Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Moab Utah: Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

September 20-23, 2013   

We left Gypsum CO at 11 am for the 223 mile trip to Moab, UT.  We left late, 11 am, because we were waiting on an RX that was sent to Patty at the campground address by accident.  Anyway the RX mail didn’t arrive so we headed out and left the office our forwarding address in South Dakota. The RX is nothing Patty needs right away so it will be fine going to SD.

The full moon on the morning we left Gypsum CO on our way to Moab Utah.  This is looking west toward Utah.

It was great weather for the drive into Utah.  Patty was the driver again for this trip.  We headed west on I70 through Grand Junction CO. and then to US 191 south to Moab UT. 

What a change in the landscape getting close to Moab!
There probably is no way to describe or show with pictures the landscape here.  It’s just amazing that nature can make this.  The huge rock structures make you feel so small.

I 70 west in CO toward Utah

Tunnel on I70 west near Utah Border

I 70 west in CO toward Utah

More I 70 west in CO

I70 west toward Utah

Just a fun shot out the rear window pulling the 5th wheel.
Made it to Utah.

Landscape starting to change in Utah
Landscape change near Moab UT.

 We arrived at the Spanish Trail RV Park in South Moab around 3:30.  It’s a nice park but very expensive at $53 a night even with a Good Sam discount!  We normally would not have stayed at such an expensive place but I acted too quickly when checking on availability.  On our way we usually call ahead and make sure the campgrounds have space. Since I was the co-pilot I made the call ahead.  
Our first of 2 RV parks in Moab UT.  This one is right on  US 191.

Our site at the first RV park in Moab UT.

Spanish Trail told me that they are not accepting Passport America (PA) rates because it’s their busy season and we were getting the last site.  The Passport America internet site clearly states that they have the half price rate with exception of April and May and this is mid-September.  I thought that something must be going on in Moab so I jumped on the reservation for 2 nights without calling the other PA Park in Moab first.  

Patty and I did some more discussion about what we were going to do in Moab and if we wanted to also go to Capital Reef National Park.  We decided to stay longer in Moab and see Canyonlands National Park which is 35 miles south of Moab and skip Capital Reef this time.  So now we needed a place for 2 more nights in Moab.  This time I called the other Passport America place, OK Stables RV Park that is a little over a mile from the other park.  They gave us 2 nights with the PA rate! So now we have 2 reservations for 2 nights each spanning Friday to next Tuesday.  The first 2 nights are for $107 and the second 2 nights for $50!

When we arrived at Spanish Trail they were in fact full.  We think this is the first time we have ever stayed in a full park. The next night, Saturday, the park was almost empty.  We don’t know what was going on Friday but there was no reason they couldn't have given us the PA rate at least the second night.  Funny thing is, the OK Stable Park was full on Sunday night and were giving the PA rate.  So, who knows!

Saturday the 21st we got up at our usual 7 am but we immediately started getting ready for our visit to the Arches National Park.  We wanted to get into the park by 9:30 so we could get a parking spot in the Devils Garden section which is at the farthest end of the park.  The park is basically 9 miles long with a couple of 4X4 trails also.  Devil’s Garden has a trail that is just over 7 miles long which is what we wanted to take.

We got into the park a little past 9 am.  We decided to purchase the $80 annual park pass which is good at all national parks.  We are visiting 5 national parks in the next couple of weeks which would be $20 for us as a couple for a total of $100.  We will save $20 even if we don’t use it the rest of the year. 

Waiting in line at the entrance to Arches National Park

We stopped briefly at the visitor center first. This didn't interest us, and for us, just wasted time getting to Devil’s garden parking.  We drove back to Devil’s Garden and sure enough the parking area was full and so were both sides of the road leading to the parking area.  We drove around the parking lot a couple of times and a spot opened up.  It really wasn't too bad of a delay as it was only 9:50 now.

View on drive to Devil's Garden in Arches National Park

This is the parking line at Devil's garden!

