The desert along the Book Cliffs overflowed with orange and yellow blossoms as we drove down Highway 6.
We found a nice piece of sand just outside Moab where we could lay out our sleeping bags and look up into the starry (and later moonlit) sky.
In the morning we were treated to a beautiful sunrise and fresh flowers in camp.
Mary dropped a few of the guys from work and me off at Amasa Back so we could go for a ride while she went hiking.
Nathan rides up the trail.
Nathan, Russell and Chris at the first overlook.
A look back at the La Sals.
On the edge.
The Colorado River.
Chris as the king of the world...
and after the day's best crash.
A local we met along the way.
After the ride, we met up with Mary, ate lunch and, since the temperature was nearing 100 degrees, we decided to head up to Mill Creek and cool off. We played in some pools down by the parking lot, then hiked up the stream for a while.
Looking for some keys that fell in the water.
Another local, bravely defending his home.
Mary, Russell and Nathan put their feet up.
After our hike up Mill Creek, we headed to the visitors' center at Arches to meet up with a few other folks from Footnote and get a pass for the Fiery Furnace for the next day. Then we went to dinner, played a little Frisbee in the park and headed back out to our campsite for another beautiful night under the stars.
The next morning, we got up early and headed to the Fiery Furnace with Russell as our canyon guide.
Heading into the Fiery Furnace.
Russell, Brett, Nathan, Mary, Kelsey and Jacob don't seem that excited to pose for this picture, but I liked it.
Working our way up...
to the top of the fins.
Some shadow rock art we made on a fin across the way.
Another nice view of the La Sals.
Russell Brett and Nathan atop a fin.
We headed deeper into the Furnace,
and started to climb down.
Mary shows exceptional form in a part of the trail that required sliding through a small hole in the rock.
When we reached Abby Arch...
we lounged in the shade while Russell set up the first rappel.
Mary comes over the edge...
and humors me by performing tricks.
Jacob demonstrates the proper use of a "static" rope.
Nathan descends, as calmly as a window cleaner.
I get a little casual in my belay work.
Then we headed down a hallway between two fins...
to another rappel...
Russell, our guide to the canyon, makes the final rappel.
And then we hiked out.
I was a great weekend. Thanks to Russell for leading us through the canyon, to everyone who came and, again, to everyone who watched our kids so we could go and have so much fun.
Until next year.