Trip Report: Utah Trip Advisor Meet-up in Moab
What a great week we had in Moab for the 2012 Utah TA Meet-up. These events have grown each year since DannyS first sent out his open invitation for the Great Bluff Meet-up in 2010. This year we were based in Moab and had a true team event as many folks pitched-in to set up activities and work the logistics for the trip. Slickrockwalker took the lead on setting up rappelling, a raft trip and a horseback ride, Reddirtdawg led hikes to ruins in the Cedar Mesa area almost every day, powderglut set up a mountain bike ride, Kbec and Noel worked out a 4WD trek around Canyonlands, I arranged the hike through the Fiery Furnace and a lot of gang pitched in for the cookouts. Most days there were multiple activities happening with a different mix of folks at each, so the flavor of the trip reports will vary for each of the Doodleheads. So the following is report gives my perspective on this most excellent week around Moab. While I've included several photos on the page, there are also links to albums with more photos. I have also included links to reviews and hiking maps on EveryTrail.
Day 1 - Wednesday, 10/3/2012 – Travel to Moab.
Early start for us, but that is normal for a trip out west. We were on the road at 6:50 and had absolutely no issues with the trip as we were pulling out of the Enterprise rental car lot in Denver in our Charger at 11:00 AM. Shoot the only minor inconvenience with trip was the crying babies on the plane, but I had my MP3 player and ear-buds so the flight was much more peaceful.
The drive across Colorado on I-70 was beautiful and fairly easy. The only issue with the drive was the other drivers. While the speed limit did vary due to terrain, road conditions and construction, the actual speed fluctuations were much more drastic. One minute we were cruising along at 65 and the next all of the traffic had slowed to 40 for no apparent reason! What’s up with that?!? I guess this continued until we were on the other side of Vail Pass, then the traffic thinned and kept moving along for the most part. But the scenery more than made up for the erratic driving patterns. The landscapes were beautiful all the way across Colorado. The variety was also quite nice, as the terrain gradually changed as we went west. The aspens were starting to shed their autumn wardrobe; I think we were a few days past the peak colors.
We only made a couple of stops as we traversed Colorado, one of which was in Vail. At the end of the exit was one of the most complex traffic circles I had ever come across; I hate to think what the traffic patterns were there before the circle!
Once we were in Utah we left the interstate at Danish Flats so that we could enjoy the scenic route along 128 heading into Moab. We finally took a few photos, the first of the trip, once we got west of Dewey Bridge, but we mostly just kept trucking toward Moab and the meet-up. This is a beautiful drive and the early evening sunlight was perfect on the red rocks. We have arrived. We were at our shared condo about 6:30 and on to the cook-out at the other condo by about 7:00. Let the party begin!
We had a very good turnout for the first big event of the meet-up with 21 folks at the cookout: SJGirl and SJGuy, powderglut and MsPG, RedRox and MsRedPony, Reddirtdawg and slickrockwlaker, cajunking and cajunlady, Noel and Donna, DannyS, lvziggy and MrZig, SussexWorldTraveller and MrSWT, Shewie, mtnwriter, MsHick and me. It was a great time with great food and several varieties of good beers. Powderglut was the grill master, but there was a lot of activity in the kitchen with the ladies making mac & cheese, slaw and other sides. For desert SWT had English candies and cookies, I mean biscuits. We had a wonderful time renewing old friendships and starting new ones. We also enjoyed the clear night sky, as the Milky Way was out in all its glory. But we had an early day coming, so we folded our tents about 10:00 PM.
Day 2 – Thursday, 10/4/2012 – Hike with Rick to Fish Creek ruins.
An early start for our first day as we were going on the hike with Rdd. SJGirl, SJGuy, MsHick and I headed up to the muster point at the other condo (just a couple miles further up the hill past the golf course) at 6:45, but folks were still gathering, so we were not on the road until around 7:30. Not that bad for this herd of cats.
We were on the trail about 10:30 AM. The trail that Rdd wanted to take appeared to be choked with tamarisk and is usually muddy, so we took the longer route along the dirt access road. But even along this route we still had to cross the creek and bushwhack through the tamarisk in places along the trail. But even then, it was a wonderful hike. Rdd really knows the region well.
