Sunday, June 22, 2014

Moab Revisited

In 1997, I took my family on a week long vacation to Moab.  At that time, it was the mountain biking capital of the world and we came to bike, hike, and visit the National Parks.  It was a very memorable vacation and a place that I wanted to return to.

Today, Cav and I returned as the last stop on our Grand Circle tour.  The town's changed a little. Its got a little more sprawl, but it still has its small town charm.  The outdoors sports have also expanded to include ATV's, Jeep touring, zip lines, rock climbing, and even road biking.  Back in the 90's mountain bikers where everywhere.  Now there appears to be as many ATV's as mountain bikes.

The main thing we came to do was re-supply, eat some good food, and revisit Arches National Park.  Seventeen years ago, I had hiked and biked some of the best trails and now my 60 year old body wasn't up for a repeat.  The Klondike Bluffs and Gemini Bridges trails will remain great memories.  Also, when we arrived it was very very hot - 96 in the shade with 8% humidity.  And it was fore casted to get even hotter during our stay.  So, that also limited the outdoor activities.

We hit Arches early one morning to avoid the heat and crowds.  We got there at 8:45am and there was a waiting line to get in.  The Park Service was doing maintenance at Devils Garden so that area was closed, which made the traffic at all the other areas very congested.  We were lucky in that we got the RV into all the areas we could.

The road up into the park is dramatic. You get a great look at the Moab fault line.

Rt 191 south looking at the Moab valley

The Park Ave overlook was still breath taking even though the early morning light is not the best for pictures.

Cav at the Park Ave overlook
We got into the Windows section just before it filled up with tour buses and RV's.  Double Arch was our focus point.  Opening scenes for Indian Jones and the Last Crusade were filmed at Double Arch.
Cav wanted to experience the movie scene so he climbed up to Double Arch for a picture.

J. Dawg at Double Arch

Cav sitting at Double Arch
We had good morning light for the Windows section.  We also made it to the Delicate Arch overlook.  The hiking trail up to the Arch was mobbed.  It was 93 degrees out, the two lots were full, and cars were lining the road for 1/4 miles past the trail head to do the 3 mile hike up to the Arch.  Here are some more pictures.

Delicate Arch from the overlook
On our way out of the park, all the scenic lots were full and overflowing with cars and RV's and vehicles were still streaming into the park.  The Park Service is recommending people visit the park before 9 am or after 3 pm.  They're also looking at putting in a shuttle service.  The parking lots at Arches are not adequate to handle the peak season crowds.  We were lucky to get the see what we did.  Its also interesting that most of the people at the scenic areas where foreigners (not speaking English).  As a form of payback, Cav and I started speaking Klingon at some of the scenic stops to give the foreigners a dose of even more "foreign" culture.

Other sites to see in Moab are Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse State Park.  In 1997, we took a whole day tour of the white rim in Canyonlands and then took a boat ride back to town on the Colorado River.  We also spent time up at Dead Horse Point.  If you're into mountain biking the Slickrock and Porcupine Rim trails are legendary.

We spent two days in Moab.  It was a good chance to pause having traveled almost 4,000 miles and see some familiar territory.  We re-supplied at the City Market, checked out Main Street, bought a red dirt shirt, had a drink at the Moab Brewery, and ate some great Mexican food at Fiesta Mexicana.

Cav enjoying a Fiesta Salad with a Long Island Iced Tea
We stayed at the Slickrock RV Park just 2 miles north of town. It has full hookups, cable, wifi, laundry, and a pool.  Its a little pricey at $39 per night but all the RV parks in Moab are in this range.  The hookups for AC and the pool were necessary to help us beat the heat.  It was just an ok place as the sites were close, gravel, and dusty.  The National Park campground and state parks were all full.

The summer months are hot in Moab (in the 90's).  Spring or fall are better times for a visit, but I'm glad I got the chance to see it again.

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