down the great semi-known

(Note: Most of this was written several days ago. I am just now getting some internet.)

Photo Jul 09, 3 34 32 PM
My mom at Arches.

I’m reading Down the Great Unknown right now, about Powell’s and his crew’s trip down the Colorado in 1869, which rather puts my adventures into perspective. All the same, I’ve been having a great time lately. Even work has seemed like a bit of an adventure; with many of our staff suddenly out of the office (Nick, sadly, is now gone on a detail at the Albright Center, and Annie and Brianna both had their babies and are on maternity leave), every day at work offers some new task or project that has suddenly been handed to those of us left. For example, last week we took 94 six-year-olds on a hike. Ninety-four. Yesterday we had eighteen middle-schoolers all day. Eight hours of middle schoolers. Respect.

Photo Jul 09, 2 26 05 PM
Hiking Mill Creek.

Tremendous adventures were had last week, when my parents were here. In fact, my brother and I really thoroughly adventured them out, although luckily we have badass parents who are tough, brave, strong, and hard to faze. In their time with me, we hiked in105 degree weather and camped alongside an unknown dirt road high in the Book Cliffs, squatting in the dirt to cook some mac and cheese for dinner. In their time with my brother, they tried rock climbing, and also a Tyrolean traverse across Boulder Creek on wet, slippery rocks, which unfortunately resulted in my mom taking a bad and exceedingly painful long fall. I am hoping nothing too bad is wrong and that she feels better extremely soon, but I can say that even with a banged up kidney and all kinds of trauma, my mom constantly impresses me with her ability to remain cheerful and optimistic. (Send her some pain-easing thoughts, would you?)

Photo Jul 08, 8 56 59 PM
The Green River.

We packed a lot into our five days together. We touched 149 million year old dinosaur bones at the Quarry at Dinosaur National Monument, walked around on undulating hills of Morrison Formation, and dipped in the Green River.

We had our off-road camping adventure in a beautiful meadow at the top of Douglass Pass, where we watched the sun set over thousands of conifers.

We watched prairie dogs along open highway and drank water trickling out of a rock wall.

We swam in cool pools in Mill Creek, met a group of friendly Mormon teenagers (who convinced me to do a small cliff-jump with them), and briefly braved the heat at Arches National Park.

Photo Jul 08, 7 47 32 PM
Cooking dinner atop Douglass Pass.

We took an excursion into quiet luxury, drinking wine and swimming in a clear outdoor pool and eating the most amazing Brussels sprouts ever in Palisade, and we also did the “Fruita bar crawl,” which means pizza at the Hot Tomato followed by beers and bluegrass at the Copper Club.

As I said in my last post, I was tremendously happy to have my parents here. If you have not met them, go find them. Hang out. They are incredible people.

Sadly, they had to leave eventually, and life went back to its daily details. I finally polished my boots. A cricket jumped out of my cereal box one morning, which scared the heck out of me; it was the same color and size as a chunk of granola and I thought for a split second that my granola had come alive. Ridiculous. Also, it is “monsoon season”, which I had been looking forward to rather skeptically, but which has actually been pretty cool. Nearly every day, the sky turns black and blue, and at some point the winds pick up, lightning flashes, thunder rumbles, and the rain comes. I love thunderstorms, and the desert constantly smells amazing.

Photo Jul 14, 8 12 21 PM
Delldengallen

I have also maintained my practice of doing awesome stuff every weekend. This past one, I camped the first night in Delldengallen (which deserves to be on a map) with Mike, where we spent most of our time walking around in the aspens and wildflowers saying, “This is amazing. This is so beautiful. This is great. This is so amazing.” We heard a bajillion elk; I’m very glad Mike was there, because I think I would’ve taken the noises as some weirdo bird call if he hadn’t translated it for me. I did some yoga on a rock; we met a very pregnant pug at the Glade Park Store; I learned more about fire starting techniques. It was superb.

The next day, I drove into the mountains, to Telluride, with Garrett, who is a new very excellent friend who I originally met on a sidewalk. We found a pretty nifty little park en route, and spent the last half hour or so driving through a torrential downpour. Our trip ended at Lizard Head Ranch, at the end of a dirt road, about ten miles before hitting the town of Telluride. This is where my friend Lauren Beriont works, and it is a magical place. Much like at Delldengallen, we quickly ran out of synonyms for beautiful and kept sounding like effusive, complimentary broken records. In our brief time there, we somehow managed to squeeze in many of my favorite things, including pancakes, whiskey, midnight skinnydipping, driving fast through the forest in a little gator/golf cart thing (had not previously been on my list of favorite things but now definitely is), viewing wildflowers and mountains, woodstoves, card games, a gondola ride, coffee, and pastries. Seriously. How great does that sound?

Photo Jul 20, 5 42 07 PM
Thanks to Irene for the mustaches! Don’t they look good?

Then, my week of work was brightened up by a visit from Diana, a fellow SNREd. There was much merriment and mustaches, and we swam the heck out of Snook’s Bottom, where I was attacked by a large fish, or possibly the Snook.

And it’s the weekend again! And last night I went dog walking with Garrett for a spectacular sunset, and today I am climbing with Lauren, and Sam CASE arrives, who I have not seen in two YEARS.

It’s still way too hot, but life is really pretty good.

Photo Jul 08, 8 33 31 PM
Father surveys the mountains.
Photo Jul 08, 7 06 53 PM
Atop ol Douglass Pass.
Photo Jul 08, 5 06 12 PM
I have SUCH a cute mommy.
Photo Jul 21, 2 49 05 PM
We always knew there was something about the water in Snook’s Bottom.
Photo Jul 18, 9 31 03 AM
Mud in the bottom of Echo Canyon.

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