Utah, USA.

Moab is Another World

9/25/18 morning- recapping 9/24
Yesterday I wrote my recap of Durango as I sat by my campfire in Utah roasting marshmallows. I don’t think I mentioned the drive and how phenomenal the views were. The mountains are so much more majestic when you can see a whole cluster of them. So there were the mountains… and then… I don’t even know what I saw next. I’m still unsure what these are. First I thought (from Geology) this is where the Earth’s plates came together to make the mountains and also separated to create the canyons. Or/and maybe the rivers were so large they created the huge banks and eroded these giant red rocks. I honestly have no clue, but I was in awe. I’m talking about Moab.

Camping in Moab, Utah, USA.

I stopped only a few times to take some pictures as I needed to rush here to secure a campground off 249, more specifically I wanted to camp at the Goldbar. The campsite is located on the bank of the Colorado river, and there is a fun hike across the street to the Corona arch. That is why I picked this site, its 20 mins away from the city too, no service, just me and the stars. It took about 6 back and forth trips from the city to here to get situated. What a mess. But I was excited to get groceries and cook. So after searching for the site… running to the end of the street for reception to contact Wendy, my AirBnB host, for more clarification. Then back to secure the spot. Then to an ATM for funds for the spot. Then back to drop off the money. Then again, back for the grocery run. And finally when I thought I was finished, again once more, for ice. Yup, literally 6 times. I was so happy when it was all done. All the meanwhile Wendy was setting up my campsite, I rented a teardrop trailer. Not car camping this time.

Teardrop trailer  set up in my campsite at Goldbar campgrounds in Moab, Utah.
my campsite

Hiking Corona Arch- Moab, Utah, USA

A ladder to assit climbing up the sandstone on the trail to Corona Arch.
The ladder

I decided to make that hike before the end of the day, it was a little after 1800 at this point. So off I went. I ran into 3 people total. The first was an older couple, the lady was very worried about me hiking alone and warned me about some guy by himself at the main arch. Also they informed me I had only about an hour in total round trip left. I then passed the ‘guy’, he was a nice guy, he said I had just under a mile until the arch; I think the older couple over estimated my ability… either that or they didnt complete the trail to the arch, just close enough to see it. There I was, hiking in the desert on a very secluded, almost secretive, trail. The only nearby ‘road’ was a railroad and it only operates a very few times per week. I purposely walked loudly to warn any snakes of me presense.
This hike was fun because it involved 2 short cables and a ladder to reach the top. Not only was there the arch, but also a halo. That’s probably not the technical term but that’s what it looks like. I didnt see the arch at first- not until I could see the sky behind it. I was suddenly in awe, tears welled up in my eyes- I was beyond happy and felt so serene. I had this arch and halo all to myself; no one was there and it was the quietest silence I have ever heard. I laid myself down and just took everything in.

Corona Arch and a halo to the left.
taken on my Galaxy S9+

I took a few pictures. The ground was at a very steep grade and the winds were picking up, no tripod would be safe here. I realized the sun had already tucked behind the rocks and I had a limited time before dark. There are many warnings about hiking alone out here. I read them all lastnight, after my hike. It makes more sense as to why the older couple was frightened for me. I made it out of the trail as it was just a faint of blue left in the sky. This was truly terrifying, I was in a windy tunnel with a cliff side and it was getting quite cold. I was constantly looking for things (a sturdy tree) I could hold onto in this wind. One of the MAJOR warnings if you get stranded, for survival, is to hug a big rock. I thought that was weird but ok. Also, stay put because you can get very lost. I survived and it was incredible- worth the hike.

A view through the canyons of the Colorado river on the trail to Corona Arch, looking back toward the campsite.
on my way to Corona arch- before I would turn the corner and lose the heat of the sun

I noticed on that hike I ran out of water rather quickly- I am in a desert. I’ll definitely need to pack more for Arches. I forgot to mention how it was the first day I wore shorts in hope to get some color on my legs. Well again, the hike was dark and windy; mind you it was 90+ degrees when I was driving back and forth. No color, but it was nice to hike in a comfortable temperature. Good thing I went to the grocery store- too bad I cannot cook in the kitchen on my trailer. I think it’s out of gas- I will contact Wendy today. I ended up cooking over a campfie- buitoni. Not the best meal, mostly because of the cooking method but I needed to eat. I didn’t want to use Wendy’s pot over the fire and only brought my own small pot with no lid; it was hard to keep soot from flying in. Then I loaded up on roasted marshmallows.
I was happy and full, probably also fool. I stayed with the fire until it burned out. While waiting I witnessed a full moon rise. Well it came over the cliff but my pictures don’t do it justice. I was ready for bed. It was comfy inside and cool outside. No need for blankets, I was in my onesie. Then around 3am I woke up freezing, and the wind was rapid. That’s really the only way to describe it. I could feel the trailer wobbling. I knew I had read about taking the awnings down for high winds but it was 3am, and dark out. Eventually I did because when I peeked out the window I saw one pole come off the ground. It was difficult to do this: it was just me, in the dark, with heavy wind gusts. I figured it out, and got a full sky of stars. Sometimes I think I’m obsessed, but it doesnt seem like anyone I know cares much for stars.

