Moseying round Moab

Published: April 9th 2011
Edit Blog Post

Yesterday morning we pulled the drapes of our luxurious room at the Durango Super 8 motel to the sight of steadily falling rain - the first of our trip so far. We were planning to head to a place called Silverton, which was further into the mountains of Colorado, and set off with hopes that the rain might stop soon. It did stop raining as we gained altitude, but only because the rain drops turned into soft white floaty things - more commonly known as snow. Very pretty at first, but when we realised that it was settling on the road rather than melting away, we decided that the sensible thing to do was to abandon our plan to visit Silverton and turn around to head for our next destination - Canyonlands National Park in Utah.

On the way into the park we stopped to make our lunch at a spot called Newspaper Rock, where we saw amazing rock drawings, apparently thousands of years old.

Canyonlands is divided into three areas, all quite different, and yesterday we headed to the Needles district - a high desert landscape dominated by spectacular sandstone spires. Part of the reason why visitors flock to Moab is the "slickrock" which is great to walk (and, apparently, bike and drive) on, so we decided our first hike should be the "Slickrock Foot Trail", which was a nice one to stretch our legs after our day in the car. It's a lot different (obviously) than tramping at home, but the rock is fun to walk on with the most amazing grip, and the trails are marked by cairns of rock, which you have to follow.

After exploring the Needles for a few hours we headed for Moab, a small but bustling town (outdoor/adventure/mountain-biking mecca - think Ohakune on steroids) where we've set up camp for a few nights.

We were just heading out of town this morning when Craig saw that a driving guide to all the locations where movies have been filmed locally was available from the Visitor's Centre. As you can guess, Craig was desperate to obtain such a guide, and in his subsequent gratitude for me "letting" him stop to get one, Craig decided to stop to buy me a coffee. Now, we're still getting used to the different names for where you might buy such a beverage over here, and Craig decided that today he would try a bakery - or, as I was able to interpret the sign for him once he'd pulled the car up outside - the "Moab BARKery", which, as you've probably guessed, specialises in treats which Hudson might enjoy, but didn't have a lot going for us.

Coffees in hand, we headed for the area of the park called "Islands in the Sky" - so-called because it encompasses a vast area on top of a mesa which rises 2,000 feet above the surrounding area, accessible by a perfectly normal highway on one side, or by a track called the "Shafer Trail" from the other side, which is a lovely mix of slick rock, dust and hair-raising cliff-top switchbacks. Oh, I forgot to mention that we had no intention of taking this road, but while Craig was in the Information Centre the attendant had assured him that the trail wasn't particularly bad and we would have no trouble in our vehicle ... at least that's what Craig told me!

Warning bells did start to ring for me when we passed the spot where the last scenes of the movie "Thelma & Louise" played out (not a happy ending!) when the two heroines drove (albeit deliberately) over the cliff.

Three hours, and many prayers later, we arrived at the top of the mesa - thankfully unscathed - although Craig's first words as soon as he was able to speak were that he was going back to inflict some particularly nasty kind of physical violence on the guy at the Information Centre. Once our nerves were calmed, we had a look around what is really an island in the sky, with amazing views down to the Canyonlands so many feet below.

We finished off the day with coffee back in Moab, and making plans for some hiking tomorrow. (Although Craig's still muttering about going back to the Info Centre and giving the guy some directions of his own.)

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


10th April 2011

A hobbit pilgrimage?
You know how we mock tourists that come to NZ to go to Matamata to find Hobbiton? Weeelllll, tourists who drive around the desert looking for movie scenes are just a little like that... All the same, looked an interesting day with some very cool stuff to see. That track appears from the photograph to be designed for mountain goats not cars so big call taking that on. A white knuckle ride at 15 km per hour...yuk! As usual all good here and nothing to report of any import. Stay well, travel safe... talk again soon.

Tot: 3.054s; Tpl: 0.048s; cc: 25; qc: 101; dbt: 0.0801s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb