Friday, March 28, 2014

We Love Canyonlands and I Think We Love 4x4ing

We already know that we'll be back to Moab sometime in the future - we love it here! So many things to do, coupled with beautiful scenery and plenty of quirky businesses. We had planned to leave today (Friday) but decided to stay an extra day to have some more fun.

On Thursday we went to the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park, which is the northern part of the park. It's not quite as remote as the Needles district in the south, but it's still a commitment to go visit it. We did a 5.8 mile hike on the Neck Spring loop trail and saw some really varied scenery, which  ended at "The Neck". This is the 40-foot wide stretch that connects to the Island in the Sky -- a huge mesa at about 6000 feet -- and was popular with early cattle ranchers because they only needed a 40-foot fence to keep their cattle contained. The huge cliffs all around the Island did the rest! Near the end of our hike the weather started getting colder and the wind came up and right at the very end of our hike we were treated to a brief snow shower! It's really something to see snow against the backdrop of those red cliff walls. So far, Canyonlands wins for our favorite National Park.

Some nice rain showers during the day added to the lovely scenery. The La Sal Mountains in the distance got a nice dusting of snow as well. 
A good reason why they call it "Canyonlands"... 
...and one more view of all the canyons.
Mesa Arch in Canyonlands with a view of the storm in the distance.
As a fun addition to our trekking adventures we bought a Suunto Ambit2 "watch" this week. I use the word "watch" very loosely because this thing has a built in GPS, altimeter, thermometer, younameit. It was really handy for tracking our hike on Thursday and seeing how far we'd come and how high we'd ascended/descended (about 500 feet starting at over a mile high). Those of you that know me well know that I love gadgets and this one really floats my boat. :-)

Today we went on a 4x4 adventure with Moab Cowboy Country Offroad Adventures and HOLY COW did we have an adventure!! We have never driven a 4x4 vehicle before and this trek took us through an area called "Hell's Revenge" and started with a narrow stretch called the "Devil's Backbone" -- does that give you an indication of what we experienced? Thankfully that little Polaris we were in was a powerful beast and Jeff was a great driver. I had to close my eyes several times during the 2.5 hour trip because I was sure we were going to flip over sideways or backwards. Would I do it again? Yes - it was definitely the most unique thing we've done and a total thrill. Was it scary? Hell yeah! [I have a great video of one of the scariest parts of our drive I want to upload, but my internet connection here is not making that possible! Stay tuned... I'll do it one of these days when we have real wifi.]
Jeff and I at an overlook of the Colorado River on our 4x4 drive
Some great views on our drive!
We were the third in line of 3 vehicles on our drive today - our guide was in the first one. And yes, those black tracks over the rock were part of track.
We had a relaxing afternoon today (Friday) before making a healthy dinner with some lovely drinky-poos. Of course, when I say "relaxing" I mean playing some Sudoku, taking a nap, and chatting on the phone with my sister. For Jeff, "relaxing" involved a hike in the hills above our campground. :-)

On Saturday morning we're starting our trek toward northern California. Unfortunately, some unexpected weather is getting in the way of our original travel plans. We thought we were going to take Hwy 50 (also called "the Loneliest Road") across Nevada toward California and visit the Lassen Volcanic National Park, but now there is a lot of snow predicted for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. So instead we're going to stick to the Interstate freeways (I-15 north to I-80 west) where we're sure they'll plow. We have plenty of time before we're due in Napa on April 7th, so we'll be cautious! Unfortunately we didn't pack a lot of cold weather clothing, so we might be hunkered down in Audrey for a few days if the snow really falls! I actually hope that does happen - I have plenty of good books on my Kindle to see me through, we just went to the laundromat this week so we're good on clean clothes, and we're fully stocked on groceries. Bring it on!

(P.S. - In case you're wondering... we're due in Napa on April 7 to park Audrey at an RV park before heading into San Francisco on April 9-10. I have a job interview there that I'm looking forward to. No, I can't yet say anymore about it, but stay tuned later for updates...)

1 comment:

  1. Man, you two are out of control with this incredible adventure. It was great fun reading about your Canyonlands experience. It looks and sounds like an amazing, beautiful place. Snow, are you kidding me? It was 88 here in "the Burg" yesterday.