The Red Rocks of Moab
Utah’s south-west has been on the ‘to-do’ list for a while. Even watching the film ‘127 Hours’ didn’t put me off (though it did inspire me to bring my sharp Leatherman with me). It’s a mountain biking / rock climbing paradise, and for those of us less inclined to risky activities that may result in losing a limb, it’s a place to observe (with considerable awe) the effects of water and wind on the earth. Geo’s would get a dry tongue here!
We headed north-east from Farmington, aiming first for Canyonlands. We knew we must be close to the good stuff when we saw a Prius parked on the side of the road and someone (who could only be the owner of the car) above it climbing a vertical face solo at incredible speed. Fortunately, you can see most of the good stuff from your car, so we made a quick American-style tour of the place.
It was impressive, but we were on a mission to see bigger and better things – specifically Arches National Park.
We got to Arches around 7:30pm – at this time of year, there’s sun till around 9pm – and joined the convoy of avid photographers invading the area. There are so many breathtaking sights, it’s hard to know where to stop! We followed the crowds and ended up at the North and South Windows. The setting sun makes the rocks glow, and with the clear blue sky in the background it’s easy to see why the area attracts so many visitors, and of course obligatory plane roosts that shadow the US.
We decided we’d like to see the iconic Delicate Arch, one of the many arches that requires some walking. We got there just in time to appreciate its sheer size (45 feet high, 33 feet wide) before darkness descended. But the excitement didn’t stop there – Adam, armed with his new camera, got the chance to take some pretty impressive night shots at Balancing Rock on our way back to the local brewery.
It’s practically illegal to visit Moab and not mountain bike, so on Sunday morning we headed to a park that promised ‘family grade’ tracks (for me) as well as some more exciting stuff across the slick rock (for Adam). We assembled our bikes – Adam’s decent one and my $200 Walmart one – and hit the dirt. It was pretty good fun, though I can’t pretend I have any skill or stamina and it was hot, over 30C/90F by the time we took off. Not that I’m making excuses, but… my weighty vehicle certainly doesn’t make it easy either. Next time, we’ll hire the $5K bikes everyone else seemed to have.
After a hearty lunch and some delicious gelato, we headed back to Farmington, or so I thought. Adam, ever the keen explorer, decided he’d take another route home. Little did I know we’d be going the much, much longer way. I was drowsy enough that I failed to notice we were heading north instead of south-east until we were nearly at Telluride in Colorado! In a fury, I made him pull over to turn around. Just as I was working my way into a real rage about how late we were going to be and why the hell didn’t he hurry up, he took my by complete surprise by presenting me with a beautiful ring and asking me to marry him(!) Of course, I said yes, and the rest is history. I’m sure we’ll enjoy telling the story to to our children one day 🙂