Saturday, April 7, 2012

What Happens in Moab Stays in Moab

I know I've dreamed you a sin and a lie
I have my freedom but I don't have much time
Faith has been broken tears must be cried
Let's do some living after we die
Wild horses, couldn't drag me away
Wild horses we'll ride them someday

~Rolling Stones

With only a few weeks remaining of the winter season, my flatmate Megan and I decided we needed a mini-vacation and a break from Park City. We packed up the Xterra with all the essentials (sleeping bags, beer and Megan's paper map) and were on our way. At the last minute, our co-worker Jim decided to join the three of us loaded into Black Beauty and started the 4 1/2 hour drive South to Moab.

I think the first lesson I learned on this trip is to never trust directions given by your co-pilot that has been pre-gaming. This will result in a 40-minute detour and get you to your final destination around midnight. But even with a late start, mis-guided route and a snow storm...we made it to Moab in one piece. We battled the wind and used headlamps to set up camp that evening, but in the end I opted to passout and sleep in the back of the Xterra. 

The temperatures dropped that evening and we awoke to see that snow had fallen overnight. For anyone who knows Moab, you know that it is rare for it to snow in the desert. However, the cold weather didn't slow us down. That day we went to Arches National Park, which is the world's largest concentration of natural sandstone arches. Arches is on of the most photographed places in the entire world, but it is easy to see is undescribably beautiful. But I do have to say, every sculpture either looked like a nose or a phallic symbol. After a "strenuous" day of hiking and photo-taking, we opted to visit Moab Brewery Company. There's nothing like drinking some Lizard Ale after a day of hiking and toasting to "calling the lizard."

The next day we made our way to two national parks. Our first stop was Dead Horse National Park. The views were absolutely amazing and you feel like you are standing on top of the world. Legend has it, that in the l800s wild mustang herds were common in that area. The peninsula in Dead Horse National Park, which is 2000 feet above the Colorado River, was used to corral and capture them behind a 50 ft. fence at the neck of the formation. One time a herd of unwanted horses was left out there and they died of thirst. Although tragic, this story really struck a chord with me. Lesson should never try to tame or corral a wild horse (read between the lines.)

Later that day we drove to Canyonlands National Park. Although the roads are straight and narrow, you have to be careful not to speed. Not because of speed traps, but the roads leading into the parks are fence less pastures and it is not uncommon to see livestock standing in the middle of the road. Canyonlands was breathtaking as well. Each view was epic and warranted at least 10-15 pictures.

The third lesson we learned, was to never visit Moab during Jeep Safari week. Accomodation is limited and the town is busy as. Although it was crazy around town, we decided to stay an extra day.  We were on a mission to find a new place to rest our heads. We were tempted to give in and spend a little extra for a bed and hot shower, but Jim persuaded us to find a campsite out in the wild. After many, "sorry, no room at the inn. Don't you know it's Jeep Safari week?!" responses, we took the recommendation of a local and found the most amazing "free" campsite. It was called Moonflower Camping Area and is located inside of a canyon. We hiked into the canyon along a creek and found the last remaining site. Jim did an amazing job of setting up the tent and building the fire, whilst Megan and I did the shopping. We had an amazing night under the stars filled with laughter, smores and LOTS of hot dogs!

After the most epic night of camping, the next day we headed into town for our first real coffee in days and devised a plan for rafting the Colorado River. I was reluctant at first, but after so many "trust-me's" from Jim I was convinced to bypass the rafting company, rent our own raft, strap it to the car, hitchhike and guide ourselves down the river. And boy, am I glad we did! Whitewater rafting with friends, a cooler filled with beer and as many pee-breaks as you want is the way to go.

Moab was amazing! It might be one of my favorite destinations in all of the U.S. You can't help but feel a sense of freedom whilst in Moab. And you definitely can't help but do a little living before you die.

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park - April 2012

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