My spring birthday vacation has come and gone. April 15-17 in Moab; what a blessed place. I had planned on biking, hiking, whitewater, and golf and managed to get all of those in during the 3 day trip. Since I was carrying a lot of gear, and I hate moving anything I don’t want stolen from the back up to the cab whenever I have to leave my truck anywhere I decided to actually stay someplace in Moab this time around instead of just camping. I tried to get a cabin since they’re cheap, but I couldn’t find any vacancies since it was late notice by the time I thought of that. The only place I did find vacancies was at the Days Inn. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the Moab Days Inn again. It was terrible. I hardly got any sleep the first night because of all the noise coming in from the hall and from the building. My room even came complete with rubber sheets! For the love, everything was so bad that I almost went out to sleep in my truck. I made it through that night, and made sure I bought ear plugs for the second one. Never again.
Okay, so let’s get down to the real vacation: I got down to Moab around 10:30 am on Thursday, got checked in, and got ready for some mountain biking. I bought a Nalgene hydration pack for this trip. My Camelbak has been well used over 7 years, and it was about time for it to be retired. The Nalgene packs are sweet. You can disconnect the hose from the water bladder and the bladder doesn’t leak (the hose does though). It comes with it’s own insulation bag to keep things cool, and I like the bite valve that comes with it. The bite valve won’t even leak if you put stuff on it, unless it can get it just right, but that’s not likely to happen. The thing is even a lot cheaper than a Camelbak of similar carrying capacity. It even has a mesh pocket in the middle of the pack that I can stick my GPS in when I just want it to track where I go. I love the thing. Anyway, I went down to one of the bike shops to rent a bike. I didn’t want to bring mine down and worry about hauling it around when I could get one and ride it hard for $30. So my dual suspension rental and I were off to the Slickrock Bike Trail. I really didn’t have anything to eat for breakfast, except for a couple Krispy Kremes when I was on my way out of town earlier that morning, and I didn’t want to stop and get something to eat right before I hit a trail, so I did the foolish thing and hit the trail around noon. My Nalgene was filled with 2.5 liters of Gatorade, I’d be fine, right? Well the trail kicked my butt. 1.5 miles in I thought of just turning around since my legs were burning out halfway up all the hills, but I kept going. After 2.5 miles I seriously thought of turning around, but I still had 4 hours left on the rental bike (started w/ 5). I wasn’t going to turn around when I came all the way down there to do the trail, so I chilled in the shade for 15 minutes and got going again. After I was warmed up enough things weren’t that bad, just a mild nauseous feeling from eating an energy bar and Gatorade on an empty stomach 😛 I managed to make it up to mile 8 of 10.5 before I hit real problems. My quads started seriously cramping up. That’s how it is when you choose to have the Slick rock trail as your annual kick in the butt to get back in shape. I managed to bike the last 1.5 miles out regardless and get the bike back to the shop with 1.5 hours left.
I showered up after that and grabbed some lunch then headed out to my golf lesson. The golf course in Moab is pretty nice considering it’s in the middle of a desert. The pro who gave me the lesson was less experienced than others I’ve had lessons from, but was able to get my swing in shape when the others weren’t doing much for me. With the lesson done, and the sun setting, it was time to find some good food to help recover from the days activities. I grabbed some grilled salmon and fettuccini at the fire baked pizza place.
Westwater was on day 2. The water level was at 3600 CFS, which is very, very low for the Colorado. I went with Adrift, they had special pricing this month and were prompt with the emails, so I just went with them. It took about 1.5 hours to get from Moab to the put-in. Since the river was so low, it also means that it’s real slow. It took a couple hours to really get into the canyon, but it’s really sweet once you get into it. The sandstone cliff walls give way to black granite that’s been polished by the water to a high gloss finish in places. It’s strange to see red sandstone on top of black granite in the SouthWest, but it’s there. We stopped for a quick “snack” and to change into wetsuits. In the end they weren’t really all that necessary. Most of the class 3 rapids would be pushing it if you were to call them class 2’s and the big rapid on the ride, Skull, was barely even worth mentioning. The only really good rapid out of the 11 was Sock it to Me. It was a class 3, and a good ride. One person in the raft ahead of ours was bucked out, and her husband had her pulled in just as quick. The guy next to me in the raft was bounced 4 feet in the air, twice, but managed to land in the raft both times. Well, now that I know what to expect at a meager flow rate, I’d like to do this at 20,000 CFS and get a good ride out of it.
Day 3 was spent in Canyonlands. I’ve never been through the park, so I wanted to see what it had to offer. I only did the northern section of the park called “Island in the Sky”. There were some interesting hikes, but I don’t think it offers much so I won’t come back to this area again, though I would really like to rent a jeep and go exploring the roads at the base of Island in the Sky and down in the Needles section. Floating the Green River through here would be fun too. From there it was back home. My truck turned 150000 miles on the way back just North of Helper. I think it’ll make it another 50k, but who knows. If I get another truck it will be so I can invest in a hard shelled tonneau cover for the back that I can lock down so I can leave stuff in it and not worry about it. Anyway, when I hit Utah Valley it was pouring rain. “Welcome Home”, right.