off-roader.

On we went on our way to Moab, where I write from now. It was a six hour drive through Capitol Reef National Park and land that isn’t designated as park, but looks like the rest of the landscape here. I believe we’ve now seen every possible combination of rock. White rock with red rock, vertical rock with sloping rock, sloping rock on top, sloping rock on bottom, moon rock, sandy rock, lava looking rock, drippy rock, treed rock. Really, there’s every possible combination in Utah.

I would have enjoyed the drive more if my camera had been working. At some point changing lenses, I suppose, some dust or dirt got inside and I’m unsure how much of it is visible in the pictures. Many attempts to clean the camera have been unsuccessful and, that, combined with all the other troubles in my life in the last year, most particularly my laptop choosing to break now, put me in an unrecoverable funk. With every turn of the road, there was another different, gorgeous view and the thought that I couldn’t capture it put me in an increasingly surly mood. Perhaps I was a bit over-tired, as well. I had hopes that once we got to Moab, there might be a camera shop, and perhaps a computer store, but when I looked at the map and saw just how the little the town is, it became clear that my next best hope of getting anything fixed won’t be until Vegas. I’ve never hated rural America so much.

Of course, a good night’s sleep does wonders and yesterday I was back to normal, as long as I didn’t dwell for too long on my luck with electronics. We went to Arches to see yet another variation of rocks on the earth’s surface. Another beautiful park! Fortunately, there are primarily only short hikes there and we’re both worn out, so we settled for the easiest views. Then we returned to the hotel for laundry, pool, hot tub and then out for a pitcher of beer and a burger. Perfect day!

And I know you must be wondering if I’m going through withdraw without the Orioles, and the answer is “Yes.” Apart from my hatred of not having access to a single computer store that can fix my laptop for 250 miles, Moab is a great little town. It’s full of people who come here for their love of the outdoors. But there’s no MASN, and therefore, makes it unliveable in my eyes. I have noticed the Orioles continuing losing streak and admit to taking it a bit personally that they started winning the minute I left town. They’re losing again though, and in a strange way, that makes me happy that I’m not to blame. I’ve really missed the Camden Chat too, but nothing is better than a vacation, even the Orioles.

Stuart is back now from the second car wash and will be breathing down my neck to get going, so I have to wrap up. We’re off to Canyonlands…

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