Throw Back Thursday – A Guardian Angel in Arches

We were up before the dawn that first day in Moab, an intense desire to catch a glimpse of sunrise’s kiss on the impressive structures found at Arches National Park.  Literally stopping at the first parking lot past the visitor’s center, we headed down the quiet desert Park Avenue Trail, the fine red sand filled with footprints of previous journeyers.


The views were incredible, and immensely peaceful at that time of day.  The journey took us past the Three Gossips, a popular attraction at Arches.


After about a mile, the trail intersects the main road.  “Why don’t you go back and get the car; I want to take a few more pics of this area?”

Sure.  I can do that.  Retracing my steps is no biggie.

For someone who is a bit challenged in the “Sense of Direction” Department, it was kind of a biggie.

I soon realized that the trail that seemed to go down and back actually forks on the way back.  I took the path to the right (which was full of footsteps) instead of the path to the left.  Finding myself in a cove, surrounded by enormous rock structures with no phone service, I panicked, just a bit.  No, who am I kidding, I went into full blown freak out mode!

I scolded myself, “Get a grip, lady!”

Taking a few breaths and uttering a prayer or two, I decided the only logical thing to do was to relax, stay calm, and begin retracing my steps.  Every step was challenging at this point because my self confidence had been thrown out the window.

Step. Deep Breath.  Step.  Short Prayer.  Step. Deep Breath. Step. Short Prayer.

And then, as if out of nowhere, my guardian angel approaches.

No. Not the winged, dressed all in white variety.

More like the Mr. Rogers variety.

He was tall and thin, a very pleasant guide, probably about the same age as my parents.  A pharmacist from the hills of Tennessee, there was a kind gentleness about him.

“Ha ha, I think I know my way back to the parking lot, but it might seem like the blind leading the blind.”

His chuckle was endearing.

Our conversation flowed like the streams in the Smokies, mainly focusing on – what else – hiking!

By the time my car came into view, anxiety and panic were transformed into wonder and gratitude.  And with a final goodbye coupled with about seventy million more “thank yous”, we went our separate ways.

As I made my way down the road to pick up my better half, tears of joy began to dribble down my cheeks.  Perhaps a bit overly dramatic, this experience left me uplifted, and, once again, strengthened my belief in the intrinsic goodness of man and his Maker!


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