As we were looking around Missy and Denise asked what was causing the shadows that were moving over the landscape below. Because they were being raised in the city they had never seen shadows from clouds before. Suddenly we heard a rumble and then another. We looked off toward the mountains to the north and watched as a thunderstorm moved through the peaks. After sitting for an hour and watching the marvels of nature it was time to head back down the dunes to the stream.
We moved down the side of the dune and I handed my camera to Kat and I told the girls to watch. I began to run and to the shock of the girls I leaped off the edge of one of the dunes. They stood watching as I landed about 15 feet down the side of the dune and then took another leap. It took only a second for them to join me in leaping down the dunes. What took three hours to accomplish going up took about twenty minutes coming down.
The girls laughed and played enjoying the marvelous sand dunes. That night we all slept soundly.
The next morning we loaded the van and headed to our next stop, Mesa Verde in south west Colorado. Again we arrived in late afternoon and unpacked our tents and pitched our camp. The next morning we woke for breakfast and found several deer eating the grass just beyond our camp site. After breakfast we headed off to view what remains of the cliff dwellings. At one point we had to climb a thirty foot ladder to reach our destination. Denise was somewhat afraid of heights but we encouraged her to take each and every step. Fortunately the people behind us were patient because what should have been a 30 second climb took several minutes. Once at the top of the ladder Denise was glad she took the risk because the dwellings and the view were spectacular. After a long day of hiking we retired to a nice camp fire. We all slept soundly that night too.
The next morning we again loaded the van and headed for our final destination the Grand Canyon and again we arrived in late afternoon.
I had always heard that the view would take your breath away and it certainly did. That evening we set-up our camp and roasted marsh mellows over our camp fire.
The next morning Kat and I got up early and walked down to the canyon's edge. The temperature was about 35 degrees and as we neared the edge you could feel the rush of warm air coming up out of the canyon below. At the edge of the canyon the temperature was about 50 degrees warmer. It was amazing to have the back of your head freezing while your face felt the warm breeze flowing.
Later that day we took a three mile hike down the canyon and this is were the trip got the most interesting. Remember that Denise was afraid of heights and as we descended into the canyon the trail narrowed on one side was a wall going up almost straight up and on the other side a drop off going several hundred and at times thousand of feet down. Denise wore a white top, white shorts, white socks and white tennis shoes. As we walked Missy would occasionally look over the edge while Denise was hugging the wall and at times crawled. After hiking down and then back up we headed to the nearby store where the girls each bought a t-shirt. Missy's read, "I hiked the Grand Canyon" while Denise's read, "I crawled the Grand Canyon".
To this day each of us remember this trip and of the memories we developed.
Here are the lessons I learned from this trip:
1. At each of these stops I understood even deeper why the angels sang with joy at the foundations of the earth Job 38: 4-7.
2. Children value our time more than they value what we give them.
3. What lies beyond your fear is usually so fantastic that it is well worth the struggle getting there. FEAR is always False Evidence Appearing Real.
Both Denise and Missy have talked about wanting to take their children on a great adventure like we shared together 17 years ago.
I encourage you to take the time next year to take an adventure with your spouse and children or if you are not married with your friends. I believe if you do you too will have memories that will last a life time.