Red Rocks and Blue Sky

Trip Start Apr 15, 2006
Trip End May 15, 2006

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Monday, April 17, 2006

We arrived in Salt Lake City late on Saturday night and the plan was to head into the city the next morning to pick up a few supplies before heading to our real first stop, Moab. Well, turns out, that the next morning was Easter Sunday and, with the exception of a couple of gas stations (and thankfully one Starbucks), the Mormon City was closed for the day. After fueling up (both the car and ourselves) Jacquie and I headed south. It didn't take long before we were into the scenery that I was looking for and as we crossed the last pass and headed down into Moab we passed by Arches National Park, crossed the Colorado River and headed in the town itself. We had arrived in a postcard. What an amazing landscape. We found a campsite about 10 minutes out of town right beside the Colorado River in an area called Big Bend. We liked it so much we decided to stay put for a week. Moab has long been a destination for mountain bikers. There are lots of trails of varying levels of difficulty in the area with the best known area called Slickrock just outside of town. Jacquie and I rented two amazing mountain bikes from The Poison Spider Bike Shop (turns out that they also have showers which made us happy campers, literally)The bikes had full suspension and big beefy tires and we would be needing both. Our first trip was on a trail which led up to Gemini Bridges to the north of town. Within 15 minutes of heading up the steep, and seemingly endless, starting hill I got a flat tire. Not having repaired a flat tire in about 30 years I am happy to report that it only took about 15 minutes. Then we were on our way again. After the initial hill (did I mention steep and long) the trail levelled out abit and turned a corner into a great canyon between high red walls. The end of the trail, as the name suggests, puts you on top of a pair of massive natural rock bridges about 300 feet or so above the canyon floor. We hung out and ate some lunch before heading back out the way we came in. That really long and steep climb at the beginning of our ride made for an exciting finish. Thank goodness for the disc brakes on the bikes.

We did three more rides while in Moab each one a little more difficult that the one before. The other trails were Slickrock, which is over a huge expanse of, yup you guessed it, slickrock, Amosa Back which is a mix of slickrock, broken rock and sand and Sovereign Trail which is also a mix of terrain but this time a single track so a bit more technical. We were suprised by how much our riding improved in the three days that we had the bikes. Things that seemed impossible on the first day were pretty straight forward on the third.

We did a bit of hiking in Moab. The hikes were all about 3 or 4 hours in length and usually involved hiking up a canyon to a great formation. We usually started out early as the temperature was getting close to 100 degrees by noon. Two of our favourite hikes were Negro Bill Canyon and Corona Arch. The scenery is absolutely amazing.

We were heading back from Corona Arch along the Colorado River and had to pass through an area called Wall Street, a rock climbing area right beside the road. Jacquie wanted to take some pictures and introduced herself to a couple of guys who were working on a great looking climb. When Jacquie mentioned that we might have our harnesses and shoes in the car we were asked if we wanted to have a climb on their rope. Didn't have to ask us twice and we got to enjoy a climb beside the road looking out over the Colorado River. It was my first climb on sandstone and my first real experience with a crack climb. I was a hand jamming fool. We had our first inkling that not bringing our rope and other gear was a mistake.

We also spent a couple of days wandering around Arches National Park. The scenery is amazing with thousands of arches. Unfortunately there were also thousands of people.

With only a month to play and so much to see we were back on the road with a loose plan which included a visit to The Needles in Canyonlands National Park to the south. Thats another entry.

Talk to you soon.

Dave and Jacquie
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