Devil’s Garden is really 3 trails starting from one trail head.  We wanted to do the 7 mile trail that included the primitive trail that was on the hardest list of trails in Arches.  We hiked 4 miles including some of the primitive trail.  The primitive trail was not well defined and it started on a very steep trail up a rock face.  This was our first “real” hiking experience and we didn't want to go up the face of this steep rock.  So we hiked everything in Devil’s Garden except most of the primitive trail. Note:  We got better later.

Entrance to Devil's Garden Trail

Beginning the trail in Devil's Garden

This is in Devil's Garden.  Can you guess why Patty wanted to be pictured here?

This is called landscape Arch.

This is us before we decided not to climb the steep grade behind us.  If you look real close in this picture you will see people climbing the face of a rock a couple of hundred feet.  You also need to traverse down the way you came up.

Part of the Devil's Garden trail.

Devil's Garden, the tunnel Arch.

Devil's Garden, Pine tree Arch

After the Devil’s garden we went to the Delicate Arch Trail. This trail was only 1.5 miles but was listed on the hardest trail list for the park.  This is where we got better at hiking.   The 1.5 miles took us all most 2 hours to climb up!  It started out flat and then we had a fairly short steep climb and then back down to flat again.  Then we went up a longer steep uphill climb.  At the top we looked out and saw where we were going next.  It is a .5 mile steep grade up the side of what they call slip rock.  Basically we were going to hike for .5 miles up a rock face that ranged from 30 to 40% grade with no level spots.  

This cabin was at the start of the trail to Delicate Arch.  The guy who owned this area in the late 1800's built this because his wife thought the cabin before it was too primitive!  This is real primitive!  This one had wood floors where the original didn't.  The guy came here by himself because the dry climate helped his civil war injuries.  After he got established he sent for his wife.

The start of the Delicate Arch Trail.  Nice and easy.  The temperature is 90 with 15% humidity   You sweat but don't get wet.

We have climbed a few hills now and in the distance you see this huge rock with people who look like ants on it.  We are thinking that we are not going to climb that and we were thinking that the end was on top of that hill.  We were wrong again!

These are the markers we follow on the trail called cairns.

A look back at the start of the steep climb up the rock.

A look up the rock we were going to climb.  This is the halfway point of the trail.  We thought we were almost there.

On the way up.  Note the cairn on the right.  If you don't watch the cairns you get way off course as we did a couple of times.

A look back down the rock as we continued up.
Cool tree that really depicts the trail and area.

Now we are at the top of the rock and we need to go where the people are in the distance!

The last 2 hundred yards are along this cliff trail.

We made it to the top to see this site!

We managed to make it up to the top of the rock and felt good that we climbed to the top.  We thought that was the end of the climb.  Oh no it wasn't  we still had .5 miles to go and we didn't know it!  Most of the next .5 miles was fairly easy.  The last 300 yards was easy but was on the side of a cliff!  What a sight when we rounded the final curve and there was this large rock arch all by its self.  We are so inspired by what nature built here.  One must see this stuff to really appreciate it.  Pictures and words just do not do this justice!
We were done after the Delicate Arch trail.  We went back to the RV and made a couple of hamburgers and then crashed. We were beat!

This is called Balanced Rock in Arches National Park.  We stopped here just to take a look.

Sunday the 22nd we moved to the OK Stable RV Park a mile and a half away.  This was the easiest move we have ever made.  Within an hour we were disconnected from one place and set up at the next all by 11 am.  Sunday was going to be a down day for us as it was going to rain and there were major threats of heavy thunderstorms the entire day.  All of this was fine with us as long as it all happened after we repositioned and it did.

Our second RV park in Moab UT.  Note the recent snow on the mountains in the background.  This is the first snow of the season in the mountains.  This snow happen last night.

We spent the day just relaxing and planning our next moves to Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest and then to the Albuquerque Balloon festival.  We made a pasta dinner with hot Italian sausage we purchased at a butcher shop in Michigan.  We were in bed by 9:30!

