I love the colours of Moab. Interestingly, they’re the same colours that enthralled me on PEI last summer but the landscape is entirely different. Unlike the serene fields and seascapes of Canada’s smallest province, here in southeastern Utah we’re surrounded by rugged red canyons and amazing rock formations.
This is high desert country; hot and dry but absolutely gorgeous! Apparently May and October are considered the best months for strenuous activities like hiking but we’re busy farming at that time of year so here we are in the mid summer heat! Clearly, we’re not the only ones though as we’ve seen a plethora of license plates from all across the nation and heard many different languages spoken along the trail.
Morning is the coolest time of day so the alarm clock has been ringing very early most days. By about 8 o’clock on Wednesday, our first morning here, we were at the Devil’s Garden Trailhead deep in Arches National Park ready to begin our longest trek. We hiked about 11 km of moderately strenuous trail that day and saw many amazing arches. The next day, wanting to rest our weary legs but do enough hiking to stretch out tight muscles, we headed into Canyonlands National Park where many of the sights could be seen from viewpoints along the road. Short hikes gave us views of Mesa Arch and Upheaval Dome which is not a dome at all but a 1500 foot deep crater of unknown origin.
Friday morning found us playing 18 holes on the beautiful Moab Golf Course. How they manage to have grass that is greener and lusher than ours back home and greens that are impeccable and lightning fast in the middle of the desert, I do not know! Later in the day, we enjoyed a scenic drive along the Colorado River. It’s easy to see why many movies, especially westerns, as well as advertisements and fashion shoots have been filmed in that area.
By yesterday our legs were ready for some serious hiking again so it was back to Arches National Park for an early morning hike to Delicate Arch, the only part of this entire week that was a repeat performance for us. About 15 years ago, while traveling with our kids, we stopped in passing and did the same hike. On that occasion, we hiked during the midday heat and I wore sandals because I was nursing a broken toe. In spite of that, the 480 foot gain in elevation seemed a little more daunting yesterday. Must be an age factor, I guess!
Today has been more restful. After sleeping a bit later this morning, we attended a local Baptist church then drove around the area looking at some of the numerous examples of prehistoric Indian art carved into sandstone walls. Though it was tempting to reach out touch them, putting my hands where the hands of ancient artists had once been, I didn’t. These are fragile remnants of the past and even the oils of a single handprint can chemically affect the rock surface. We were alarmed to see how much vandalism some of the sites have suffered. What kind of idiot carves his or her name into or takes shots at something like that?
Tomorrow morning we’ll say a reluctant good bye to Moab’s beauty and head eastward through Colorado. We won’t be doing a lot except passing through that state as we’ve seen much of it before but I am looking forward to stopping at one or two of the huge factory outlet malls!