Ali and I had a quick breakfast at the hotel and ventured out relatively early. We already began reminiscing (again) about moments from our days working for the summer tour company. While moving, I came across one of my old director shirts. I thought it would be funny to wear one the night before. I stood in the line with other people holding signs for people who just landed.
We drove into the mountains towards Lake Mary near the Brighton Ski Area. The temperatures dropped into the sixties and wildflowers abounded. Ali and I enjoyed catching up and talking about almost every topic along the two hour hike. (Her fitness program was convinced she burned 1200 calories during the hike.) The lake was beautiful! There was a little island in the middle of it that, according to a fellow hiker, was the sight of a helicopter rescue last summer. Although possible, the island was a very short swim back to the trail. It would be like being rescued from the top of a stepladder. I’ll do some research when I’m able to see if it is true.
After our hike, we began our drive towards Capitol Reef. We had an elegant lunch on the way, and drove through some amazing scenery along the way.
Capitol Reef is usually a “pass through” park for those going from Bryce to Arches. There are some incredible sights, but much of the park is beyond reach of cars. We had hoped to visit the orchards in the park, which allow you to eat off the trees. Unfortunately, the trees aren’t ripe enough yet to pick your own. A nice conciliation prize was the bag of apricots that were sold at a historic home in the park. (Along with the tiny cup of homemade ice cream that I remember from when I visited with my father.) It began pouring while in the home, so we used the time to chat with the store clerk and a family from France. The family was on a grand tour of the United States. Based on their description, they must be on the road for a similar amount of time as me. They had visited the Highline Park, and enjoyed it as much as I do. I shared how I’ve been to France twice, but only to Paris. They were extremely nice. The mom was fluent in English, while the dad knew just a few words. I always love opportunities to interact with others on the road. The mom shared the same sentiments. “I love people.”
We took the scenic drive which is twenty miles round trip. Rain was definitely in the area, as we saw puddles in the washes, and lightning near the cliff walls. After the drive, we decided to drive to the trailhead to determine if the hike was at all possible. Flash floods occur in these parts with even the slightest rain. We saw the effects almost immediately on the three mile drive.
Despite the rain that occurred, the skies cleared and we opted to try the hike. It was incredible. Towards the end, we did have to navigate through some newly formed streams to reach the natural land bridges at the end. The benefit of the weather was that we saw waterfalls where there usually weren’t ones, and that we had the area to ourselves for an entire half hour. Usually, many people would have been there as it is one of the popular hikes in the park. We took many, many photos.
After our hike, we sat down at a Mexican restaurant for a well earned dinner before heading another thirty five miles to our hotel. The food was so good! The people at the next table, not so much. The one guy was very demanding and vocal. He insisted that the food not be spicy for someone else at the table, then complained that the food wasn’t spicy enough. Yikes. It was like dinner theater.
When is one too old to bring a teddy bear along on a road trip?
Always expect the unexpected when on the road. After dinner, we were driving on Rt. 12 towards the Boulder Mountain Lodge. As we rounded a bend, I saw a shape in the distance and immediately slammed on the brakes and veered towards the side of the road. A full grown cow was in the middle of the lane. I love driving, and am always a very alert driver. If not, we surely would have hit that cow going 45 mph. After that scare, we drove past several herds of cattle, almost hit a mother cow and her baby, had a rabbit run in front of our car, and saw two deer who looked like they wanted to challenge my car. Needless to say, I was happy to arrive at the lodge shortly thereafter.