Monday the 23rd we went to the Canyonland National Park. This park has 3 areas which are not connected by interior roads.  You need a day each to visit all 3 areas of the park. The easiest area to get to is the area called Islands in the Sky which is about 35 miles from Moab.  This is the area we chose to visit.

We arrived at 10:30 in the park.  We decided to go the end of the park road to Grand View Point.  There we would take a 2 mile round trip hike around the south rim of the canyon.  This was a pretty easy hike.

To explain, these canyons are deep canyons with deep canyons in them.  Again, it is not possible to explain the views.  The numbers however are like this.  We are looking at an area that is at least 30 miles across and 1,500 feet to the main bottom area with 1,000 feet canyons from there. Also, the lower canyons have rock structures hundreds of feet high in them.  It makes my eyes hurt after a while.  It just is not conceivable what you are looking at.  That is my best try at describing what you are looking at in the pictures below.  

Ranger giving a very good narrative about the park.  He said what I believe, there is really no way to describe this place with words and photos.  He said that one needs to visit here in person and immerse yourself in the surroundings.  

The easy trail we hiked around the south rim of the canyon.

This looking back to where the ranger gave his narrative.

Patty on the trail.

Next we went to the Upheaval Dome trail.  This trail was just 2.2 miles round trip.  Just like our experience from Saturday, the second trail was the hardest.  First, before the hike, the Upheaval Dome is an area where the rock formations are completely mixed up.  No one is real sure how this happened. There are, however, 2 theories. First one being that it was caused by a meteorite and the second it a slow moving salt river under the earth millions of years ago.  For me, the area is another marvelous piece of nature with a hiking trail.
The trail was incredible. The hike took us about 2 hours to complete.  This trail actually had us on hands and knees on the rocks to climb up and down the trail.  It was such a great time we had climbing this trail together.   

Start up the Upheaval Dome trail

We are going to hike down and then up the rock in the background.

We are halfway across the first rock face.

This is the end of the rock face climb.

Now we go down the back side along a cliff.

The back side of the rock and cliff is the center of this photo.  We came down from the upper right and went left and then straight toward to where the photo is taken.
This is the Upheaval Dome.

Now we need to go back up the cliff.

End of the cliff cliff climb.

It is so quiet on the trail.  When you look at all of the rock formations and rocks that are not moving down the mountains, you think of the millions of years it took for this to manifest itself.   There are literally billions of rocks and boulders perched precariously but not moving for miles all around you, and it is so silent.  We are witnessing millions of years of nature shaping these formations.  It is just incredible!

We got back to the RV and cleaned up to go out on the town of Moab for dinner and a little tourist shopping.  We eat at the Peace Tree restaurant and had great food.  We were impressed by the quality and reasonable price for such a very touristy town.  Moab, well done! 

cool sign in Moab.

Cool street light decoration in Moab.

Final thoughts about Moab UT.  This is definitely a destination place for adult and child alike.  You could spend 2 weeks here easy.  They have zip lines, 4x4 rentals and tours, rafting, hiking, biking, sky diving, and horseback riding.   I’m sure I left something out but we give Moab a big thumbs up as a vacation destination.  We were here 4 days and did the easy stuff!

Tomorrow we head to Bryce Canyon.  It is a long pull for us at 274 miles (4.5 hours).  We will probably need to fuel up with the RV attached along the way.  I did however fill up the truck to the limit on our way back from town.  The tank is 38 gallons but I can put in 42 if I fill up to the top of the fill tube and that is what I did.  That means we could make Bryce but would have only a couple of gallons left.  That is way too close for us.

That’s it from Moab UT.  What a great experience!!

Stay Tuned!

1 comment:

IL Camper said...

Mark and Patty, you two have been very busy. Great photos and details about your hikes. You really whet my appetite for getting on the road. Next Monday is one year to our time. Curt