Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Moab Rocks

We arrived in Moab, UT on Saturday and we're enjoying the area so much we're planning on staying until Friday -- our longest stint so far in any one place on this trip. We hit upon a great little campground about 10 miles south of town called the Ken's Lake BLM Campground and it's been a cozy home for us. It's only $10/night and there are plenty of large sites, plus we have a great view of the mountains and the lake.

View of the La Sal Mountains in one direction...

...and a view of Ken's Lake and the Moab valley in the other direction.
We went to Arches National Park earlier this week and enjoyed a leisurely drive through the park. We had planned to hike the Devil's Garden area but the parking area was 100% packed (Spring Break!) and due to some construction in the area, we couldn't park on the shoulder, so we had to give up that plan.

Happily we'd picked up a little brochure in town that had some good hikes in the area so we headed over to the Corona Arch trail, which was a nice 3 mile round trip, mostly over slickrock. It was our first time on a slickrock trail -- they can't really outline a trail on top of rock so they use cairns along the way to guide the path, which makes it kind of fun because you're always scouting out for the next turn in the trail. The Arch was impressively large and we were fascinated by the climbers who were on it and swinging from it!

Cairns indicate the trail.

Jeff checking out Corona Arch on our way to its base.

If you squint you can see climbers on top of the arch and under it.

One part of the trail was really steep with footholes embedded in the rock and a cable to hang on to. (I preferred going up rather than down!)
On Tuesday we visited the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park and absolutely loved it. Canyonlands is really remote (nearly 35 miles off the highway for the Needles district in the south) so the visitors there really want to be there. There certainly aren't any parking/congestion problems like there are at Arches! We did an almost 8-mile loop hike that definitely stretched the limits of my abilities with the 1000 foot ascent/descent and a few scary climbing moments. Happily it was a gorgeous sunny day with temperatures in the upper 60s. I don't know if I could have made it through if it had been warmer! (I also now have a hilarious tan line on my forehead from my bangs.) We saw some seriously incredible scenery that was also highly varied. This might be our favorite National Park so far!

We hiked along the ridge you see on the right side of the photo, up and over the little "pass" in the rock near the upper right. Scary!

View from that ledge. Beautiful!

We made it to the top of the pass!

We've enjoyed eating out a few times this week after several weeks of enjoying our own cooking. Two thumbs up to Jeffrey's Steakhouse (yes, they had some vegetarian options for me) both for service and delicious food. And another shoutout to Moab Coffee Roasters for a delicious chai latte. We plan to hit up Twisted Sistas cafe before we leave the area as well. Today was "errands" day: laundromat, dump station, grocery shopping, etc. Definitely the less glamorous side of our trip, but a necessary one! We picked a good day for it: it's rainy and really windy (55 mph gusts). There are tumbleweeds bumping up against Audrey while she sways a bit in the wind, but the sound of rain on her roof is lovely.

Tomorrow we're headed to the Island in the Sky area of Canyonlands (north of Moab) for another hike and perhaps to take an off-road 4x4 tour of Hell's Revenge canyon during sunset - woohoo!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds absolutely fantastic. We are ready to get back on the road now. What an experience y'all are having!