Utah: Beer Is Scarce And Good Beer Is Non-Existent
Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
147Trip End Jan 25, 2012
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Dead Horse Point State Park
Canyonlands National Park
We got on our way fairly early -- since we weren't really supposed to camp at that picnic area -- and headed toward Utah. The drive along I-70 was interesting. The Colorado River was still at flood level and a bike path that runs next to the river and the Interstate was completely submerged in multiple places. Even the East Bound side of I-70 was underwater at one point, redirecting traffic into 1/2 of the West Bound highway. So that's what they meant by "Road Failure." It was incredible to see.
We made our way to Utah and headed south along a scenic byway into Moab
First stop: The Park Avenue Trail. It's a wide section of slickrock in a canyon and does feel like you are walking along a sweeping boulevard. Mark took the dogs along the road and ran to the bottom while I hiked the trail and snapped photos. I had it all to myself. I love getting places before all the tourists arrive. (Yes, I do realize that I, too, am a tourist.) At the lower trailhead, we switched off the dogs and I took the road back. Wait. How did I end up having to run up the road (which was a good bit longer)? Oh well, it was a nice way to start the day and a conversation starter later when people who saw me running with the puppies mentioned it later.
We drove to the Delicate Arch trailhead and started out running the trail. But, as soon as we started up some stairs, I was straining to breathe. When am I going to get acclimated to this thin air? We hiked along the trail over slickrock and rounded a steep drop off, although nothing to feel scared of. Then, we came to Delicate Arch. It's beautiful. I ran down the rock to the bottom of the arch and had Mark snap a few photos. But, instead of walking back up the way I came, Mark suggested we go further down the rock, then hike up the other side
On the way back, we took a detour and went into the backcountry (surprise, surprise) and scaled up and down several small 8-10 foot canyons (ripples in the rock, really) before rejoining the trail. As always, this heightened the experience and created some really special memories.
We continued on to a couple of the overlooks and seriously contemplated heading into Fiery Furnace for an unsanctioned hike. (A permit is required to hike in this area.) But, there was no shady spot to park the car with the dogs. We continued to the Devil's Garden where several arches are located and hiked part of the way up the trail. By now, the place was a madhouse of people. Time to get out of here.
We drove into Moab for lunch, gorging ourselves on mexican food and a margarita, then headed north toward Dead Horse Point State Park and the Canyonlands
We found a spot at Horsethief Campground, where our neighbors has a truck bed full, I mean full, of scrap lumber. None of it would burn for more than a few minutes, but there was plenty to go around. And, they kindly shared it with their nearby campers. Sitting by a fire with a million stars above you is a wonderful way to end the day.
Mark decided it was time to try out mountain biking on his recuperating shoulder. I was interested in a run, so we parted ways for a couple of hours
We enjoyed some really spicy Thai food one block from our hotel, then walked the additional block to the Rec Center. That's how convenient everything was to our hotel. And, well, just about everything in Moab. It's not a big town. Unfortunately, we had our first bad luck of the day when we reached the Rec Center. The Contra Dance was rescheduled for the following Saturday. Bummer. We walked through the town instead, spending an inordinate amount of time in a great independent book store, then popped into the SlickRock Cafe to listen to the worst country western duo of all time. The Desert Coyotes did lounge style versions of songs you know and no longer love
While in the bookstore, Mark saw a photo of a waterfall over a boulder in a slot canyon and found the approximate location on the map. The next morning, we drove out of Moab and headed for the trailhead to Mary Jane Canyon. There was a bit of a trail to start the hike, then you just follow the creek up the canyon. We didn't count, but we must have crossed that creek at least 50 times each way. The water was quite cold and we did a lot of split leaps to keep our feet almost dry. After about 90 minutes, we reached the waterfall. The water was definitely chilly and the wind was picking up, but that didn't stop me from darting under the falls into a grotto for a photo op. Then, it was time for a quick Clif Bar and back out of the canyon. We made it back to the van just before a short rain burst began. Perfect timing and a perfect morning.