After Canyonlands, we planned a few days to base our activities out of the town of Moab, a perveyor of outdoor magic and bliss. Apart from eating at the Moab Diner every morning and getting gelato every night, we explored a bit. Here are a few things that what we did.
Arches: We hiked the slickrock to Delicate Arch (barefoot) and then Landscape Arch from the Devil’s Kitchen area. Like I said in a previous entry, though beautiful, Arches is a madhouse. Go in February.
C under Delicate Arch
Hole N'The Rock. I both highly recommend and adamantly warn you against this excursion. This day was “M makes all the decisions“ day, which is why our activities were comically strange and anticlimactic.
Hole in the Rock is a 5,000 square foot home that was blasted into the side of a mountain back in the 1960’s. The couple who owned the property ran a diner out of a portion of their home for a time, which eventually became a gift shop. The home itself is dark despite the large windows that were erected on the external edge of the cave, er, house. The husband dabbled in taxidermy, and there is a large mule resting near a window and a mustang in a corner near the bathroom. You are never alone at Hole in the Rock.
Another reason that you’re never alone is that across the parking lot from the home is a private zoo. Nestled near the two story outhouse and “sasquatch sighting” sign were a collection of animals: turkeys, peacocks, pygmy goats, a pig, a couple of American bison, 3 alpacas, a family of deer, two terrifying ostriches, and a bactrian camel named Kramer. We bought a bucket of food that we could feed the animals, which was nice, but the ostriches pounced on the bucket with such terrifying strength that if I had used my hands to hold out the treats, I would have no hands. Really.
Slickrock Trail: C spent an afternoon mountain biking the famous Slickrock trail on the edge of Moab. I declined to go because a) I would weigh him down (there was a very high probability that I would either pass out or crash and C would have to carry my body the 5 miles out - I would literally weigh him down), and b) we’d decided to stay at a hotel for a couple nights, and it had an outdoor pool. From his immediate feedback, I’d say that C loved it and periodically thought he might die, which is our favorite recipe for success.
Jetboat Ride to Remember: For the second real gem of “M Day”, I booked us a dutch oven dinner followed by a jetboat ride up the Colorado River featuring a light show. I work for an outdoor outfitter. I have no excuse for neglecting to ask the right questions. The first would be, “I’m looking for something fun and exciting – is this the right booking for me”, and the second would be, “Can you describe the light show”. This would have avoided a lot of nervous hand-fiddling at dinner and juvenile giggling on the boat ride. C and I arrived at the base and immediately knew that I had made [yet another] mistake. We were surrounded by a sea of white. I have no problem sharing activities with my elders, so I don’t want to come across like an entitled little brute, but I think I expected that our ride might have some element of speed and vigor, and that…. Well, I guess I just expected a more diverse crowd, all around. There were exactly zero families with children. We were one of three, yes three couples that were under 40. Out of 100 or so people. We made friends with two young newlyweds from California that sat across from us at dinner and adjacent to us on the boat ride. The other young couple was on their own somewhere. The food was a real high point of the night – a variety of slow cooked meats, scooped pound by beautiful pound onto your metal plate (didn't they used to use metal plates in prison?). After dinner, we ambled out of the dining hall and made our way to our assigned seats on the jetboat.
This is Dee, our riverboat guide.
The ride itself was nice, but instead of learning about geological formations, we spent our upstream ride looking for the face of Winnie the Pooh in the canyon wall, and our downstream ride listening to a pre-recorded tape of cowboy stories and natural history (with some strong LDS undertones). The “light show” was actually a truck that drove along the river’s edge with a spotlight in its bed. As we floated downstream, a staff person shone it’s beam on one side of the canyon, then the other, but the truck kept plugging up traffic, and C and I had a hard time muffling our laughter when 8 or 9 cars kept coming to a crawling halt behind the truck, getting the same light show we were. My bet is that they also were wishing for something with a little more speed and vigor. Somehow, this still turned out to be a Moab highlight. Or a lowlight, depending on how you look at it.
We did a lot of walking around in Moab, which is really a great little town, though I’m sure it’s becoming more touristy with each passing year. Then one morning, we packed up our gear, threw it all in the Caliber, went to Denny’s, then headed northwest, back to the city, dust flying in our wake.