Utah Rocks II

Moab, Utah is not shy about its claim as the adventure destination. Set in Utah’s red rock desert with two national parks on its doorstep and the Colorado River snaking past, the resort town offers a head-spinning playbook of outdoor activities.

This past October, Greg and I rendezvoused there with family and friends to kick up some desert fun. Sharing travel adventures with others creates a special bond. You learn a little more about yourself and your companions. You play like kids, laugh together and relax in good company. Pesky travel mishaps even turn into funny stories, often embellished with each telling.

“Don’t look down,” I cautioned from a rock ledge, two football fields long, high above the valley floor. Hugging the wall, seven of us followed our boots up to Delicate Arch, the most famous of Arches National Park’s 2000-plus natural sandstone arches.

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The 3-mile round trip trail up to Delicate Arch is worth the effort.

A party-like mood filled the air. People happily handed their cameras to strangers and lined up to pose for photos under the arch. Although the arch can be viewed from a distance at two lower viewpoints, the close-up extravaganza was worth the 3-mile roundtrip hike.

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Delicate Arch in Arches National Park towers over visitors.
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Our family and friends enjoy Delicate Arch from balcony seats in its natural rock amphitheater.

Not yet ready to retire our boots, we tromped through sand, climbed rocks, and traversed narrow fins to Double O Arch, a 4-mile roundtrip trek.

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Back at camp, we toasted the sunset and recounted the day’s escapades.

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In the morning’s stillness, I sipped steaming coffee while my cohorts gathered around their UTV’s (Utility Terrain Vehicles). Passionate off-roaders, they chose Archview RV Resort for its easy trail access.

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Motors revved and seats filled, but one remained empty. Greg happily accepted our friend’s invitation to join the Gemini Bridges expedition. Rated as a scenic, moderate route, the team managed to find some challenging rock crawling on an adjoining trail marked with a sign reading: “Caution. Very difficult. Great place to change your plan!”

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I’m not sure if the evening’s storytelling mixed up bits of truth and tale, but the camaraderie was genuine.

Another day, as the UTV gang motored away, Greg and I climbed into our mighty Honda CRV for our own four-wheeling adventure.  “Let’s take the back road in”, my adventure-seeking husband suggested. Which is how we found ourselves bumping along a 32-mile dirt road, rated for high clearance vehicles, somewhere between Canyonlands National Park and Potash Road/Scenic Byway U-279. For miles, ours was the lone car on the road winding through fiery red rock walls, monoliths and towering buttes.  Pausing on an overlook, we watched the Colorado River ribbon around the renowned gooseneck bend. A not-to-be-missed view, this site can also be enjoyed from the ridge above in Dead Horse Point State Park.

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The Colorado River’s gooseneck bend photographed from Dead Horse Point State Park shows the back road into Canyonlands.

A weatherworn sign marked the park’s boundary and access to sites hidden from Canyonlands’ paved roads.

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Canyonlands National Park offers miles of off-road trails. (ATV’s and UTV’s are not allowed in the park).

Not ready to abandon the dirt for pavement, we explored Musselman Arch before zig-zagging out of the canyon up the infamous Shafer Trail switchbacks with sheer drop-offs.

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Greg and I standing on Musselman Arch.

Too few sunsets later, we stowed lawn chairs, unplugged utilities and watched our family and friends tuck UTV’s into toy-haulers. They headed west. We headed south, richer for our shared adventures.

8 Comments on “Utah Rocks II

  1. Being the lone car for miles on U-279 seems like the perfect beginning to an adventure/mystery. Let’s see if you can come up with a short story about Delicate Arch and a long lonely road.

    Continue to love your travel stories. Keep them coming. Love you guys. Larry

    Like

  2. I’m at a loss for words, your pictures are out of this world and the commentary always draws you in! Guess I did find SOME words!!! Penny

    Like

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