Weekend warriors | AspenTimes.com

Weekend warriors

Last Friday, a group of locals retreated to the Utah desert to “rough it” for a few days.

With mountain bikes strapped to roof racks, climbing gear stowed in trunks, and sleeping bags, stoves and other camping accessories packed in duffels, they set off for the Canyonlands around Moab.

Kiffor Berg and Anders Gustafson organized the weekend excursion, inviting friends along.

The first task was finding the ideal site for the car-camping outing.

“We’ve spent a lot of time around Moab over the past few years so we decided to take the initiative and scout the best site,” said Berg.

The pair initially intended to camp around the Slickrock trail, but soon discovered all the “clusters” where they usually stake their claim were already occupied by other visitors.

In search of another arrangement, they headed to a Bureau of Land Management kiosk where they were informed that no spots were available in the area.

“We weren’t sure where to go next, but we fortunately ran into a ranger who offered us some insight,” Berg continued.

“It was especially fortunate that Kiffor had his shirt off when we ran into her, and she decided to help us out,” Gustafson added.

The ranger directed them to a wilderness study area on U.S. Forest Service land where a slew of sites were not yet claimed for the night. Once determining the premier spot, they established camp and called their friends, who were en route to meet them with lengthy directions to the campsite.

Surrounded by red rock, a natural arch, towering spires and views of the La Sal mountain range in the distance, the isolated and scenic setting would serve as prime real estate for the weekend. Located around 6,500 feet in elevation with an established fire ring and plenty of level ground for tents, the boys had scored.

“This is pretty far out there,” noted Shannon Jones when she pulled up to the other trucks parked near the site. “I’m glad I had my 4WD to get here.”

“Where are we?” asked Kiffor’s sister Jesse Berg after she and two other friends arrived at the campfire around midnight on Friday.

“Pretty sweet, isn’t it?” Kiffor replied.

By day, the members of the group went in different directions either to ride Porcupine Rim, rock climb in the La Sals, sunbathe near Mill Creek or to hike to rock formations. In the evening, they congregated by the campfire to play hacky-sack and drinking games, throw a Frisbee and talk smack.

“There’s nothing like having a PBR [Pabst Blue Ribbon] with friends in the desert,” stated Joe Jazinski.

On Sunday afternoon, the crew cleaned up their camp, packed out any sign of their presence, and returned to the real world of life in Aspen.

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