Gateway, Summer, 2019, FINAL


Day Three | Ablaze and Aglow!

Deadhorse Point to Monument Valley

The fourth day of our family

roadtrip is the most eventful. For

the second day in a row we wake

up on the banks of the Colorado River,

just outside of Moab, Utah. It’s just

starting to get light when I wake up, the

sun hasn’t yet risen above the 800-foothigh

cliff walls that border the river. The

air is invigoratingly chilly as I step out

of our Wandervan to start the coffee and

oatmeal water boiling. My wife joins me

a few minutes later. Our three-year old

daughter remain asleep tucked in snug

and cozy on her bed in the warm van.

The gray October morning brightens

a few f-stops while the water heats. Coffee

for me, cocoa for my wife. We pack

up camp while we wait for the water. I

shake the dew off the camp chairs, fold

them up and tuck them under the van’s

22 Gateway to Canyon Country

bed along with our marshmallow roasters.

With our camp packed and our campsite

cleaned up, I climb into the driver’s

seat, my wife gets in beside me. Roo still

sleeps in the back, safe behind the bed’s

crash net.

And on we drive to the day’s first of

several destinations. I tune in NPR as I

drive. The calm NPR voices blend nicely

with the thrum of the van’s tires rolling

across an American interstate.

Coffee. NPR. Driving at dawn while

the cliff walls of the Colorado Platea add

color to themselves. And scroll by, and

scroll by. Perfect.

Along the way our daughter sits up in

bed and asks where we were.

“Well,” I reply, “it seems we’re driving

across one of the most beautiful spots

in the world.”

Ten minutes later we arrive at Deadhorse

Point State Park.

I’ve never been to Deadhorse Point

before. Nor has my wife or daughter. I

drive to the visitor center and park. We

step out of the van and then, Oh wow!

Directly in front of us, facing east, we

see six rows of cliff walls and mountain

peaks. The morning sun is only 90 minutes

above the horizon so we are seeing

the shadowed sides of the cliff walls

and mountain peaks which are varying

shades of blue-gray. It looks surreal, like

panes of blue glass leaning one on the

other. The morning air is still delightfully

cool, like leaning your cheek against a

marble column.

We spend 90 minutes walking along

the trails at the leisurely pace of bib-

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