Saturday, November 26, 2011

Climb Before Drive

Before the journey home Fred and I went climbing with Raya and Josh. It was nice to get in some exercise before the long car ride.  
What a great Thanksgiving adventure! 
Until next time Sisters!!

Canyonlands, Utah

Yay... another national park that was on my list!  
All of us sisters parted ways for a few hours so Fred and I took the opportunity to explore Canyonlands. 

Quoth the raven 'Nevermore'.

Canyonlands preserves a landscape of countless canyons and mesas. 
Around every corner is distinct topography, etched away by the Green and Colorado rivers. 

There is so much space at this park that it doesn't take much to get away from all of the other tourists. We felt like we had the Upheaval Dome hike to ourselves.

Behind us is Mesa Arch.  What a view!

I think I mentioned this before but Utah is AMAZING.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Dinosaurs Tracks and Rock Art

Moab has so much to offer. There seems to be endless beauty and attractions.

To the west of the Colorado River, off Potash Road, is more unbelievably preserved rock-art. 

Hey, no climbing near the petroglyphs!  (He didn't read the sign.)

Just a few minutes past the petroglyphs are dinosaur tracks. 
Three-toed predator dinosaurs hunted in this area 190 million years ago, leaving their footprints in damp sand which later became fossilized. 

From their track they do not appear to be large in size, but I am sure they would be intimidating to see in person. Or so I would gather from the movie Jurassic Park...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving at the Moab Rental

We rented a townhome for the week in a small development called Rim Vista, about 2 miles south of Moab. It was the perfect place to stay. It was quiet, had incredible sunrises and sunsets, fit all 8 of us, and had a jacuzzi and a tennis court.  You really don't need more than that.

The girls loved the crystals that Josh brought them. 

It is difficult to keep your eyes on the ball when the mountains are absolutely glowing in the distance.

It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without football (or some think...). 

Raya is ready to eat her 17 pound turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Steeles, Heltons, and Brauns!

Mmmmm. This is making me hungry! 
As a pescatarian, people always wonder what I eat for Thanksgiving (in fact, one person asked if the only thing I eat is PIE).  In my opinion the sides are better than the turkey anyway. 

Fred is selectively omnivorous.

Thanksgiving is without a doubt my favorite holiday. It is a time to be thankful for your family and loved ones, and eat amazingly delicious and caloric food while doing so. 
Thanks for planning such a fun Thanksgiving Raya and Josh!
It's too bad my dad couldn't come; he loves to see the whole family spending quality time together. 

Rappelling Negro Bill Canyon, Utah

On Thanksgiving day Josh, Raya, Fred and I set off for a mini canyoneering trip in Negro Bill Canyon (the name of this canyon was much worse before they attempted to make it politically correct...).  

Canyoneering is extreme hiking. It is a one way hike that includes rappelling into slot canyons, allowing you to see land that is otherwise not accessible without a rope and harness. It is an incredible sport. 

Everyone is preparing for the first rappel, 95 feet (a warm up).

This first rappel has a two parts. You can see Raya next to the small pool of water, but that is not the bottom. The trick here is to avoid the water and keep your feet dry. I am not sure how Raya did it without a belayer. When I did it she was belaying me so I just had her pull me over the water.

I am about to go into the canyon. The key is to not think about what would happen if the equipment were to fail. You know, and what your body would look like, and what people would do if this were to happen, and if you would still be alive after...

Once again, just don't think about the equipment.

Josh has been doing this since high school so he is very comfortable. 

Fred and I coming out of the canyon to continue the beautiful hike.

We were going to do a tandem rappel off of this arch but our rope was too short so we ended up rappelling next to it. It was an amazing 120 foot rappel regardless.  We just had to do it one at a time.


This is Raya once again, almost at the bottom.




We made it! I wish I started every Thanksgiving this way, although it does make preparing for dinner difficult.

 Luckily Marla and Ruby were at home making desserts. 

Since the hike is only one way you need to arrange a shuttle at the bottom. While we were canyoneering Dan and Elle were riding quads and picked us up three hours after the hike started. 
To summarize- SPECTACULAR!