11 July 2012 – Utah

We got up pretty early around 6 this morning and got ready.  Then we left our hotel to go do canyoneering.  We went to the canyoneering place in town where we signed up to do this.  They gave us a backpack to put our water bladders in.  There was also the helmet and harness in there.  We got in a van with the tour guide and went to the Moab Adventure Center to pick another group up.  It was a grandfather with his grandson.  We continued on into the Sand Flats Recreation Area and parked in a parking lot.

With our backpacks, we started hiking.  The guide’s name was Joe and he tried to explain the cryptobiotic soil to the other people, since they hadn’t been in the national parks to hear it.  He didn’t do a good job explaining it at all, so i’m glad I already knew what he was talking about.

Once we got to our first cliff, Joe started setting up rope and trying to explain how to go down the rope.  It was different seeing Dad in a harness, and I couldn’t believe someone afraid of heights was actually doing this.  I let the grandfather go first, and I went down 2nd.  The total drop was 90 ft.  You landed after going down about 60 ft and landed in a puddle, so your feet and the bottom of your legs got a little wet.  Then you walked around some rock, and went the 30 more ft.  I thought it was a straight drop, so I got confused when I was hanging and didn’t know what to do.  It was a little nerve-racking.  Thankfully, it worked out ok and I continued down just fine.  When I got all the way down I didn’t know which things to unhook so I just let the grandfather do it for me, and learned from him.  We watched as his grandson came down, then Dad, and Joe.  While Joe had been talking about how to go down, there was another group that showed up and it was bigger than ours.  Dad and I could tell that they didn’t seem to be well prepared.  One of the guides asked Joe how many ft the drop was.  Once I belayed all the way down, there was this guy free hanging above the pond for quite a while because I think their rope was too short that time.  When we left that area, Dad told Joe that he was glad he wasn’t with that group.

We didn’t hike much at all before we got to the 2nd jump.  It was by a natural bridge called Morning Glory, the “6th largest land bridge in the world” whatever that means.  We were on a fin next to it, and walked around taking pictures while Joe set up the ropes.  All of us ended up going on top of the bridge, though me and the grandson were more excited about it.  When it was time to repel down, the grandson went first.  It was a 110-120 ft drop, down to below the bridge.  I went down next, and I was very glad I knew what to do this time.  You did a little less than the top half or so like normal with your feet on the rock, and the rest was free hanging, since the rock caved in away from us.  I looked around some as I went down.  I also knew how to unclip the ropes when I got down as well.  Before Dad came down next, a man came up to me and the grandson asking how we got up there (next to the top of the bridge).  Apparently we were at the end of a hiking trail and he was thinking he could go further.  I tried to explain it to him before I took pictures of Dad coming down.  After him came the grandfather and Joe.  Once Dad was down, he started talking to the man and we found out he was from Switzerland and speaks 3 different languages.  It was interesting to listen to them talk and chip in.  While we were standing there, a few other hikers asked how we got up to the top of the bridge.

After everyone was down we hiked 2 – 2.5 miles to where the parking lot for the beginning of that trail was.  There was supposed to be a van to pick us up, but there wasn’t.  We had to wait about 30 minutes for it to arrive, so we sat on a big rock.  It was pretty boring for me.  The other group arrived after us and had a car waiting for them.  As we headed back and reached 191, I realized that the road we were on, was one I’d been wondering where it went.  It was nice to find out.

Once we got back to Moab and back in our car, we went to Slickrock Cafe for lunch.  I got a buffalo wrap and Dad got a veggie sandwich.  They both came with some fries, which were pretty good.  We both liked our meals.  Dad seemed to like his veggie sandwich a lot, and it had been a long time since I had buffalo sauce.  Afterwards, we came back to the hotel to relax.  I took a 2 hour nap since we got up early, and Dad took a nap somewhere in there as well.

Around 4 we left to drive along that road to sand flats.  We drove past the parking lot we waited at earlier, just to see the scenery.  We went a ways, then turned back and headed to Arches NP to do the Park Avenue trail in the late afternoon.  It was good lighting and the shadows weren’t as close to the rocks as they were last time, when we tried to go for sunset.  We hiked the 1 mile taking lots of pictures, then hiked it back to the car.  After Park Avenue, we decided to drive around the park a little, as this will probably be our last time seeing it on the trip.

We drove back to Moab, went to the grocery store, filled up gas, and back to the hotel for the night.

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