A Seaman's Journey

Adventures of a Lifetime

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Grand Mesa Perspective

We left Moab to go to Arches National Park. It took about an hour to get the 10 miles from Moab to the entry way of the park. At the park there were around 100 cars lined up waiting to enter the park. The cars were leaving the park at about two every minute. The trip through the park was done as a slow moving chain of cars. We decided to skip this activity and made a U-turn. We are so glad we did.

After going through Grand Junction we turned off on highway 68, the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway, we snaked through a dramatic canyon and sent us heading toward a large flat mountain range. I could not tell where the road would take us and had not looked at the map first. We would either skirt the mountain or climb over it.

We started climbing. A small amount of fresh snow was seen along the roadside and the mountain was shrouded in clouds. We could not really tell where we were going, but the road kept taking us higher. Finally it seemed that we were nearing the summit. We had climbed to about 9000 feet from our starting point of about 6000.

We pulled off the road so we could record a video of the snow that was about a foot deep in most places. The mountains were still blocked by the low clouds but the valley below us was quite dramatic. We pushed on believing that our descent would begin soon.

We were still going up and soon we lost phone reception. At that point we started to get a little nervous. We probably should have studied the maps better while we could. The snow kept getting heavier with each mile we adding. Occasionally we encountered another car which made us feel a little better. There were people that had come up here for some cross country skying.

Finally we passed a snow barrier that is used to close the road to travelers when the snow is too heavy. This told us that we were heading higher, not lower. Sure enough. The snow got deeper soon. There was a steady blanket over the landscape perhaps 5 feet deep. But the road was still clear, except for patches of ice and snow.

The road revealed a lot about the severity of the weather in this place. In spot we could see the existence of the old snow and ice with the layering of the newly fallen snow. We did start to question this route when we passed a sign that said, "Do not stop or stand, Avalanche Danger". We glanced suspiciously at the steep snow-covered slope towering above the road. We noted that the road had been wipe out periodically in spots and was newly repaired.

Soon we began a descent. It looked like we were going to make it. The snow cover began to lessen and a fantastic view opened up show the valley filled with farms far below us. Soon the farmhouses grew frequent and we found ourselves in Cedaredge. We had just experienced a wonderful adventure and seen some astounding beauty along the way.

Sometimes the best adventures are the ones that you don't plan. The day started with a plan to drive through Arches National Park but after we rejected that idea, we felt disappointed. So we treated ourselves to the scenic route to get to Montrose. Little did we know that the backup plan would be far better than the original one. Sometimes you don't know what you will find until you do.

This is a good reminder to me that I should remain open and look for beauty and joy where ever I find it.