|Moab is RED!|
That evening we enjoy a cowboy dinner before embarking on the Canyonlands by Night Light Show on the Colorado River. The light show is a little corny, with a canned recording about the history of the area, but visually it is spectacular.
Moab is also known for extreme mountain biking and fat tire bikes almost outnumber cars on the city streets. It is also great for foraging with two full service supermarkets offering great selections of organic produce, bakery goods and meats. We stock up.
We also sample some of the local color and flavors with a tasty lunch at La Hacienda. The ambiance is colorful and energetic. The Crab Lupe is fresh and flavorful and the Beef Tostada followed suit. Their salsa is spicy and bursting with flavor and a couple of Nega Modellos finishes off the meal.
At Woody’s Tavern we discover Cutthroat Ale and Polygamy Porter, two outstanding local beers. Woody’s is classified as a dive bar, but midweek with the late afternoon sun shining through the expansive windows, it looked more like a family restaurant decorated to look like a dive bar. The only staff is one overworked bartender/cook. She’s pleasant, but not overly friendly as she serves us up some tasty hot wings and some not so special nachos. We don’t doubt that this place comes alive well after the sun sets.
While exploring the town we stop at the Moab Grill and enjoy a huge plate of nachos, (to make up for the dismal ones at Woody’s.) These go well with a draft of Cutthroat Ale and a house chardonnay. This restaurant is light and airy and the service outstanding.
One experience that is not to be missed is hiking in the Fiery Furnace. Because of the impact on the environment, the park only allows 75 hikers into this area daily. There are 2 ranger lead hikes of 25 participants and these are booked up for a month in advance. We joined a group from The Moab Adventure Center. Another early morning – as we have to meet in Moab at 7:00 AM – argh! But we are rewarded! There are only ten in our group plus our guide Molly. Molly takes us to areas not included in the ranger hikes and because of the small size of our group we are able to explore the area in greater depth. She teaches us some basic canyoneering skills and we scrambled between fins and through holes in the rocks. (And surprisingly, when viewed from behind climbing through those holes does not make your ass look fat LOL.)
We drive out Potash Road, stopping to view petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks and continue on to just below Dead Horse Point, to view from the bottom looking up to where the final scene for the film Thelma and Louise was filmed. The canyons are steep rugged and amazing! Continuing towards Canyonlands National Park we drive up Shafer Canyon Road a steep rocky switchback cliff hugging 4WD experience. It literally takes our breath away!
|Windows by Night|
|Windows by Day|
We return a few days later and hike around the back of the windows via the primitive trail. The moon is rising later and hiking this by starlight (with headlamps) is a fun challenge. The temperature is much lower than a few days ago, and we are bundled up, but lying on the slick-rock, watching the night sky surrounded by silence is an experience we will never forget. We are now hooked on learning more about night photography.
The next days are spent hiking and photographing arches. The hike through The Devil’s Garden passes five large arches. Landscape arch is delicate spanning over two hundred feet. Partition Arch, is a window to a wide view of the mesas and outlying mountains. Navajo Arch is an entry into a secluded box canyon and Private Arch leads to a tingly hike on top of a fin with breathtaking views. This is an exhilarating hike up rocky slopes, across slick-rock fins, through slot canyons and sandy washes; we sleep very soundly that night.
We originally plan to head to Escalante for more slot canyon hiking, but after seeing ruins from our aerial tour and the petroglyphs in the canyons, we are fascinated by the ancient cultures of this area. Since we have no firm plans or reservations we will head south towards Hovenweep and Chaco Canyon. So off we go in search of ruins…