On the Trail: Upward Moab-ility | AspenTimes.com

On the Trail: Upward Moab-ility

Charles Agar
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

MOAB, Utah ” Spring trips to Moab, Utah, for me are a ritual of gnarly mountain biking, cheap diner grub and reducing my personal hygiene habits to a handy-wipe shower at a campsite.

It’s all about escaping the Aspen winter for the desert heat and reducing life to the basics.

But this year’s Moab visit changed my whole perspective.

My buddy Mike and I met up with his friends from Basalt and Carbondale.

On Saturday morning, we followed two from the group on an incredible ride up Hurrah Pass, down to a deep valley called Jackson Hole and around a sandstone monolith.

The trail ended at a 500-foot vertical portage, and we carried our bikes up a rocky switchback trail before a great singletrack ride back to our cars ” 20-plus miles altogether.

I punctuated the day’s adventure with an over-the-handlebars flip that one witness dubbed “spectacular.”

Then we convened at our new friend’s groovy digs for drinks on the patio.

It was good to be among folks who’ve gone and made lives for themselves ” the kind of lives that earn you vacation homes and cool hybrid vehicles ” and our hosts were generous to offer use of their shower.

It was the first time fresh water has ever touched my skin in my many trips to the deserts of Utah.

Refreshed, we sat down to a tasty home-cooked meal and good chat.

Despite an invitation to stay over, my friend and I slouched back to our grungy riverside campground ” one of the many that park officials recently burned and cleared of the non-native weeds. (The effect is like sleeping in a charred, World War I battlefield.)

And as I lay in my Spartan single-man tent, smelling burned greenery and hearing my friend shuffle in an adjacent tent, some long-held ideals dropped away in an instant.

A belief in the dignity of hard living and traveling on the cheap evaporated for visions of cathedral ceilings, shag carpet, running water and clean sheets.

There may be no turning back.


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