Friday, August 13, 2010

Tales from the West, Part 4

I have a habit of not finishing what I start.  It's mostly little things like sandwiches, sentences, thoughts and laundry, but it's a rotten habit nonetheless.  It's been over a month since Steve and I braved the West, but I'm determined to complete the tale.  Here are parts 1, 2, and 3.

After some much needed recuperation at the hotel in Moab, we made our way back to Colorado for some white water rafting on the Arkansas River.  Aside from a little canoeing on Biology trip in 10th grade, I haven't spent much time on this small of watercraft.  Steve booked the highest level difficulty possible, but I wasn't too concerned knowing we'd be with a group and have an experienced guide.  The safety precautions they laid out for us before hand had me on high alert.  I really didn't want to fall out of the raft at any point.

We ended up with a very nice, laid-back group.  A dating couple, a pair of best friends, plus one mom, Steve and me, and our guide made up the crew.  Down the river we went.  Ten miles.  It started out that we had one more person than normal and I was left in the middle without a paddle.  I made it my duty to ask the guide dumb questions, keep the conversion going, and cheer on my paddling pals.  At one point, navigating some class 4 rapids, we hit a rock and I kept one of the girls from going overboard.  It was a proud moment for me.

About 1/2 way through, I switched spots and paddled.  Thankfully, we were through the greater rapids when it began pouring rain.  The rain was so cold and hit so hard, I thought for sure it was hail.  Everyone kept their spirits up and I considered it just another element of the adventure.  Back on land, dry clothes had never felt so good.

Late afternoon, we were back on the road to camp out by the Sand Dunes.  This was enjoyable camping.  The weather was perfect.  The sunset breathtaking.  For dinner, we had brats on the grill and beans right from the can.

We went to bed and for the second time that day, it poured rain.  Thankfully, our tent held firm and kept us snug and dry.

Tucked against the mountains, from far away the Sand Dunes don't look all that large.  But once we got there, I was blown away by their massiveness.  Literally, mountains of sand.  Folks had sleds and were sliding down as if they were ski hills.  I was amazed.

We made it up past the first big dune and the heat started to set in.  I would have loved to tell you we made it to the top, but because of my lack of endurance and sheer size of the sandy mountain, we hardly got close. 

Ever notice that sand will make one work up a serious appetite?  Steve and I headed back to Denver with food on our minds.   We had reservations at Flying W Ranch where we explored old fashion shops, watched native dances, and partook in a delicious, authentic, cowboy buffet - tin dishes n' all.  An old western band serenaded us with tunes from the trail.

Flew home the next morning, just in time to make it to our friends' lovely wedding.  We had only been gone 8 days, but it felt like much a good way.  This is a trip I would take over and over again, it was so much fun.  (Stevie, you're the best trip-planner ever and the funnest person in the world. XO)


Katy said...

This looks like my dream vacation, so fun! As soon as our baby bee is big enough, I'm asking the mister to take me there.
Is that Will Ferrel on the fiddle?

samajama27 said...

Looks like so much fun!