It’s hard to believe we are nearing the end of this great adventure. Time sure zooms by when you are exploring and relaxing with your best friend. The last two days were a perfect finale to end our time in the adorable and adventure-filled town of Moab. Thursday began with our last sunrise experience in Arches. We captured more beautiful photos of the morning glow on the famous red rock features. We then took a drive on Scenic Byway 128, which is rated in the top 10 most scenic roads in the U.S. The Byway follows the Colorado river around curves, past canyons, mesas, arches, huge rock formations and ranches. Two awesome canyons that we would have loved to hike were Negro Bill Canyon and Jackass Canyon (yeah, they’re not so great with classy names). The first canyon is named after William Granstaff, the first African American pioneer in Moab-I’d say he deserves a better namesake. Both these trails involved more time than we had for the day, so we continued on. This byway also has the second tallest free-standing sandstone structure in the world. Castle and Professor valleys are two areas on this byway used frequently in commercials and films. Indiana Jones, Mission Impossible, and the new rock climbing Citibank commercial are just a few of the many many things filmed here. Locals told us that there are consistently film crews along this byway, and Johnny Depp and Will Smith are two actors that were in the area this summer to create two films. Can you believe I just missed my man, Will?! 🙁 We ended our journey at Dewey Bridge, which was an essential bridge for pioneering times and over 100 years old before it was burnt in a brush fire in 2008. The skeleton of the bridge still remains as a monument. This byway is a beautiful drive that shouldn’t be missed in Moab.
We rested a bit in the afternoon and got psyched up for our big excursion of a night photo tour. We enjoyed a tasty dinner at a little burger and shake shop, Milt’s, that has been in Moab since the 50’s. We agreed that these were some of the best burgers we have ever had…and Jeremy loved the shake (peanut butter & oreo). At 6 o’clock, our photo teacher picked us up at our hotel and took us into Arches for a lesson on sunset and night sky photography. This was Jeremy’s ideal vacation activity and perfect for me because I absolutely love looking at the stars and watching Jeremy have a blast. Our guide, Dan, a local professional photographer, was great and very laid back. We learned how to capture the incredible beauty of a night sky in the desert (which is the most amazing place to see stars, by the way). The night was perfect because there was no moon, which made the stars clearer. The milky way was unbelievable. Check out the photos to see our best souvenirs from this trip.
Friday we slept in a bit after an eventful, late night. We spent some time meandering around downtown Moab and shopping for t-shirts. For the afternoon, we tried rafting again. The weather was much better, so we had a great first rafting excursion. There were four others on our raft, from Netherlands and Canada. Our guide was a lot of fun and managed to throw 3 people off the raft in the rapids…Jeremy and I remembered his instructions to “lean in” to avoid being tossed out. We stayed dry. The river is the lowest it’s been in a decade due to an unusually mild winter, so this was a very relaxed float down the river with a few minor rapids. After the trip, we cleaned up and enjoyed dinner at a local barbecue joint. We just couldn’t resist ourselves, heading out for one last awesome sunset (overlooking the most famous Delicate Arch) and then trying out our night sky photo skills. It was SO awesome to be in the desert just the two of us. It was dead quiet, peaceful and star-filled. We even played some worship music on the iPhone and soaked in God’s goodness. What a fantastic way to wrap up the great tour of Moab.
This morning we sadly packed up our home-away-from-home to head to Albuquerque. We stopped in at the Love Muffin cafe in Moab for coffee and muffins before leaving. Everyone that has been to Moab, as well as the locals, told us we had to visit this cafe. A great place for breakfast and coffee-very cute and funky. We had a long drive through the Utah/Colorado/New Mexico desert. We entertained ourselves by listening to the audio book “Evolving in Monkey Town” by Rachel Held Evans. What a thought-provoking, faith-challenging book that we loved! It left us with many questions and sent us into lively discussion for the rest of the drive. We highly recommend this book, and really anything else by her. After 6.5 hours, we made it to Albuquerque. We ate one last Mexican meal and are spending our last few vacation hours resting together. Flight leaves tomorrow @ 10:50…arriving back home late in the evening. Enjoy some incredible photos thanks to photographer extraordinaire, Jeremy Denlinger!