There were a couple of points where we had to climb/scramble, but we all pitched in and got folks up and down as needed. We visited three sites, each one more impressive than the previous as we hiked into the desert. The first two were granaries and the third the Fish Creek ruin which was fairly large. Lots of pottery shards and a few implements were scattered about each site. The pottery was quite colorful and some of the shards had intricate patterns. We spent most of our time at the main ruin, some of us focusing more on photos and others taking time for lunch. On the return trip we took our group photo at the larger granary. Here is a selection of photos from the hike. I also plotted this hike on EveryTrail.
The return trip was slow going as srw was struggling a bit with the heat and the hike. Rdd opted to cut across country to shorten the distance but the time was probably longer due to having to fight through the tamarisk along the creek. SJGuy had worked his way along the creek, the route that Rdd had originally wanted to take, and found it to be clear and open. He made it back to the trailhead 40 minutes ahead of us. Oh well. But it all worked out in the end and we made it back safely around 2:30 and had a snack at the Jeeps. It was only now that I noticed that the heavy tamarisk had snagged one of my water bottles, but I was not going back to look for it. I just bought a replacement at the Visitor Center in Blanding on the return trip. Our first stop on the return was at the convenience store on the south edge of town for drinks and ice cream…that fudgesicle that Shewie got looked pretty darn good.
I hit the shower when I got back to the condo; oh boy did that feel good after being flogged by the tamerisk!
Dinner was at our condo. Powerderglut was the master chef and he and RedRox ran the food assembly line just like last year in Kanab. We had salmon, beef and lamb, plus a variety of sides. I reckon there were about 25 folks at dinner, so a very good crowd. RedRox presented the walking stick award to srw for all her efforts in arranging the various activities for the meet-up. A great time was had by all!
Day 3 - Friday, 10/5/12 - Arches, Canyonlands and Moab.
So this is sort of an off day for MsHick and me as we are not going on any of the group gigs. The plan for today is to get some sunrise shots in the Windows Section of Arches, then do some shopping in Moab, with a possible side trip to Canyonlands to scope out Mesa Arch so that we are ready for the sunrise shot there on Saturday. We also have happy hour planned, as the folks at the Best Western Canyonlands Inn are hosting the group this evening.
RedRox, MsRedPony and cajunlady, plus the pups opted to also go to Arches for the sunrise photo op at the Windows Section. RedRox volunteered to drive and they picked us up at the condo at 6:15 AM. We arrived at the Windows Section about 7:00, so plenty early for the 7:20 sunrise. The bad news was that there was a tour bus already there and the occupants were all milling about in the North Window, which is where we wanted to be for our sunrise shot. The good news is that we knew that the best light was not until 30 or 40 minutes after sunrise (thanks to TumbleweedandCactus for that tip), so there was a very good chance that the tour bus group would be gone by then.
I was not sure exactly how to get to the vantage point needed to shoot Turret Arch through the North Window, so since we had time, we walked the primitive trail around to the east side of the windows to reconnoiter and enjoy the sunrise. While this was a nice place to watch the sun come up, there was no access to where we needed to be (I mean you could scramble up the hill, but this was marked as a closed area, so we retraced our steps, snapping more interesting sunrise shots along the way).
By the time we got back to the west side of the Windows, Turret Arch was a glow with the morning light; quite lovely. But more importantly, the tourists from the bus had all vacated the North Window, so we had the place to ourselves. We climbed up to the Window and MsHick and I found the trail over to the vantage point for the classic sunrise shot. The trail goes down a bit past the North Window then up the rocks along the wall to the left and works along a ledge to the best spot. Fairly easy actually, with only one tough bit up and over a rock at the end. I made it no problem, and I’m no fan of heights and edges. MsHick stopped just before the last rock, but still got some nice shots. All I can say is it was well worth the effort, as I think we got some great shots and the lighting was perfect. The rest of the gang stayed in the North Window so they got shots of MsHick and I doing the mountain goat gig, and we got photos of them in the Window, which provided excellent perspective. The photos of Turret Arch through the North Window (like the banner at the top of the page) are probably the best landscape shots I got in this trip.
