Sunday, April 10, 2011

Over the Rockies and through the woods...

We almost didn't make it. Seriously. My car was in second gear and only making 30 mph by the time we hit Vail Summit. Sure, I've now been to 10,603ft above sea level, in the snow, with a cat and with flats on... but we almost didn't make it. Both Crysta and I (and probably Sawyer) agree that it was only by the grace of God that we made it through the Rockies.

Thinking of traveling East before May? Don't. It looks like January up there. January in a blizzard.

However, it was absolutely gorgeous the entire way. The landscape changes so drastically in the blink of an eye. Utah and Colorado are two of the most beautiful states in this entire country. How come no one told me America was this gorgeous? I'd have cut back on badmouthing it ages ago.

But way before that there was Utah. And it was glorious. There were, and are, no words to describe what I saw today. What I walked on today. What I took pictures of. They do no justice, of course, but I had to try. I stood on a cliff overlooking.. well.. everything. I could see for miles, and the reds, yellows, oranges and browns of the landscape below me never stopped. They ran through the desert like spilled paint, covering every rock and plant. The wind charged through my hair, and I felt like Queen of the World. I joked to Crysta and asked, "Does this make you feel like King of Pride Rock, too?" That totally must have been how Simba felt at the end of The Lion King. It was spectacular.

Both of us bought pieces of jewelry from Navajo women who sat at the viewpoint trying to sell their handcrafted jewels and pottery. I got a beautiful silver ring with a large opal in it. Crysta came away with mineral stone earrings and a turquoise bracelet. But the best part was overhearing the women speak to each other in Navajo. I don't know much at all, just a few words from my American Indian History class, but it is enough to pick out the language. My ring is wonderful, and I know I'll keep it around as one of the best memories of my trip.

And for now we are staying in Denver. We didn't make it nearly as far as I was hoping, due to snow and my car having a serious issue with elevation, that we'd be in Kansas by now, but c'est la vie. That's how road trips go. By the end of tomorrow we will be in Missouri. From there it's a day's drive to Portage, MI, and then finally home. I'm already exhausted, but looking forward to what adventures await me in the cornfields of Kansas tomorrow.

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