Every once in a while last night, my eyes would blink open in the middle of a dream. The sky hung so heavy with stars, I worried they might spill out onto the rocks. The night skies weaved in and out of my sleep before the first streaks of dawn pried my eyes open.
I watched the desert turn from a strange silver land into a fiery ember and then fade into the day. The snow that blanketed the desert a mere two days ago was gone. The early morning began to thaw my face, and there was nothing to do but pack the car and head for the next camp.
Every time I leave this park it feels like leaving home, better than home, leaving a refuge from the real world. So as we wind away from the red sand stone fortress walls and blue bubble of sky, I can’t help but feel a little sad – always scared I may never come back, and this beautiful place will only exist in my memory. Some places grab our hearts a little too hard and tear a piece off when we leave.
A small price to pay to see the world.
We drove back through Moab and then down Highway 128, winding around towering cliffs following the slow muddy Colorado River. At the Big Bend we pulled into a sunny glade. It seemed like summer again, green grass, hot sun, and chirping birds, but the leafless cottonwoods brought the reality of winter back.
The sun dried both our gear and us as we laid next to it in the green grass. The day descended into evening after hours of sun bathing and slack lining. A wind picked up and whisked away the pink fluffs of sunset for the moon to rise.
The canyon held us snuggly as the Colorado whooshed by our feet. Jett snuggled into a little ball as I curled around her against the chilly evening. Under that big night sky it seemed like my pup and me against the world. And it seemed as if we could even win.
The highway slowly whizzed to emptiness as my dreams took over the night.