2012.05.07 – Utah

The day after I returned from Ecuador was my friend and colleague Brian and his fiance Christine’s Ruracio, the second part of their traditional Kenyan wedding. The third and final ceremony of their wedding will be celebrated in Kenya in a few months.

Brian and Christine.

Brian and Christine.

From that ceremony it was off to the west coast for another, this one in LA for my old college friends Michael (a.k.a. Miggity) and Amanda.

Michael and Amanda.

Michael and Amanda.

Morning at Hermosa beach before braving LAX.

Morning at Hermosa beach before braving LAX.

Now that both coasts were taken care of I headed inland for a few weeks to explore southern Utah with my folks and visit my niece Crystal and her son Tayt in the hospital. Tayt was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition where only the right side of one’s heart is functioning. He’s 6 years old and now back at the familiar Primary Children’s Hospital where he’s spent much of his 6 years undergoing one surgery after another. His smile and polite, jovial manner are those of someone who has painfully learned to appreciate every healthy moment life has to offer. His current round of operations are a few of many more leading to an eventual heart transplant once he’s older and stronger.

Tayt in his limousine on the way to yet another surgery.

Tayt in his limousine on the way to yet another surgery.

Tayt playing his favorite game - Cars with Lightning McQueen.

Tayt playing his favorite game – Cars with Lightning McQueen.

This is your captain speaking.......

This is your captain speaking…….

Mom, Dad, and my niece Crystal enjoying some non-hospital-cafeteria food in the camper.

Mom, Dad, and my niece Crystal enjoying some non-hospital-cafeteria food in the camper.

Dad and I with the toughest, smilingest guy you could ever meet.

Dad and I with the toughest, smilingest guy you could ever meet.

Tristan sneaking a bite of Tayt's milkshake.

Tristan sneaking a bite of Tayt’s milkshake.

Meanwhile Eugenia, a dear friend and colleague of mine, was on an aircraft instrument deployment in Iceland and spread the word that Tayt could use some cheering up. One afternoon we received the following picture taken in the cockpit of the ER-2 while 65,000 feet above Greenland. Thanks so much for all your thoughts, and we couldn’t agree more – “FEEL BETTER SOON TAYT!”

Feel better soon Tayt!

Feel better soon Tayt!

First stop with my folks was Capitol Reef National Park where we’d spend four nights camping and five fantastic days cooking, hiking and trail running.

An oasis in the desert, the Fruita orchards and campground.

An oasis in the desert, the Fruita orchards and campground.

Springtime in Fruita.

Springtime in Fruita.

Enough trails to keep us busy for a few days!

Enough trails to keep us busy for a few days!

Mom and Dad heading to Hickman Bridge.

Mom and Dad heading to Hickman Bridge.

Unknown peak near Cohab Canyon.

Unknown peak near Cohab Canyon.

Mom single-handedly holding up the Hickman Bridge.

Mom single-handedly holding up the Hickman Bridge.

Nikons seem to run in the family.

Nikons seem to run in the family.

Mom and Tristan playing hide and go seek.

Mom and Tristan playing hide and go seek.

Petroglyphs from the Freemont Indians, believed to be about 1,000 years old.

Petroglyphs from the Freemont Indians, believed to be about 1,000 years old.

Carrying the bike through a section of hiking-only trail in the Grand Wash.

Carrying the bike through a section of hiking-only trail in the Grand Wash.

Evening light illuminating Sulfur Creek under the Castle rock formation.

Evening light illuminating Sulfur Creek under the Castle rock formation.

Horse stables in the Fruita area.

Horse stables in the Fruita area.

Gaining altitude during a morning trail run.

Gaining altitude during a morning trail run.

On the summit of the Najavo Knobs at 8 AM, on schedule to be home in time for breakfast.

On the summit of the Najavo Knobs at 8 AM, on schedule to be home in time for breakfast.

Mom and Dad crossing Sulphur Creek, practice for the waterfalls we'd soon climb.

Mom and Dad crossing Sulphur Creek, practice for the waterfalls we’d soon climb.

The Cargos in Sulphur Creek.

The Cargos in Sulphur Creek.

At the Goosenecks Overlook above Sulphur Creek.

At the Goosenecks Overlook above Sulphur Creek.

Mom's favorite picture of herself from our trip.

Mom’s favorite picture of herself from our trip.

Indiana Jones roaming the slickrock in Capitol Gorge.

Indiana Jones roaming the slickrock in Capitol Gorge.

Slickrock sweethearts.

Slickrock sweethearts.

Cacti in bloom.

Cacti in bloom.

From there we went to Goblin Valley State Park, an alien landscape with rock formations so surreal it feels more like walking around Mars than anywhere on Earth. In addition to the strange, gobblin like rock formation within the park, the region around them boasts some of the best slot canyons in Utah, certainly worthy of exploration on this trip.

Martian subdivision or just a campground here on our own planet?

Martian subdivision or just a campground here on our own planet?

People explore the labyrinth of Goblin Valley.

People explore the labyrinth of Goblin Valley.

A Goblin Temple. Try as I might though I couldn't find the Goblin King, Hoggle, or Sarah from Labyrinth.

A Goblin Temple. Try as I might though I couldn’t find the Goblin King, Hoggle, or Sarah from Labyrinth.

Tristan poses among the Goblins.

Tristan poses among the Goblins.

Though the rock formations are broadly described as goblins, just about any creature one could imagine can be found here.