Here are some additional photos from our morning in the Windows Section. After the photo shoot at the Windows Section, we made a stop at each end of Park Avenue to enjoy the morning light. I also ran into the Arches Visitor Center to get the Fiery Furnace hiking permit and met the Ranger who will be leading our hike on Saturday. We then headed back to town for breakfast at the Peace Tree. Turns out that the Best Western where the happy hour will be is right next door. The new deck on the second floor looks like a great place to hang out and could work nicely for our group photo.
After breakfast, RedRox dropped us off at the condo and we reloaded and headed back out to Canyonlands to scope out Mesa Arch. The drive time from our condo (south of town) to the Mesa Arch Trailhead was right at an hour, then about 10 minutes to hike to the Arch. We got some interesting shots of the arch and the valley beyond, but more importantly got a feel for the trip so that we had a clue for getting the sunrise shot of the arch.
After our time in the parks and a little shopping in Moab, we got ready for happy hour at the Best Western Canyonlands Inn. The folks that run the hotel offered to host the happy hour, including beer, wine and appetizers after reading about our plans on Trip Advisor. Our hosts, Cheryl and Zak, are the young couple whose family has owned and operated the property since the 1950s. They put on a very nice event for us. I really enjoyed the time I had chatting with Cheryl and Zak. They are locals and had a lot of great insight on the area and the tourist industry, plus they were just genuinely nice folks.
The happy hour was a smashing success. The deck was the perfect venue, with plenty of space, lots of seating and nice views. Everyone from the meet-up was there except DannyS, but we had a few other TA folks show up. Ken and Sheryl were touring through southern Utah and had read about the meet-up and happy hour, so they stopped in to meet folks like RedRox, Kbecjeans and OhioHick who had provided them with advice during their trip planning. I think we have groupies! The folks on the off-road adventure were the last to make the scene. We made this the official group photo for the trip. A great time was had by all!
To close out the evening, we headed to dinner at Buck’s Grill. About 25 in attendance (Danny made it; Noel and Donna had to bail). We had a nice seating arrangement in the outdoor area, sort of by ourselves, but still with access to the live music. Service was great but the menu was not what I was expecting. I had steakhouse in my head, but it was more eclectic than that. No big deal since I had eaten well at the happy hour, so I just split a quesadilla with Kbec and called it a night. But the point was not the food, but rather having the opportunity to visit with friends old and new. SWT and MrSWT were sitting at the same table and MsHick and me, so I had a nice chat with them both. What great folks and they just jumped right in with the rest of the herd like that had been part of the gang from the start. Definitely keepers!
Day 4 – Saturday, 10/6/12 – Mesa Arch, Fiery Furnace and Delicate Arch
Plan for this morning is sunrise at Mesa Arch, then chilling the rest of the morning (a nap would be appropriate). This afternoon is the big Fiery Furnace hike following by a possible sojourn to Delicate Arch. Pizza party at Noel ‘s and Donna’s for dinner.
Up really early (0415) for the drive up to Mesa Arch. Just RedRox, MsHick and me. I drove this time and picked RR up at 5:00 AM and after a quick coffee stop for MsHick it was on to Canyonlands. We saw a Coyote, a pack rack and a mule deer crossing the road on the way into the park (sounds like the start of a bizarre joke….). We arrived at the trailhead at 6:00 AM and there were already seven cars in the lot. More than I expected, but not too bad. The bigger concern was the clouds; would we get a good sunrise?
