When I woke up this morning at the trail head to Mesa Arch in the Canyonlands National Park and dragged my sleepy ass to the arch in the dark I was welcomed by some familiar faces. Deb and Joanne, the two girls from Cleveland where there amongst the mass of other photographers waiting for the morning light. We chatted some more while preparing for our shots and waiting for the sun to pop above the horizon.
The sun was masked by some cloud for the first portion of the rise but soon appeared, along with a bus load of Asian tourists toting point and shoot cameras. They converged on the scene like bees to honey, buzzing around, in and out of the range of our viewfinders. We got our shots and got the hell out. The girls invited me to join them on a scheduled hike into the Fiery Furnace area of the Arches National Park. Joanne worked her girlish charms with the visitor center people (I’m now her brother), to get me added to the hiker list late and the girls treated me to what was to become an awesome experience. The tour through the massive sandstone “fins” and crevasses was lead by our park services ranger Marie. We were lead through canyon floors, squeezed through tight rock crevasses and climbed slickrock in to see hidden arches and some the greatest desert juniper trees ever.
After the tour Deb and Joanne treated me to dinner and a beer and invited me back to their rental house that they have, offering me something I needed badly…A SHOWER. After getting cleaned up the three of us and their friend George from their Cleveland photography club hung out and took a little evening stroll along the main street of Moab while the desert rain made a few minor appearances. I’ve been offered the spare room for tonight and we all head our separate ways tomorrow as the ladies head back to Cleveland and I ….well, South is the only thing I know for sure.
I was hoping part of this journey would be about making new friends along the way and the last couple of days was extremely fun and exactly what I needed. Showers and dinner aside, the time with good company and conversation and like minded photographic minds made the last two days spectacular. As I go forward into the next part of this journey, I do so with new friends and some great memories.