"In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you." -Leo Tolstoy
^ In a few concentrated hours, we'd hit a solid handful of highlights at Arches National Park.
snuck a long-distance peek at Delicate Arch,
and as the afternoon was winding down, we figured we might just have time for one more adventure.
^ So from our vantage point at the far end of the park drive, we retraced our tracks back toward the entrance, and headed ourselves to Park Avenue
^ This area is the first place that most newcomers stop, but experienced visitors like us know that the best time to visit this area is in late afternoon when the sun shines low and hits these rocks with full force, exploding them into shades of fiery red.
^ He remembered something else quite interesting and useful. There's a one-mile hiking trail that winds down in the canyon between these two rock walls, a route that can be traveled in either direction but the savvy hiker starts uphill and winds down the canyon, rather than vice versa.
And while the trail can also be hiked as a round trip, it's a nice twist to have one member of the party drop the hikers off at the top of the trail, then drive down to the lower trailhead to pick them up.
^ And that, we all agreed, sounded like a nice do-able ending to our day of mini-hikes around the park.
^ Except when we got to the starting point, and looked down, down, down that steep grade into the canyon, I won't lie. I got some seriously cold feet.
I felt bad for ditching my husband at the car for hours while my daughters and I hiked.
And sadly, I felt worst of all about leaving my confused but ever cheerful dog behind yet again. She really had been quite a good girl under trying circumstances.
^ As my daughters and I stood at the top lookout, gazing at the rock walls towering over both sides of the canyon with the hot sun beating down on our heads, I kept my thoughts to myself. A hiking party-pooper I am not. So I waited to see what they would say.
I didn't have to wait long.
With a very few moments of discussion, we all agreed that maybe we should skip the hike, enjoy the view, and leave while it was still a party.
^ Feeling relieved but a tiny bit guilty for opting out of a gorgeous hike, I walked back to the car where my husband was waiting yet again with the dog, and told him our thinking.
I'll trust him to file that information safely away in his capacious memory
And I'm pretty sure he was secretly relieved to be done with our hikes for the day.
^ Which was nothing compared to the joy this girl expressed when she saw us all back together again.
And that is where we headed next.
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Road Trip 2019: read all about it.