"Hey, let's go see the sunset at Fonts Point at 4:30," said our friend Rich Luhr. Great! We like sunsets and it is only 4 miles away. Count us in. At 4:30, we load the kids in the car and drive out of our flat desert boondocking site. We drive about 1 mile down the road and turn off onto a path through the desert. Not a road, just a well-traveled sandy path. Very sandy. Very bumpy. We are in the very same truck with stiff suspension that nearly bounced my children out during both pregnancies on paved roads. On this desert path, our bodies were tossed in every direction and jiggled in every joint. Keep in mind that Troy is still recovering from a 24 hour stomach virus he had yesterday. He is still sore from puking and a bit of nausea still remains. This trip to Fonts Point to see the sunset, was not turning out to be the peaceful trip we had imagined. The four miles seemed like forty miles, but we finally arrived with our friends waiting for us at the path to the top of the overlook.
The kids were excited and the bumpy "road" was like shaking up a can of Pepsi. They exploded out of the truck with giggles, jumping, running, and silliness. They ran ahead of us up the path. The seemingly innocent, sandy path. Imagine walking up a large sand dune where you would normally expect to see an ocean pop out on the other side. However, we were in the desert. I was not prepared for what I saw at the top. Disclaimer...I admit that Rich told me that there was a big drop off at the end, but with everything being the same color of brown sand, my depth perception was off and I didn't realize that we were suddenly at the end of the path. Fortunately, I was holding Morgan's hand because her legs were getting tired from the climb, but Silas was ahead of us by about 20 feet. He stopped suddenly and I took a picture of him before realizing that he was standing 2 feet from the edge of a terrifying drop off. I'm talking about a serious, throw-a-rock-and-never-hear-it-land kind of drop off. There was no sign, no railing, no change in the colors that might indicate a drop off so significant. My heart stopped. I can't really remember what I said, but I remember grabbing Silas and pulling him back from the edge while my own legs trembled. I was in utter shock that somehow we had allowed our son to run ahead toward a certain death if he had slipped, tripped, or just not stopped soon enough.
After an uneventful hike back down, we jumped back in the truck. In the commotion of the whole drop off ordeal, I hadn't noticed that Troy was basically green. The bumpy 4 mile drive had done him in, and now we had to do it again. Big bumps, big pot holes, and washboard flat sections. By the time we got back to home to the Gray Whale, we had deemed it a full fledged Adventure. It had all the components - suspense, near death experience, beauty, emotion. Our whole family, adults included, was in bed asleep by 7:30 that night. We Missourians have much to learn and experience. This one hour of our lives did what we hoped this whole trip would do for us. It woke us up. Taught us new things. Allowed us to experience nature and our own emotions in a deep and profound way.