I had a deep place way down that was thirsty for some sun and red rock, so we lit out for the open road in the '86 'Runner.
Jesse and Bryn were the first of the kids up at dawn for the trip, and as we were about to head out, Jerusha moaned a sad goodbye, "With Jesse and Bryn gone, there won't be anyone to play with." Drie responded that she was going to call the Armstrong twins to come over and play, but she really only wanted to come, so I looked out the window for a second and replied, "You'd better hurry up, we're fixing to leave now."
After a few minutes and number of yogurt cups down the hatches, we were on the trail for a grand circle around the southeastern part of Utah.
Just before Scofield, we came upon this frosty scene. The kids in their sweaters and I in my shorts, it was a (hopefully, at the time) contrasting prelude to the rest of our trip.
A bit further on, more of the same. The beauty was to continue in like increments all during the drive.
An oft-photographed scene, as we saw it on that beautiful morning in January.
In Arches National Park, we took a few quick jaunts to feel the sun and sand, and to get a fill of my own favorite kind of blue sky and red earth.
Yeah, the gritty old duck wore his straw hat in the middle of January.
The kids enjoyed seeing the Delicate Arch from a mile away, and because we were playing the part of the silly tourists, we thought to strike witty poses and profane the sacred with our quick snapshots and exhaust-filled getaways. Sigh. But we had fun indeed.
Along the muddy Coloradee, we tossed a few hooks in view of a row of old bunkers hewn into the living rock of the canyon. A Lady with a chicken on her head sat and watched us without waving from one of the bunkers (obviously her home, and what a home it is), odd only because she didn't want to wave to my kids or me after we tried so heartily, not for her headgear at all.
The view from outside of Monticello, a view I never get enough of.
The Blue or Abajo Mountains, a site of a few great camping trips with my sweet wife near the beginning of our marriage. Man, I love these mountains, the source of so much of the water in the San Juan river and the rest in her course.
As the sun set, I found myself racing faster along the road, soaking up the vanishing and changing rays of light as they disappeared in the west. I have felt this feeling many times in my life, though it is much more fun (and quite a bit safer) afoot and not in a hurtling auto.
The last rays of day reflect off of the reef east of the Grand Wash.
The Blues above the same reef, with the color quickly fading.
As Sol disappeared, the full moon rose to show other sides and secrets in the rock.
Finally, the light faded and if I hadn't three of my dear children in the truck shaking their heads at the silly father they depended upon to get them home safely, I might have fled with that light into corners of the desert.
The remainder of the trip was thus until the last few miles of Salina Canyon, where the fog sucked us in to it's sarcophagus' web, as we sped on toward home, hearth and the moon and stars above Spring City's refuge.