Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pre-Africa family fun (aka Moab and Morning Glory)

Due to a little unintended negotiating in the way the work schedules worked themselves out (if you know what I mean), I was left with a bunch of free time before Amy and I left for Ghana. So on the Monday before, we drove to one of the great places of the world, Moab, to do a bit of exploring. We at least wanted to see Morning Glory Natural Bridge (the fifth-largest rockspan/arch in the world, for what good that information's worth).

dinnertime at Eddie McStiff's!

We picked the Landmark Inn after much calling around and trying to weasel out the cheapest rate. It ended up being a great deal--and we got hooked up anyway (probably helped that it was a Monday night). We played in the heated outdoor pool and hot tub and waterslide until past 11:00.

nightswimming deserves a Moab night

By the look on my face you'd think we had amazing speed here. We didn't.

Jarom loved blocking the flow of water

a tasty continental breakfast-in-bedroom can't be beat

early morning out on the trail

negro bill creek

Basking in the sun. The day was mostly overcast, so we rejoiced whenever his holiness the sun came out.

we were subject to some pretty little flowers

Jarom needed a break

Little hiker. I think he's holding a stick "sword." More on that later.

up the rocks

our desert is so beautiful

a sandgame before arriving

there it is! Morning Glory Natural Bridge (though it's really an arch). It's huge, looming overhead. Some canyoneering folk were rappelling down it when we arrived.

the closest we got to a family pose by the arch

Oey shenanigans, with stick and branch weapons

hiking away

Headed back now. You can see Morning Glory way back there.

Indian paintbrushes! Family favorite.

You can almost even make out some clouds here above Bella.

See this snake? It raced right across the trail as we were hauling down a hill, and nearly caused the whole family to fall, a chain reaction.

eyeing the wilderness

More sun! Like a lizard, Jarom finds a cave.

Then we went out to Mill Canyon, first stopping at this old stage station that used to service passengers traveling between the railroad stops at Moab and Thompson.

We trekked the short Mill Canyon trail to see fossilized dinosaur bones in situ. That's right people, where they lay. Though that's the kind of thing you see in Utah, I guess.

All that's left of an old smelter

beautiful day

this guy popped up from nowhere, above the smelter

HDR image, showing the contrasts

We walked back to the car and headed home. The end of our little excursion.


Lisa said...

I am positively envious of all the fun stuff you do with your family. You're such an inspiration! When I first saw that picture of the goat (?) I thought it was a bear and almost had a heart attack for you guys. Looks like a ton of fun!

BTW, I saw Sue at the library today. I can't believe you went to Ghanna for 2 whole weeks! I don't know what I'd do without my kids for that long- I may not have wanted to come home! It must've been nice for the two of you to get away.

moonshinejunkyard said...

i absolutely love love love oey's little sword fights/gun shoot outs. so adorable. he is so very proud of that stick gun, but make sure you mention the sword too! he pronounces "sword" so perfectly. crazy what different kids get into, never would've thought it would be uh...weaponry...for orion but also i never would have anticipated how adorable that would be. anyway glad to finally see the infamous moab trip. what a gorgeous piece of desert country. i love the flowers and clouds and that arch and the dinosaur remnants and that sweet old black cow looking down at you all. this makes me miss you all so much. especialy hearing the voices in the video. great post mattie! love you.

mooncowboy said...

Lisa--the two weeks went by SO fast. It was really nice and refreshing, like a honeymoon, but we were so happy to see them when we got home.

Heather--I love that this little Moab trip is "infamous" already. And Oey says "sword" so great; I think it sounds a lot like "seward"--emphasis on first syllable (and a little dragged out).

moonshinejunkyard said...

yeah, how does a two year old know that the word "sword" has a "w" in it. he pronounces it like an english professor!

Papa Dan said...

Boy guys, how I would like to see those natural formations--The video of Arches Nat'l park is short but really amazing. Now that I have seen you guys visits to some of those places, it increases my interest and desire to visit, esp. Arches formations. Great sequence of events starting with what looked like a thrilling time at the motel with the swimming pool and comforts before heading out to the trail. (I guess that the motel came first) Your pictures Matt and Amy are so good and videos too. Are the videos from your camera Matt. What a beautiful and memorable time you had. Miss you guys.

Papa Dan said...

two other things-that looked to be about a 4.5 mile hike from the parking spot off 128 if I calculate right. So almost 10 miles for the day. Pretty good effort for you all.....Hey, and what is an HDR Photo?? (something you do or set to give more contrast??)

mooncowboy said...

Hey daddy-o: Yep, the videos are from my camera. It really churns out nice ones, especially when compared to the ones our little Sony cameras create.

I know you would *love* Arches, and the whole canyonlands country area, Canyonlands NP, Moab, everything. There's so much to see here. Hey, maybe you should plan a little weekend trip out here while you have the time (right now)? What do you think? It would be a substantial and amazing tour. Let me know, I really think you should come. Maybe Joey or Mikie would be onboard as well.

The hike was actually only about 4.5-5 miles for the whole roundtrip (not each way), so (luckily) we didn't have to push 10 miles in one day. At least not this day. The kids are tough, and I know we could do it, but that might be a little much. Still, 5 miles isn't bad--and the cooler weather helped.

An HDR photo is basically multiple photos taken at different exposures, and then you have to use some postprocessing software (like Photomatix) to merge and layer them (called tonemapping) and get the result. My photo didn't turn out that well. I didn't use a tripod (which really helps) and it was only three photos (more is better). But it's still fun. If you search Flickr for HDR you can see some great photos. Supposedly it shows photos more the way the human eye sees them--multiple exposures at once, that sort of thing.

Jeff and Sheila Capell said...

Can i be part of your family next time?? Your kids are SO FREAKIN LUCKY. I am so scheduled and rigid, I really just need to take some Beatty juice and join the fun!!! You kids can find fun things all over the place. The festival of colors looked fab. too. Made some great pics of your cute family!

Glory Watts said...

Totally appropriate name for such an amazing rock formation...I'm just say'n.

You guys have all the fun!! I love and miss your beautiful family! Call me Amy, we still have several more hours of phone conversation I'm sure!! love ya!

Harris Family said...

Looks like you had lots of fun in Moab. We are anxious to hear about Africa adventures-and see photos!

Momma said...

Thank you guys for posting these pictures and describing this lovely trip you took. It's amazing to me that you went there before I even came out. I anticipated coming to take care of this kids for so long that I can't even believe it's over. I had the time of my life with them and all during my time in Utah! I love you all so much and miss you to pieces! I am really happy that we have these blogs to keep up with what's going on with your precious little family or I would just lose touch! Thanks also for posting the videos, it makes me so nostalgic for the kids. Just want to hold them, kiss them and hug them. I had the best time of my life with them! I love you all so much, Nana

Ali said...

Awesome trip guys - you are inspirational! I am itching to do a southern Utah trip. We'll have to ask you guys where the best place to go is...