Waking up last Sunday in southern Wyoming, we finally accepted the fact that our days were numbered. There were a few ways to route ourselves back to Austin, namely through Utah or Colorado…decisions decisions. After reading through our guidebooks and drooling over the Atlas, we picked Utah (for Arches National Park & Moab) and struck out for a full day of driving. It was tough to trade the mountain weather for the desert…one night we’re shivering under inadequate blankets and the next night we wake up sweating. Cest la vie!
We stumbled upon Hittle Bottom campground after dark and had fun trying to decipher our surroundings from the full moon. My new constellation book also got broken in (spare me the jokes). What a nice surprise to wake up to this!
Welcome back to red rock territory!
We rolled into Arches National Park midday, tried to adjust to the 99-degree weather, took a 5-mile hike, and poked around until sunset. The scenery is spectacular. Essentially, it’s a bunch of wild formations made out of this type of sandstone rock, and all of it sits on top of a really hard-packed salt foundation. This somehow contributes to the formations rising and shifting. A geologic description for the books, don’t you think?
Double O Arch
It rained all around us but not on us…very Truman Show-esque. Storms and evening light make for great photos!
Aside from Arches, there is so much outdoorsy goodness in the city of Moab—rafting, mountain climbing, boating, and of course mountain biking—it’s all so tempting. But we really only had one full day of fun left, and this seemed like the best way to spend it:
Now, when I heard you could go “jeeping,” I assumed we’d be on dirt trails and rolling hills, which we’d seen a lot of from the highway. Negative. Here in Moab, they make goooood use of those big red rocks.
Tracks mark the trail
The Sand Flats area in town is full of marked trails, detailed maps, and good descriptions of what you’re in for. It’s been so impressive to see how different areas of the country embrace their natural habitat and let you play within it—I love it!
We picked a trail called Fins ‘N Things, because it was rated 3.5 on a scale of 1-10...it seemed like a good place to start. It had a mixture of tight curves made of dirt, wide stretches of rocky groundcover, and then of course steep enormous rocks. Three hours and a few heart attacks later, we found out that trail was actually rated on a scale of 1-4. Baptism by fire?!
Brian’s 4-wheel-drive experience in Colorado got put to the test out there, and I have to say, I was completely confident with him in the driver’s seat. Myself, not so much. But we had a BLAST. Granted, some parts were totally terrifying, but the tire tracks in front of you are good reassurance that it’s possible (if you know what you’re doing behind the wheel). And after you realize what the Jeep is capable of, it helps you gain a little confidence. A little.
It really was a fantastic end to our amazing trip. We are already going through some withdrawals on the final push back through Texas, but we think the trip has really solidifed what kind of lifestyle we want to live, in terms of access to the outdoors. Who doesn’t want their kids growing up climbing in trees, skiing down mountains, hiking into canyons, swimming through rivers, jeeping over rocks? (Okay maybe not the last one, but you get my drift).
If they are able to pry the Pleasure Way from our death-grip, then we’ll be making our way to Chicago soon, with cat and camping gear in hand. God willing, we’ll be employed and housed shortly!
We may still throw in another post or two of some things we missed along the way. Either way, thanks so much for reading along…it’s been fun sharing the adventure.