Remember that moment. The mob of pelicans had just taken off and we stood on the road in the gorgeous sunlight and the perfect temperature. And remember how those Canada geese liked to hang out on the gravel road, leaving always at the last possible second. We had no idea why.
Easter Sunday would be beautiful later, but first thing was a cloud cover to burn off. The lighting was very subdued. We saw the most pelicans we'd ever seen in the air at one time, and sandhill cranes and trumpeter swans up close. But good lighting is just essential for nice bird photos.
Remember those tense minutes at sunrise when we didn't know the locked refuge gate was on a timer. Five hundred miles. We'd always been there early and driven on in. That sunrise brought a beautiful day. Our best first-day surprises were two deer and a pair of sandhill cranes.
I liked being able to see my lifestyle choices make measurable changes to my heart health, so I learned all I could about HRV. I saw good numbers after biofeedback sessions, and worse ones under stress. I tried experiments like skipping coffee, and made myself stay in bed longer.
There were so many places we had to stop and take in the views as we passed frozen waterfalls and scenic overlooks This type of trip was new to us. We had opted for riskier challenges in past years. This was an easy road and we knew we'd be able to take it again and see it anew.
There were no tracks in the new snow except those of wildlife. We stopped whenever we wanted to look. The snow sparkled in bright sun and the temperature was perfect. With a name like Sand Flats, we didn't expect steep canyon walls, frozen waterfalls, and switchbacks.
On Wednesday, the 6 1/2-hour drive to Moab had worn us out. Every year the trip seemed harder on us, so we opted for an easy road on Thursday. Sand Flats Road turned out to be a great choice. A sunrise after overnight snow on the mountains, and the drive was a 4-hour loop.