I had never realized what a beautiful state Utah was. I dunno, I guess before I would have compared it to Idaho - maybe some prairie state - not that they aren't pretty, but I didn't know that this was the place that had red arches and rocks and sand.

We started out with an ATV trip through the sand dunes - Ciaran was thrilled because he got to drive one again.

Even Aodhan got a short turn driving. He did great.

We drove all the way through the scenic highway 12, which is a two lane road through hills and canyons, and over something called Hell's Backbone, which is a narrow strip of land with steep cliffs on both sides, which is barely wide enough for the road. Unfortunately photos cannot show it unless they were taken from a helicopter.

We stayed in a lovely little hotel in Green River. I highly recommend it. We went to the restaurant the desk clerk recommended. It looked really really like a local hick joint. We opened the door and every eye in the restaurant looked up in dead silence. After about a 10 second pause, one of the guys behind the counter asked what we wanted. We said we would like to get some dinner, and the silence became deafening. "We jus shut douwn the griiill" he said, we's closed. 25 pairs of eyes followed his gaze to our faces, a woman paused with salad lifted halfway to her mouth. As we drove away, I'm sure I caught some of the restaurant conversation drifting through the night... "They looked tasty Sam" .. "tried one of those skinny Canajun wuns before - mite tough though" I think we made it out of there just in time.

The next day, forgetting that we had turned in our ATVs, we took a back road through Arches National Park. The rain had washed the roads out, so we were driving in a dry riverbed. Just like in Peru, except there we had a 4x4.
Ok, the arches were really cool. We were debating on white water rafting, but Aodhan thought it might be too scary for him after trying it in Argentina, and ballooning which was going to cost a considerable amount. We ended up just hiking and climbing through the rocky paths - actually quite an adventure - and the kids said it was they best thing they have done. So now Greg and I can save some money instead of ATVing and buying them amusement park passes - we will just take them to a remote area and open the car door - so much better.

Did I mention that it was a steep high climb?
We left with 2 kids and a husband, and surprisingly, came back with all of them. There were a few times on the trek that I was sure that this was not going to be the case, and I think I only hit an actual panic state once, or maybe twice.. does the quiet nervous breakdown count as panic?
And way out to the end where it is very narrow and I'm too afraid to go - so I can just sit here and hope to hell that both kids have some innate sense of self preservation and really good balance. Really it was as high up, as narrow and as steep as it looks - maybe more.
Ciaran managed to climb up into this arch despite it not being humanly possible. I guess eventually I will have to come clean with Greg about that affair I had with the ring tailed lemur.