We made the short hike to the arch where there were 8 photographers set up. I reckon these folks had been here for at least 30 minutes as they were all set up and casually chatting. We milled about a bit and chatted with the folks who were already there, many of who seemed to be professional photogs. One of the guys was a guide and provided some guidance as to where to set up. Since the prime spots to the left center of the arch were taken, he suggested that I set up to the right and as low as possible and shoot down the length of the arch. So I set up to the right of the last photographer and MsHick was to my right; RedRox sort of set up in an open spot in the middle sort of where I had started. Now that we were set up and had the cameras adjusted we just waited for the show to start. Unfortunately we did not get the show we hoped for…
About 6:30 I heard more folks coming down the trail and turned to see who was coming. What I saw was a little surreal. The best description I can provide is of infantry charging the lines in a Civil War battle. There were half a dozen or so people with tripods slung over their shoulders, just like muskets with bayonets, running directly into the center of the line of photographers. Where these new comers expected to set up was beyond me, as the center of the line was already rather tightly packed with the original set of photographers. Shortly after that probably another dozen or so folks joined the fray. Turns out that this was a group of Asian tourists, we believe Chinese, and were they ever rude. They tried every way they could to wedge their way into the prime spots, places that had been claimed for over an hour. They tried to get out in front of the cameras that were already in place, climbing out in the narrow ledge risking life and limb, not just from the potential fall but more likely from the irate photographers whose shots were being ruined. The photogs who had been set up since at least 0530 kept asking the Chinese tourists to stay out of the way, but they kept on trying to horn in. The lady who I set up near was surrounded by three of the tourists, and there were crawling all around her trying to get in front of her. She was trying politely trying to keep the tourists at bay, but they refused to acknowledge her. Perhaps they did not speak English, but if they did, they were just ignoring her. She was ultimately successful in getting the tourists out of her shot, as were the rest of the folks who put in the time to get the prime shots, but I think that we were close to fisticuffs.
The final straw was that while we had an over abundance of rude tourists, there was a significant lack of sunlight. In fact, the pros started to pull out just after 7:00, well before sunrise, as they could tell that the colors and the glow under Mesa Arch were not going to show this morning due to the overcast. Still we got some decent shots and an interesting story. We waited until nearly sunrise, then headed back. Once back at the trailhead, we saw the source of our tourist problem, a Ming Tours bus. Oh well. Here are the rest of the photos from our time at Mesa Arch (yesterday and today).
Before dropping RedRox off at his condo, he showed us the Moab man panel, which was located just up the road past the condo. Interesting panel, but the petroglyphs were a bit faded.
We spent the rest of the morning at our condo visiting with SJGs and the pgs. We left for the Fiery Furnace hike in Arches about 12:30, arriving at the trailhead about 1:15, so we had plenty of time to chat with folks as we slowly gathered for the event. I talked with an older, eastern European couple who were interested in the Fiery Furnace hike; the lady asked if I was a Ranger, since I looked so “sturdy.” I’ll take that as a compliment.
We had 20 Doodleheads on the hike; no one but us and our guide. Our guide, Ranger Mike Matthes, showed up on cue and took over as head cat herder for the next 3 hours.
This was a great hike and lot of fun for the whole gang. Since our group was the only ones on the hike, we really had a great time both poking fun and supporting each other along the trail through the fins that make up the Fiery Furnace. Ranger Mike was an outstanding guide and provided a great balance between on the educational aspects, safety and keeping the pace along the trail.
We had a slight delay at the beginning of the hike, as there was a small rattle snake along the trail. But then we were off and, well, no running in the Fiery Furnace, but plenty of hiking, crawling, scrambling, climbing, scooting, jumping….you get the idea. Everyone made it through with no major problems. However, Oscar did win the hero of the day award to keeping Max from stumbling off a cliff. That could have been a really bad scene, but all’s well that ends well, I reckon.
Ranger Mike was an excellent guide and obviously had a deep connection and respect for Arches. So much so in fact that I wrote a letter of commendation for Mike to the Park Superintendent.
Here's the link to additional photos from our adventures in the Fiery Furnace. I also took some video of the Doodleheads negotiating some of the hazards along the hike; check them out! Our route through the Fiery Furnace was also plotted on EveryTrial and of course I wrote a review of the hike.
Our little delay with the snake and the fact that we were taking our time along the trail meant that we were a little behind schedule leaving the Fiery Furnace. We were back at the trailhead about 5:20 and took a little break to discuss options. Eight of us finally decided to hit the trail to Delicate Arch to see the sunset view, while the rest of the group headed back to Moab to get ready for dinner. So we loaded back into the trucks and headed to the next trailhead.
