Friday, May 18, 2012


I think Moab must stand for Mega Outdoor Adventure Bonanza! This place was near the top of our "places to re-visit" list. Here we wanted to re-live some great moments and add some new ones. Mission accomplished.

It got very hot in the afternoons, so our adventures took place 1st thing in the morning, or in the evening. Afternoons were spent in the air conditioned comfort of The Whale, bathed in the blue glow of computer monitors, getting work done.

Before I get into the outdoor stuff, first a few words about the campground: It was low-rent, a trailer park on one side, campground on the other; a dustbowl strewn with tired old campers housing full-time residents. We would have left, but there were rally's in town that week, and site availability was scarce. So, we squeezed into our site, our living side shared with perhaps the most dilapidated old truck-camper (sans truck) that we've ever seen. Dirty aluminum siding, sitting on blocks, a blue-tarp bungeed in place to keep the rain out...

Nice, eh? The occupants were a very nice young woman and her lovable dog. She emerged wearing black tights, a tank top, and a head-dress of long, purple woolen braids. Her dog appeared au-natural, looking like a pit-bull played a role in his conception. But we discovered her to be a very nice person, a fire eating/throwing/spinning pyrotechnic acrobat performer, and her dog turned out to be a docile and lovable animal (although his attitude towards me may have been influenced by the treats that I have him when his mommy was off spinning fiery hoola-hoops around her purple dreads). On our other side a truck camper pulled in about 6 inches away, so close that the driver had to scooch over and exit her rig on the passenger side. A Whale in a Sardine can!

So, the first morning I went out to ride Moab's famous Slickrock trail, which I had enjoyed immensely last year. Once again I was thrilled by the uniqueness on the landscape and the joy of the demanding terrain. Love it or hate it, there's nothing else like it. I love it, and we all know that I am always right...

In the evenings we'd drive up onto the Sand Flat Recreational Area, where the Slickrock trail is, and go for a walk. Here is Gigantor on slickrock:

We saw some beautiful sunsets up there, and enjoyed nice walks.

The next morning we headed up to Arches National Park, and drove to the end of the park road to Devil's Garden, to hike out to Landscape Arch, which, at 290 feet may well be the longest in the world:

The trail along the way passed through typically gorgeous Utah scenery...

...and among flowering cacti:

The morning of our last day we drove up to Dead Horse Ranch State Park, 2000' above the valley floor and the Colorado River which carved it. The view from up there is spectacular:

We went there to ride the excellent mountain bike trail that sweeps through the scrub on the mesa-top. This is where Nancy rode last year, and was the inspiration for her getting her own proper mountain bike. Here she is ripping up the trail:

And here I am climbing one of the short, steep hills on the trail:

I continued on to do a longer loop than Nancy was up for, and it brought me to an overlook on a cliff with a sheer dropoff. I couldn't resist the photo opportunity, which I wouldn't have been able to do had Nancy been there!:

Our last evening we joined a "Jeep" Tour, which was actually a Hummer tour, with High Point tours. We piled into a Humvee that had been modified to seat 10, including the driver, Josh. We drove up to the salt flats, and pulled onto the Hell's Revenge 4X4 trail. This challenging jeep trail has a natural "filter" at its start - a 90 degree turn up onto a ribbon of sandstone with sheer dropoffs on both sides, requiring a serious four-wheel-drive vehicle with high ground clearance and very short overhangs. It filters out the wanna-be's, allowing only serious, trail-rated vehicles to pass. Here we are descending this same feature:

On our tour we climbed and descended slickrock formations so steep that they seemed impossible for a wheeled vehicle to navigate. The Humvee's impressive off-road abilities were truly demonstrated. It's ability to approach and climb up nearly vertical walls of rock were indeed awesome.

And not everyone who attempts this extreme driving makes it out. Here is a Nissan Pathfinder carcass which serves as a reminder to those unexperienced drivers who think they can take their stock vehicles on Hell's Revenge:

We enjoyed the tour immensely - it's a far cry from what we would have attempted had we rented a stock Jeep Wranger and explored on our own. Good stuff!

So, once again Moab impresses us with the variety and quality of outdoor pursuits available, and with the spectacular sandstone landscapes. Definitely worth a visit or several.

1 comment:

  1. That picture on the mesa edge makes my feet tingle!