The Loch Ness Monster? A turtle? A snake?

The Loch Ness Monster? A turtle? A snake?

This one's easy, it's obviously an alligator-headed penguin wearing motorcycle goggles.

This one’s easy, it’s obviously an alligator-headed penguin wearing motorcycle goggles.

Rubber ducky.

Rubber ducky.

Open to debate.

Open to debate.

In the evening we went on a ranger led hike to the Goblin’s Lair, a cave that was only recently discovered in the park.

Hiking toward the Goblin's Lair under the guidance of Ranger Jim.

Hiking toward the Goblin’s Lair under the guidance of Ranger Jim.

Desert rock formations.

Desert rock formations.

These three shadow creatures waved at us all the way up the ridge.

These three shadow creatures waved at us all the way up the ridge.

The Goblin Valley Campground under a beautiful night sky, shooting stars and all.

The Goblin Valley Campground under a beautiful night sky, shooting stars and all.

Hiking up the wash leading into Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyons.

Hiking up the wash leading into Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyons.

Little Wild Horse Canyon starts to narrow. - HDR Composite

Little Wild Horse Canyon starts to narrow. – HDR Composite

Mom navigating up Little Wild Horse Canyon.

Mom navigating up Little Wild Horse Canyon.

With friends Max and Stephanie whom we met hiking back down Bell Canyon.

With friends Max and Stephanie whom we met hiking back down Bell Canyon.

From Goblin Valley it was off the the Moab area for more hiking and some of the best mountain biking in the country. Along the way we ran into one of Tayt’s best friends, pity we didn’t find Lightning McQueen and Sally as well!

Mater says "Hi!' Tayt!

Mater says “Hi!’ Tayt!

Camping for three nights at Dead Horse State Park we explored most of the park’s trails and had easy access to the Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands National Park.

A hardy Junpier tree, which commonly live to be 350-700 years old here.

A hardy Junpier tree, which commonly live to be 350-700 years old here.

Mom and Dad heading toward Dead Horse Point.

Mom and Dad heading toward Dead Horse Point.

At the Neck.

At the Neck.

Dad and I on the Neck Springs hike in Canyonlands.

Dad and I on the Neck Springs hike in Canyonlands.

A cactus just days away from blooming.

A cactus just days away from blooming.

Mom and I next to the the remains of a cattle watering hole at Neck Springs.

Mom and I next to the the remains of a cattle watering hole at Neck Springs.

Tristan enjoys the view from the Green River Overlook in Canyonlands.

Tristan enjoys the view from the Green River Overlook in Canyonlands.

Back on Mars, or just the Green River again?

Back on Mars, or just the Green River again?

Family portrait on Mesa Arch in Canyonlands.

Family portrait on Mesa Arch in Canyonlands.

The same spot during our last trip to Canyonlands several years ago. Was a bit colder that time!

The same spot during our last trip to Canyonlands several years ago. Was a bit colder that time!

Trail running in Capitol Reef and Goblin Valley had been none to kind on my knees so the switch to mountain biking came just in time. With several great single-track loops in Dead Horse Point State Park and the legendary slickrock of Moab at my disposal, it was time to ride!

Riding the Big Chief Loop of Dead Horse Point's Intrepid trail system.

Riding the Big Chief Loop of Dead Horse Point’s Intrepid trail system.

At the Great Pyramid Overlook.

At the Great Pyramid Overlook.

15 more miles to the pizza parlor - hot, thirsty, exhausted, and wishing the drivetrain of my bike hadn't just called it quits. Funny what makes a person happy sometimes!

15 more miles to the pizza parlor – hot, thirsty, exhausted, and wishing the drivetrain of my bike hadn’t just called it quits. Funny what makes a person happy sometimes!

With our last night of camping upon us, Mom and Dad serenaded the campground with some evening tunes.

Mom and Dad rock out on the banks of the Colorado River.

Mom and Dad rock out on the banks of the Colorado River.

As luck would have it our last night coincided with the brightest full moon of the year. After a week and a half of over 150 miles of Utah hiking, trail running, and mountain biking the draw of a moonlit night was too much to pass up; at 11 PM I took to the trail up Negro Bill Canyon toward the Morning Glory Arch, the 5th longest natural span in the world at 243 feet (74 m). The photos of this adventure fail miserably to convey the experience and I fear words can do little better. An hour into the milky night I neared the dead end of a dark, cliff-faced canyon and was convinced I was lost. A few steps more the perspective changed and out of the right cliff face the arch emerged overhead against the bright, starry sky, rising above me like some huge stone appendage of the earth. Beneath lay a small pool of water replenished by seeps in the cliff, reflecting the arch, moon, and stars above. Sprinkles.

Heading into the moonlit canyon.

Heading into the moonlit canyon.

Morning Glory Arch rises into the sky.

Morning Glory Arch rises into the sky.

Moonlit homage to a world that never ceases to amaze.

Moonlit homage to a world that never ceases to amaze.

Advertisements
Gallery | This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to 2012.05.07 – Utah

  1. Lucy. says:

    Hola amigo, todas las fotografías están preciosas, un abrazo a tus padres, a Tayt,y a Tristan.
    Saludos de todos tus amigos de Ecuador.

  2. Chuck & Sue says:

    Ryan, what a wonderful trip we had together! Can’t wait for our next adventure together.

  3. Pingback: 2012.08.03 – Kenya I | TheDromedaryTales.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s