We got lucky with parking at Delicate Arch, and were soon on the trail. For this hike it was MsPG and powderglut, SJGirl and SJGuy, Kbecjeans, Pixie and MsHick and me. The PGs and I got ahead of the rest of the group; MsPG set a fast pace and it felt good to get a stretch of the legs. However, once we hit the end of the slickrock, the trail was not well marked and we turned right instead of going straight along the normal trail and ended up coming into Delicate Arch from across the bowl; we must have missed a cairn somewhere. Interesting view, but we had to work around the bowl and eventually met back up with the main trial, just as the rest of the herd showed up. So we all arrived at Delicate Arch at the same time (more or less).
Great color on the arch this evening. We all enjoyed the show for a while, then started back down the trail just before sunset to that we would still have some light. Great walk back down the slickrock as the beautiful sunset was right in front of us the whole way. Here are additional photos of the trek to and from Delicate Arch as well as a review of the hike. I also mapped this hike on EveryTrail.
We headed straight to dinner from Arches. Pizza at Noel’s and Donna’s. Big crowd and a good time.
Day 5 – Sunday, 10/7/12 – White Water Rafting!
Today we will get wet. And it is a bit chilly. But the skies are clear and blue, so it ain’t about rain. Nope, today we will be rafting down the Colorado River from West Water to Cisco with Sherri Griffith River Expeditions. srw gets all the credit for pulling this activity together, and she did a great job.
There are 15 intrepid Doodleheads on the trip today. We all congregated at the outfitters place at 7:00 (well, most of us, Pixie was running behind schedule, but srw got her straightened out!) and were on the road about 7:30. Sort of an uninteresting ride to the river at the West Water Ranger station. But that all changed once we got on the water.
We had three boats, one paddle boat and two oar boats. What’s the difference? In the paddle boat, there are no passengers, everyone is working to drive and guide the raft. In the oar boats, the guide is doing all the work and the passengers are, well, passengers, and just sit back and enjoy the ride. The paddle boat held eight plus the guide while the oar boats had a guide and 3 or 4 passengers. The paddle boat crew was Pixie, Shewis, SJGuy, MR SWT, RedRox, powerglut, MsPG and everybody’s favorite hillbilly, OhioHick! Our Captain was Annie, although she said she was the Dictator, since she was the dick and we were the ‘tators. The oar boats had cajunking, cajunlady and srw with Izzy and Kbec, Danny, SWT and SJGirl with Sam. I reckon we were on the water about 10:00, once we were fitted with life jackets, each with our boat names (I was “Stingray” and there was a “Saturn”, “Pluto” and “Driveshaft” to name a few…I think Shewie was “Piston Ring”).
This is really like three trips in one. The first part is on smooth water with a few small riffles. This is where we learned how to paddle as a team and got the commands that we would use later in the day. We also enjoyed the scenery and looked for wildlife (we saw one Bald Eagle) plus Annie gave us some of the history of the area. In addition, we had a breakfast of fruit and cake served while on the water…how cool is that!
After the smooth water float, we hit the river bank for lunch. Again, all the details were covered by the crew, who set up a nice little sandwich line for us. Very fresh and nice variety of sammich fixin’s. If you left hungry, it was your own fault. That Annie was great at spotting wildlife; she was constantly calling “Hey, look over there! A Big Horn Sheep!”
After lunch, we got ready for the second phase of the trip, the rapids! There were splash suits for everyone. These really to not keep you dry, but they do certainly help you to dry out faster. We also received the rest of our safety briefing on how to handle the rapids and what to do in case you are tossed from the raft or the raft is flipped. Potential for serious consequences, but the guides are there to ensure the safety of the trip, and in this regard they are very good and highly professional. Once briefed and geared-up, it was back to the river for some excitement.
There are 11 rapids along this section of the river; all are Class III except for one Class IV. When we made the trip, the river was running at 2100 cfs, so not real high, but still made for an exciting run. For a couple of the rapids, Annie went through the plan of attack for what we would have to do as we paddled through, but in most cases she just had us dive right in. It was GREAT! Needless to say, we got soaked, and the Colorado was more than a bit chilly! But it was an outstanding ride through the white water. Those of us in the paddle boat were working hard through this section of the river, which I think made the experience even better. No one came out of our raft.
