Visiting Moab

Usually when I find a good thing is life, it’s totally by accident.  Take ice climbing.  One day (totally out of the blue), I just decided I needed to try ice climbing.  None of my friends ice climbed.  I could count on one hand the number of times I’d rock climbed outdoors.  I honestly have zero idea where it came from but I knew I had to do it.  It wasn’t love at first axe placement, but after a few tries I’ve decided we’re in it for the long haul.

Utah was something like that.  I spent a few weeks at work in May, bored, wondering what I was going to do with my summer vacation time.  I had a car and wanted to travel.  I decided to go to Moab.  Keep in my that until I decided to travel there, when someone said Utah all I thought was “polygamist Mormons” (which I later found out is not an accurate statement).

Unlike ice climbing I can trace my line of thought a little further on this one.  I read Aron Ralston’s book “Between a rock and a hard place” and for some reason it actually got me really interested in canyoneering (despite the near death aspect to his story).  I spent a lot of time at work home looking into climbing/canyoneering/exploring in Utah and decided this was where I needed to go.

We spent three days in Moab and I will start with saying no I did not mountain bike.  No I did not climb.  Yes I want to kick myself for not doing either but I didn’t have time and well, everyone needs a reason to go back right?  I did some of the typical tourist stuff, which I highly recommend if you haven’t been.  Arches National Park was well worth spending a day.  Two hikes I really enjoyed were the Primitive Loop and the hike out to Delicate Arch.  We saw the arch at sunset and I got my zen quota for the trip watching the sun set over the it (plus a few hundred amazing photos).

I also planned a canyoneering trip with Moab Desert Adventures.  Our guide Russ was amazing and incredibly tolerant of my squeamishness over swimming in freezing pools of murky water complete with dead insects.  I had not anticipated the canyons would have water.  This may have been poor planning on my part.  Anyways, it was an amazing experience and I would definitely go again – minus the water.

We stayed at Morris’ Last Resort outside Moab in a cabins which is like mini houses with a kitchen and living room.  Best part was having coffee on the patio and watching the sun set over the red cliffs.

A few things about Zion:  their campsites have no showers & the ambient nighttime temperature can only be described as “unbearable” when in a tent.  When I return I will NOT be camping.  If anyone has any suggestions of places to stay around Zion I’d love to hear them!

Other than that the park is really beautiful. Completely different climate and scenery than Moab.  I didn’t have a lot of time in Zion and there was a flash flood warning in effect so we stuck to some of the tourist hikes around the park.  The only thing that I didn’t like was how crowded it was everywhere.  The buses inside the park are packed and I probably could have walked faster than they drove.  I think I memorized their GPS coordinated recording (If you’ve been you KNOW what I’m talking about!).  I found it odd to see so many people on every hike.  Some days hiking in Banff you’ll be the only group to summit or you’ll see max 5 people on a hike so it’s a different feeling.

Going back to Utah is definitely in the plans for the future (maybe next summer?!).  I felt like there was so much stuff I wanted to do that I didn’t have time to do or hadn’t thought of doing.  Top of my list is climbing and mountain biking. I had figured it would be too hot to do either and for most of the day it is.  But early mornings and evenings are much more tolerable so both are on my “to do” list.

Also, it would be cool to coordinate a trip so I could be in Salt Lake during the Outdoor Retailer trade show.  I heard about it a bit this year (of course after I came back) and it seems like it would be fun to check out if I’m in the area.  A bonus would be if anyone on twitter was attending as well!

Fortunately it has started to snow now so I’m temporarily distracted with pleasant thoughts of ice climbing and skiing :)