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#18 Capital Reef National Park, UT

We arrived at Capital Reef on Monday afternoon and decided to take a hike up a ridge to Hickman Bridge (2 miles) before going to the campground. I didn't know it was going to be so impressive.

Can you spot the heart in the wall just below the arc?

I was taking a picture from the high side of the arch and saw something that made me do a double-take. There in the side of the wall was a heart. She's always sending me little signs that she loves us.

Next stop was the Petroglyph Wall. The ancient people who made these drawings lived here around 300-1300 CE (common era). They are believed to be the ancestors of the modern day Hopi, Zuni, & Paiute tribes. I so enjoy looking at petroglyphs! Some of them are easy to understand and others stump the brain; but let the imagination run wild.

Tuesday morning we awoke to a frigid 8 degrees! Brrr! But thankfully as soon as the sun made it over the ridge it felt better. We were camped next to the orchard where we picked apples with Anna when she was 5. Looking across the orchard, I could hear her laughing and chattering with delight at the opportunity to pick her own apples. Mountain kids just have evergreens and Aspen trees; fruit trees are a pretty big deal. She had a blast!

How did a National Park get orchards? Some of the Mormon pioneers decided to settle here along the river and planted orchards. It was a thriving community with a school, orchards, and fields. The orchards are still thriving today, tended by the National Park Service. They also sell the preserves from the orchards in one of the old homes. I am so glad that the Park Service decided to keep the orchards and buildings. It really brings history to life and it is part of our family history.

After taking care of official business at the Visitor Center (passport stamp) we decided to hike Capital Gorge. Even if you never hiked the gorge, the drive in to where the trail starts would be worth it. It's like a glorious hike for your car.

The Golden Throne

I also wanted to hike the Grand Wash (2.75 miles). The Grand Wash goes all the way through to the highway. So I had Fred drive the car around to the highway and I hiked through.

This was the gorge that we hiked with Anna. It's a hike with rocks carved by fantasy and pioneers. Their names are carved high on the rock walls. The oldest one I found was 1883. Can you imagine being in a wagon train bumping over rocks in these gorges and washes? I'm sure more than one woman said, "That's it! I'm going home to mother!".

Sometimes while I'm hiking or running a song will come to me and be so strong that I end up singing it over and over. This was one of those times. I sang Garth Brooks' "The Dance"the entire length of the Grand Wash. These are the lyrics.

Looking back on the memory of The dance we shared 'neath the stars above For a moment all the world was right How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye And now I'm glad I didn't know The way it all would end the way it all would go Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain But I'd have had to miss the dance Holding you I held everything For a moment wasn't I a king But if I'd only known how the king would fall Hey who's to say you know I might have changed it all And now I'm glad I didn't know The way it all would end the way it all would go Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain But I'd have had to miss the dance Yes my life is better left to chance I could have missed the pain but I'd have had to miss the dance

There is a memory of Fred, Anna & I all dancing around the living room one night to Garth Brooks' songs when Anna was young. We were having such a fun time and then this song played and I sat down and watched Fred & Anna. There was this feeling that I needed to absorb what was happening with every pore of my body; to enjoy the pure joy of our daughter. That moment was telling me not to take anything for granted. That I might not have her very long...

Sometimes the pain of losing Anna is so intense that I can't breathe. But I wouldn't have missed 'the dance' with her for anything! She is my heart...and love is all that matters.





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