After the rapids, the three rafts were lashed together in a V-formation with two boats in front and the third behind with an outboard motor now attached and we motored our way the final distance along a smooth water stretch to the take-out point near Cisco. Again we got to enjoy the wonderful scenery along the river, as well as a few beers that we had brought along for the trip. The skies were blue, the sun was out and we dried off quickly after we peeled off the splash suits. It was a great day on the river. The ride back to Moab was pretty nice as well, since we spotted a couple of Golden Eagles and a Pronghorn, then cruised down scenic route 128. It was time for Advil once we got back; my shoulders were killin' me! While fun, the paddle boat was hard work! Here are some more photos from the day on the river.
Dinner tonight was at the Moab Brewery (thanks again to DannyS for making the dining reservations). This was the last big event for the meet-up, as a few folks were leaving on Monday. But at least we finally got to meet MrKbec, since he had to come and collect his wife…something to do with breaking the truck during the 4WD adventure on Friday. Hey that truck was trying to strangle me on the drive to Toroweap last year so I hope the seat gets fixed as well! There were at least 2 dozen cats in the herd tonight. Good food, a nice variety of beer and a lot of great friends; it doesn’t get better that this!
Day 6 - Monday 10/8 – Devil’s Garden.
We opted out of the hike with Rdd; it was just too much time in on the road (about 6 hours round trip). SJGirl, powderglut and MsPG also bailed, but SJGuy went on the hike. We spent a relaxed morning at the condo then headed out to the parks. The plan was to start at Arches then head over to Canyonlands for False Kiva.
Our first stop was at the Moab visitor center and who did we run into but DannyS. He was just looking for more ideas for hiking options in the area. I was looking for a hat, but struck out. Then it was off to Arches.
We stopped to get a shot or two of the Organ and Courthouse Towers, but the lighting was not that great (but I’m using a digital camera, so I took the shot anyway and we’ll see what I can do with Photoshop). Then MsHick suggested heading to the Devil’s Garden for a hike; sounded like a winner so off we went. We reached the very crowded parking area about 10:30 and headed for the trailhead.
The skies were still a bit overcast at the start of the hike, but it cleared up as the day progressed and ended up with my favorite palate: red rocks, a splash of green from the shrubs, bright blue sky and some high, white cirrus clouds. Hard to beat. But it was a completely comfortable day for hiking, particularly through the fins where their shadows provided cool breaks and there always seemed to be a breeze.
The lighting was not great at Landscape Arch, but I got an interesting view of the remains of Wall Arch. As we were exploring the spur trail to Navajo Arch who do we see but powderglut and MsPG. We chatted for a bit at the arch then decided to continue on down the trail to Double O Arch and ultimately completed the loop around the primitive trail.
The highlights of the hike were Double O Arch and the fins along the primitive trail. Powderglut, MsPG and I crawled through Double O and got some good shots from the back side. This was a similar maneuver to the sunrise shot at the North Window, but this climb was shorter, but I think a little tougher due to the sand on the slick rock, making for a very slick route. We came back along a different traverse which cut out the sandy slickrock but did require some negotiation of a small crevice. Powderglut went low, MsPG went high, and I got stuck in the middle; I needed a little tug from pg to get to the other side.
Overall this is just a fun hike through the fins with some very interesting views. Many of fins reminded me of ocean liners or rows of old streamlined locomotives. Total time was 5 hours and we were back at the trailhead about 2:30. We took plenty of photos from the Devil's Garden. Here's our route and more details of the story on EveryTrail and in the review.
