NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Christmas Dream

All month long I've been thinking of Moab, Utah more than I've been thinking of Christmas. We visited Moab in the fall of 2009 and all last winter I'd close my eyes and daydream about all that red rock! We were only there a few days as part of our big loop through South Dakota, Wyoming and Utah, but it left a big impression on me. It's the only place I've ever visited that I felt like I only scratched the surface and that there is so much more to experience than I could possibly do in a single "vacation".
North Window

We stayed at Moab Valley RV Resort and really liked their facility. It is a security gated facility with a pool and a huge hot tub, an efficient staff and nice laundry facilities. The spots were close together but not tight or hard to get into. It's located 2 miles north of the center of Moab and 2 miles south of the entrance to Arches National Park and was perfect for all our day trips. We went into Arches a couple of times and really enjoyed hiking to the different formations, and even went back into the park at night to enjoy the incredible view of the stars.

My best memory is of getting up before sunrise and driving the truck by myself out to Arches. There were some clouds as the sun was coming up and I was certain that I wasn't going to get any of that glorious early light, but luck was with me and the clouds broke for a few minutes so that I could snap a couple of shots with the moody sky making the pictures even better.
Tower of Babel
Sheep Rock

We also drove out to Canyonlands National Park and did some exploring of the Island in the Sky District. We stopped at a few different areas and were happy that we had also checked out the visitor's center so that we knew a kangaroo rat when we saw one! Never thought a rat could be so cute!

As we peered into the canyon we noticed some jeeps down there and discovered that you could rent them locally and take them down into the canyon. We decided that was our plan for the following day, but not before taking that final stroll out to Mesa Arch, which I enjoyed photographing while Wayne enjoyed scooting out to the edge and looking down, inspiring other brave souls to join him.
Mesa Arch

When we returned to Canyonlands with our jeep we had quite a hair-rising ride down Shafer Road into the canyon.

It wasn't until we made it to the bottom that Wayne informed me he was certain we'd never make it!

 Once safely down we bumped our way along White Rim Road and enjoyed the scenery. We were in awe of the power of wind, water and uplift evident around us, but soon found the bumpiness tiresome and made our way out to Potash Road, relieved that we wouldn't have to go back up that set of switchbacks!

Potash Road is the site of some of the area's many petroglyphs. We took time to visit the panels there, and were also treated with an opportunity to chat with some rock climbers. The Moab Visitor's Center also recommended we search out the "birthing scene" which is depicted on a boulder and was a little more challenging to find, but well worth the effort. I can't wait to return and find more Native American rock art in the area, especially The Great Gallery in the Horseshoe Canyon Unit of Canyonlands.

So, as I scraped ice off my windshield on this chilly morning the day after Christmas, my thoughts were in Moab, where I hope the locals were treated to a dusting of snow on all that marvelous red rock. I'm hoping that one Christmas we'll be there with them, hiking one of the many trails through the Colorado Plateau. Happy Holidays, Everyone, wherever you happen to be!