Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hike to the Royal Arch

Today my younger son suggested taking a hike to the Royal Arch near Boulder.  In a delirium of hopeful expectations, I assented. 

We drove up to Chautauqua Park and hit the trail to the Royal Arch about noon.  Per my usual custom, I immediately began panting for breath after departing the parking lot.  (As I watched toddlers and geriatrics pass me on the gently sloping trail, I began to consider the possibility that one of my lungs might have collapsed upon itself -- my mental image was that of an old sandwich baggie stuck together by residual peanut butter.)  The trail entered the trees and became more rocky.  The going got harder.

I plodded on, gasping and sweating.  My son would lightly hop from rock to rock like a grasshopper and then would kindly wait for me to catch up. 

The trail grew increasingly inhospitable as my son and I neared the Royal Arch.  The last mile was a crazy winding staircase of big rocky steps.

Then, at last, the Royal Arch came into view.  It was a rather clumsy specimen of an arch -- just some giant boulders leaning against each other.

To give spice to the day's outing, my son scampered up the shoulder of the abutment. The arrow (red, signifying severe danger) shows his path.  My thoughts instantly turned to the Old Testament story of Jacob at the time when his youngest son was at risk (Genesis 42:38), and I likewise worried that a sudden calamity might "bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave." 

But no calamity resulted.  My son posed for a photograph and then scampered back down, safe and sound.


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