The ride out of Arches was spectacular; the lighting was very dramatic on the fins near Sand Dune Arch and all along the road through the park. PG commented on this as well when as met back at the condo. MsHick and I decided it was too late to get to Canyonlands without rushing and since this was the last day we decided to head back to Moab so that she could pick up some earrings that she liked, then back to the condo for a shower and then a beer with the rest of the gang. We did make a short stop at Arches Visitor Center as I wanted to get contact info to provide feedback on Ranger Mike and the Fiery Furnace. As it happened, Ranger Mike was at the desk, so I got to chat with him a bit and gave him my very positive feedback on the hike and on how he made the Fiery Furnace experience even better.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the condo having a quiet little happy hour with the rest of our bunkmates. The ladies whipped up some chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, and guacamole. powderglut and I sat on the patio and enjoyed a few beers while the girls were inside with their wine. Good beer on this trip; several good pale pales and IPAs. Hop-Notch and Hop Rising were at the top of the list. SJGuy returned from the hike with Rdd and said it was amazing. A bit of a drive to the trailhead and a tough hike, but the ruins at the Citadel were awesome. Reddirtdawg always comes through with a great hike and fascinating ruins.
Dinner at Fiesta Mexicana with about 15 Doodleheads; good time but just OK restaurant. Rdd’s hiking plans for Tuesday were canceled, so everyone is on their own for the day. Danny announced the starting plans for next year. He talked with many folks at the meet-up and it seems that Escalante (or somewhere in that area) is the target for 2013. Dates are TBD; perhaps a Doodle poll for that.
We all said our farewells, some tearful, as most everyone is leaving Moab tomorrow. Only SWT, MrSWT and Shewie are staying for one more day.
One final beer at the condo, then I crashed about 10:30.
Day 7 - Tuesday, 10/11 – Canyonlands then a long drive.
Cleaning and packing, then we’ll make one last drive through Canyonlands before heading to Denver.
Breakfast with the condo gang. powderglut made huevos rancheros using leftovers from the week and beans from Fiesta Mexicana. An excellent final meal in Moab. PG is quite the grill master. The condo was a great find and a perfect place for the gang to hang up during the week. Hats off to SJGirl for taking care of the lodging details.
We spent the morning packing and putting the house in order, not that it was that far out of order. I reckon we were on the road about 9:00. We made one stop in Moab at Gearheads where I finally found a replacement hiking hat. After a quick stop at the Arches gift shop we headed on to Canyonlands with stops at the Visitor Center, a short like to the Upheaval Dome viewpoint and finally at the Green River overlook. A nice last vision for the time in Moab. But still there is a lot to see and do in the park. Just another reason to return to Moab.
It was noon when we got in the car and headed out of the park. We made a quick stop at the Shell station back on 191 for snacks. I picked a fudgesicle since the one Shewie had in Blanding last Thursday looked so good and I had not had one in ages. Not a bad choice.
We had an easy drive across I-70 to Denver. The scenery was wonderful all along the route, and varied for the entire drive. I think the eastward drive provided prettier views from the highway. Most of the aspens were nude by this point of the season. The weather was beautiful until we reached the Continental Divide, when we ran into clouds and the temperature dropped significantly. We arrived at the Hyatt Place near DIA at 6:15, checked-in and unloaded for the night. Great room! Full kitchen and plenty of space. We checked out the happy hour in the hotel, but it did not look too appetizing, so we headed out for dinner, picking Ruby Tuesdays (just not a lot to pick from in the immediate area). But it was nice to sit and have a relaxing meal after the long drive....time to reflect on the meet-up in Moab.
Day 8 - Wednesday 10/10/12 – Heading home....and closing thoughts....
On the road to the airport at 8:00. Less than 2 gallons of gas in the Charger, so we got our monies worth on that deal. Security at DIA was slow, so we arrived at our gate just a few minutes prior to boarding, which really works out well. We landed at Hopkins on schedule at 2:50 and were back at the house by 4:00. Time to start downloading photos and reliving the great time in Moab. Speaking of photos, this gallery has all the photos collected in one spot.
What a great week in Moab. The weather, the scenery, the hikes, the river but most importantly the people made this a meet-up of grand proportions. It was great to see old friends and to meet new friends and we remembered our friends who could not make the trip this year...Tet13 and Tet14, wings1980 and MrWings, dez40, K-Bot, Dawgg and BritCowboy…but there is always next year and hopefully we will all gather again and share a hike and a beer and the company of the special herd of cats.