I thought I'd peek my head out of the sand with a Thursday Thirteen--thirteen things about my vacation:
1. I didn't get a lot of reading done. I made my way through the first half of the Rebecca West that I'd taken on the plane, but with a retired English teacher beside me on the flight out, and a 19-month opposed to naps but not tears on the way back, reading didn't/couldn't take top priority. Plus, there was that distracting window I was next to. . .
2. After driving down to Torrey from Salt Lake, we decided to make a quick visit to Capitol Reef National Park, where we hiked to the Pioneer Register, and to Fruita, where we saw lots of mule deer.
3. Met the outfitters and the other campers/riders after dinner. Found out the trip to Escalante National Monument was scratched and we'd be going into the Capitol Reef backcountry instead.
4. Next morning, horses and riders were dropped off at the park trailhead and we traveled 12 miles across bighorn country into camp among the Ponderosa pines. We did not see any sheep, only jack rabbits and Lily and Lonnie, the border collie/Australian shepherd pups who accompanied us.
5. Spent the next four days exploring the high plateaus and canyons. I love the smell of sagebrush.
6. Rode a black Quarter horse mare appropriately named Sourpuss. Puss was offended when I offered her an apple. She knocked me off on Sunday when I leaned over her neck to pick up a dropped rein. My nose is still sore.
7. Didn't trust Puss enough to take photos from the saddle, but I saw petrified wood, uranium ore and lots of rock art and Indian artifacts.
8. This was the first trip I had difficulty acclimating to the altitude. Felt nauseated by the end of the ride the first couple of days, panted while walking up the hills at the Pleasant Creek camp for just as long, and kept a headache all week.
9. Spent hours around the campfire listening to horsey talk, guitar picking, and the rushing water from the waterfall nearby.
10. Despite the waxing moon, saw a sky plentiful with stars every night but one. We had a downpour Saturday night.
11. Refused to be frightened by the cowboy from Florida's insistence that there was something big living along the creekbank behind our tents.
12. Took a look inside the kiva (sans camera once again, darn it) that's been under construction next to the restaurant in Torrey for the past several years once we were back to civilization. With shelves built into the rock walls, equipped with a full kitchen and bath, living/sleeping room, it looked more like a vacation nest this year than a room for religious ceremonies.
13. Toured Temple Square back in Salt Lake. Our guides had never heard of Capital Reef or Torrey.
And here's a few pictures: