We packed up the campsite early and headed up to the Visitor’s Center to buy tickets for a tour of Lehman Caves. Our next stop was the cafe next door, where we had egg and cheese sandwiches with coffee, and good conversation with an older gentleman from Utah. He was telling us at his grandkids’ school there were 38-40 kids per class! It made us grateful for our 32-36 kids per class… but it also made me continue to question what we are doing wrong with our public schools. After teaching in a private school for a year, I firmly believe smaller class sizes are incredibly beneficial for students.
Anyway, I digress… after our breakfast, we traveled up Wheeler Peak and did a 3-mile hike around two Alpine lakes. We walked through Aspen groves, leaves fluttering in the breeze, and over a great deal of overflowing small streams that raced down the mountainside. We even walked through some snow – a weird experience since it was almost 70 degrees. The lakes were pristine, filled with clear water that reflected the towering mountains and bristle cone pines that surrounded their shores.
It was, yet again, beautiful. I am finding that the west is just a gorgeous place with vast tracks of open, untouched land. The hiking is awesome too :) I love being in high altitudes during summer hiking because the temperatures are much cooler.
After our hike, we made some sandwiches for lunch, and then headed to Lehman Caves. Supposedly discovered in 1885 by Absalom Lehman, the marble caves are just one of 43 in the area. However, it is believed that Native Americans knew about the caves long before they were rediscovered by Lehman.
The tour was an hour long, and though our guide was friendly, he was a bit stiff and boring. We easily could have made it through in 30-minutes, so the experience felt unnaturally dragged out. However, the cave formations were a sight to behold – I snapped a few pictures even though the lighting wasn’t very conducive for sharp focus.
We decided to make the long drive to Moab, Utah during the afternoon and evening so that Addie would be sleeping for most of the drive. She’s been such a good trooper, but we try to make it easier on her by driving during the times she normally sleeps. Most of the time, it works out. When it doesn’t, she watches Sesame Street on her video screen. She’s developed a slight obsession with Elmo.
After a short bit of driving, we crossed into Utah and drove on Highway 50, known as the loneliest highway, for hours. Though we saw a few other cars and tractor-trailers, there really was very little in terms of towns along the way. Yet again, the gorgeous scenery kept us occupied.
We stopped for dinner at Mom’s Cafe in Salina, UT. The side of the building claimed the place was famous, so we felt compelled to stop. A local guy gave us a history of all the famous people who’d been to Mom’s, including Chuck Yeager. Though the inside was rundown, the food was great. I had an egg and ham sandwich and Kendra had the french dip. I topped my meal of with a huge slice of cherry pie a la mode.
We made the last bit of the drive to Moab, Utah as the sun went down. Exhausted when we finally arrived, we checked into a hotel. We are happy to have a bed and a shower, and excited to explore Arches National Park tomorrow!