Escape to the desert
Taking a trip to Moab during the offseason: I finally know what it’s all about.
We thought we could get out of town immediately after work Friday night, but it didn’t really happen that way. My friend Barbara and I finally decided to start off in our car, but after a stop at Applebee’s in Grand Junction — because when was the last time you had Applebee’s? — all seven of us arrived at the campsite around midnight.
After getting up to watch the sun rise and going back to sleep for a bit, we were getting a late start. The boys were nice enough to pack up camp, but we thought they were taking their good ole time — the first of many debates between the sexes on this trip. We drove into town for a late brunch, one friend dropped the guys off to ride Slickrock, and we ladies hiked to Delicate Arch. This was my first time in Arches National Park — or anywhere near Moab, really — and let me tell you, I was impressed. It’s amazing how different the landscape is just a few hours away from our valley.
Once we got back into cellphone range, we found out the boys had already abandoned course for the Moab Brewery. I ordered the Scorpion Pale Ale there, which went down so nicely after hiking in the hot sun. I’m also glad I stuck with beer; my friend Courtney’s margarita was definitely on the weak side. I’m still not sure how Utah’s liquor laws work.
From there we set out to find a new campsite for the night before dark. One friend had a specific place he wanted to go, and since it’s not on any map, we took a couple of wrong turns before arriving. There was some serious mutiny going on in the backseat, but he stuck to it, and I’m glad — what a cool spot. We were about halfway up the mountainside, looking down across the desert, and not a soul was camping anywhere near us. We saw one other occupied site during our whole stay there, and it turned out to be a nice couple from Glenwood Springs, which we found out because we alerted them to a flat tire on their Jeep as they were on their way out.
The next day we took our time enjoying bacon and eggs over the campstove and hiking and biking around the campsite. We packed up again and rode into town for lunch. This was definitely the one black mark on the trip: There was a cockroach that looked like it had been dead a few days in the bathroom, which was also right next to the kitchen; our waitress disappeared on us, and her substitute dumped a glass of Coke on our friend Pete and ran off without helping clean it up; and we waited so long for someone to take our check that we ended up being in that awful place for more than two hours. By the time we left, it was so late that we had to start heading back to Aspen.
But all in all, it was a great trip to Moab, and it was so exciting to leave the Roaring Fork Valley and discover a new place. Next time, I’d like to have one more full day on the ground, but for the first camping trip of the season, I think this weekend was perfect.
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Operation Smile is making its way back into the Roaring Fork valley through involvement in local schools and a small event this week, according to valley local Jennifer Jones.