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Published: October 5th 2015
Moab is a crazy place. The last few days will not soon be forgotten. The landscape here is something which has to be experienced. Photos do not do it justice; the scale of everything is hard to grasp and it makes taking photos even harder too. Massive landscapes, towering towers, reaching arches, and everything else here causes massive shadows to fall in weird places which are definitely nice for escaping the heat, but often lead to hordes of people trying to all be at the right place at the right time to get "the" photo. I like taking photos, but I'm not that guy.
In the past few days I've done a dozen hikes ranging from 8 km to 2 km and have seen more natural arches than I can shake a stick at. The most impressive of which was in Arches National Park, but my favourite visit to one was to an arch called Corona. 10 miles out of town down a trail just into the wilderness. No throngs of tourists, no busses at the parking lot, just half a dozen people being able to get close enough to where you can touch it. Coincidentally this is the Arch
which made YouTube fame a few years ago where a large rope swing was constructed through it. Pretty awesome, but a bunch of people killed themselves trying to recreate it, which ultimately caused all roped activities to be banned there.
Fisher Towers was my first and still my favourite hike I did in Moab, it darts around the base of all theses sandstone towers. The tallest of which is 900 feet from the base. This was also the hottest of the days I dealt with, where it was 36 degrees out. Mentioning this heat to a local is a sure fire way to get laughed out though. Summertime Temps often exceed 45 degrees...
Offroading in Utah is so completely different than anything I'm used to back home. If you go up a rough trail at home generally it will have a few obstacles or a couple km of some rough road, but with purpose built offroad routes here it's completely different. There's a scale from 1-10 for difficulty, and then the entire trail will be that hard. The first route I did is called the top of the world, it is rated a 4 which means that a
stock vehicle could make it but there are ledges up to 12" to be climbed and some bugger tires would be helpful. It's a 5 mile in/out trail and it took me nearly 4 hours to complete. It is a full on exhausting drive because every meter of it takes your full concentration. Even more so when driving 2000km home is in the back of my mind and having a broken vehicle is out of the question. I also drove a longer "easier" route called chicken corners which allegedly git it's name from people who were too chicken to sit shotgun while someone drove through this very narrow turn with a cliff on one side. In Arches park one of the arches I wanted to see was a 4 hour round trip hike to get to, but the map mentioned an alternate trail only half a km long was accessible if one possessed a "stout" 4x4 vehicle. I of course assumed this to be me and it turned out to be significantly harder than the other routes I had driven. Half way down this trail I see lightning in the distance and some raindrops falling on my windshield which made
for a cool backdrop to some photos, but rain is bad on this trail. It is recommended to inquire with the visitor center if it has rained recently before attempting it as when it rains a couple areas of the trail wash out and are quite nearly impassable. So when it is raining you are advised to get off as quickly as possible, which is difficult when dealing with 18" ledges, broken loose rock, sand holes, and all the while everything is becoming more slippery. The rain stopped and all the panic was for nothing anyhow...
I'm now just outside of Bryce Canyon National Park which I will visit today before heading to Zion in the morning where a hike I had wanted to do is closed for trail maintenance mid week currently so I'll have to figure out a plan B. Currently it's supposed to rain at both locations for the next 3 days... I'll take it how it goes.
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