Before we left, Jessi suggested we go see Goblin Valley State Park. From where we slept we will have to go back north 14 miles to go over the mountains where the view along the drive is worth it alone. We make it to the park around 8:30, stop in the visitor center to pay our $8.00 fee, and look at books by Marc Reisner and Craig Childs. We might not find any uranium today, but the tools used from the beginning of the 20th century to the 70s are on display – there are so many uses for black lights.
There is a short road with many trail heads. We go to the left, bringing the dogs with us towards Carmel Canyon and Goblin’s Lair trails – both 1.5 miles, one with camping, but we’re not sure if that’s one-way or roundtrip. We don’t stop at state parks often, but we are thankful for the recommendation. There are colourful flowers, informational signs, wispy clouds, awesome sandstone formations, and a history older than our neighbour – all on a uncrowded dirt path.
We make it down the rock steps, around the bend, and into the hot sand (high of 90 degrees) before Sparky starts to limp. I look for a sticker, splinter, or blister and when nothing is found Caleb picks him up, bit not for long. It’s not much further before we decide to turn around too. I don’t feel like carrying the dogs back to the car, but they make the return trip via paws. Given time gone, we might’ve hiked just over a mile – a good glimpse into this vast landscape.
I remember Robert talking about postcards when the girls received some while we were there and thought it would be neat to send some their way. We stopped at the visitor center on the way out and Caleb picked out one for Jessi since she recommended the place. If I had a Polaroid camera I could’ve taped one of my pictures to it, but a lovely handwritten message, and small drawing, will have to do.
We thought about Vermillion Cliffs and St. George, but remember that by the time we get there the temperature will be unbearable after 15 minutes for the dogs in or out of the car. We continue south and find ourselves in Capitol Reef around 11am. We’ve been here before – our passport book is stamped from 2009 and 2012, but that doesn’t stop us from seeing something new.
We stop by the Fremont River so the dogs can cool down and Caleb steps in to assist Sparky in swimming in the current – maybe not whitewater, but enough force to make us laugh at his doggy paddling. He lets the water carry his body downstream until I remind Caleb that he will have to fetch him if he gets too tired to come back. Caleb calls him and he drags something out of the water before deciding not to get back in. We laugh as he climbs the embankment and jumps over grass and rock and tree branch to return.
Piggy is content with getting her belly wet and fumbling among the rocks waiting to leave. I had carried her through some sticker bushes and pricked my finger on the way to the river, but we had the sad misfortune of having to remove all the stickers from our socks, shoes, and my pants before getting back in the car. Some came off easily and others had to draw blood from my fingers before leaving. Now that the dogs have had some time out of the car their thirst and hunger return down the road and we wait while they eat brunch.
I finish reading ’Tis. Frank McCourt suffered through his childhood and lived poorly as a young adult who sometimes chose the pint over making other decisions. We noticed the book is dedicated to a wife not described in the book and Caleb asked me how I would feel to be the wife reading about his escapades with other women. I would’ve been a different woman in the 1990s, but as me today I would appreciate the honesty. I’d be more focused on the quality of his relationships than his sexual promiscuity.
I start reading A Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and the story seems to resemble Frank’s but from a girls point-of-view. I text Caroline to let her know we are coming to town, entering Arizona at 4pm, and she gives me my dad’s office address so I can surprise him at work. We get there around 9pm after dropping the dogs off at the house, getting gas, and surprising Brinn in the parking lot on his way home after a long day and meeting his girlfriend Dani – Caleb’s first time meeting them both.
When I got out of the car I thought it was Brinn and Rainy getting something from a backseat and yelled, “Freeze!” and then noticed it wasn’t Rainy and was scared that Brinn might use some kung-fu on me if he didn’t recognize my voice. I quickly stepped into what light was available and he smiled at me as he introduced me to a new creative spirit in his life. She might be young, small, and have tattoos, but she’s smart and goal-oriented – qualities my dad wished I would pursue. It’s nice to meet her.
I was under the impression (from photos and texts) that the office would be down some long corridor that I may have trouble finding, but Caroline’s “stick to the right” means that you could go left past the other office, bathroom, and kitchen area before reaching their office on the other side – not hard at all to navigate. We invited Caroline along, but she had too much Facebook, Skype, and YouTube on her schedule, so we left the dogs with her instead of in the hot car.
Inside is Dad and Joe – Caleb’s second time meeting Joe before he too goes home. We chat for an hour and a half about the condition of the business and about our northern trip and time in Missoula. I saw personally built computers, subscriptions to smart magazines, Dad’s green storage clipboard filled past capacity, and long lists of notes on the whiteboards. I was sworn into secrecy about the awesomeness he’s creating, but you can check out his progress (when he has time to update the websites) on PSOIH.com and Timefirevr.com.
I drive slowly back to the house to give the couple some time to make out and let Sparky and Dad play. Of course the dogs need to be walked in the heat after their relaxation period in the cool of the apartment. Then we can bring the rest of our things up from the car. We stay up for another two hours (into the next day) before the boss decides it’s time for bed. He knows us youngins like to sleep in, but he’s still got to take the wife to work in the morning – and we will be joining them.