The milky way with 2 shooting stars over a silouetted camper.
The milky way over my camper; looks like I caught two shooting stars.

I debated getting ready to go watch the sunrise under the delicate arch, I’ve read it’s always packed by sunset but sunrise is empty. Then I thought about hiking in the dark. I’d rather be with the crowd, feeling safe. I might swing by there today just to see if there’s a good viewing point for the early morning. I plan to go to Canyonlands today. It’s huge and takes about 5 days to explore and I have jut 1 so I need to get started. It’s 10 and I just had eggs and bacon with campfire soot for seasoning. Tasty. 

Arches National Park, Utah

9/25/18 night
It gets surprisingly cold here at night. I’m again, sitting by my campfire roasting marshmallows continuously. It’s pretty crazy how drastic the temperature changes here. I was sweating all day, no shade, beaming sun, in the desert. And now I’m bundled up in my onesie, with hot tea by a fire and I’m still chilly. I can’t go to bed and leave the fire unattended so I naturally just keep eating roasted sugar puffs. I deserve every single one of them. Just dont tell my dentist… that I guess I no longer have?! I am incredibly proud of myself today.

A view from the HUGE slick rock on the trail to Delicate Arch.

Hiking Delicate Arch, Arches NP.

I wrote earlier today about my first day in Utah. That letter consisted of a challenging hike to my first arch ever. I consider it challenging mostly because of the lack of light coming back, and the obvious, me being in the ‘back country’ alone. I loved the hike for those reasons and I might like Delicate Arch even more. It didn’t make me cry like yesterday, no, it was crowded. I was never in complete silence today- unless you count now but I have a crackling fire and crickets as my bedtime soundtrack. Today was a true challenge for myself. I pushed myself more than I can ever remember pushing myself, physically. I think the total hike was 3 miles. It’s considered moderately strenuous, seriously? The first half of the hike is an entire uphill climb on slickrock (pictured above). And it ends by rounding an edge overlooking a steep cliff (see the photo below).

Delicate Arch in the distance shot through the window arch.

There were many times I thought ‘I should just go back’, that no arch was worth possibly fainting. I know my body though, so I pushed on. When my heart was racing uncontrollably, I sat. When I’d be waiting for my heart to calm I would people watch. There were old people, out of shape-looking people, girls in dresses all making it up. OK, they might not be out of shape, I don’t know- clearly they are in better shape than I am. Honestly though, I’d see old and young people, overweight and fit people… etc. I KNEW I could do it, I just needed to go at my own pace.
Although there were no needs for cable pulls or ladders it was still much more challenging than Corona Arch. My body was hurting and I was losing air- its thinner here with the altitude. Add that with desert heat and that typically would be too much for an ordinary stroll. I’m so proud I pushed myself. I read enough tips in that book lastnight to help me push through. Once I had finally reached the top I hung out for about an hour.

Delicate Arch
one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever captured.
me finally reaching Delicate Arch- my back is to the camera an I am looking at the rock formation in front of me.
me finally reaching the end.

Many people were kind enough throughout the park to offer to take my picture. So I think I have some good shots. I haven’t gone through my pictures yet. I spent 10 hours there today. That hike wasn’t my only or even last hike. I hiked 1.5 miles after that one. I really should’ve stayed put for the sunset, but I wanted to see more- so I did. I came to see Arches and I have gotten my fix. I am desperate for a shower, 1 more smelly day. I got a ‘whore’ bath in. That’s what my grandma calls it when you use babywipes to clean yourself in a rush… or in my situation, when you dont have a shower. I must’ve gone through like 10 wipes at least! Tomorrow I have plans to go to Canyonlands. I’m going to be very sore though- I can already feel my back tightening up. We will see if I can handle anymore hikes. I’ll be stoked to soak in sulfur smelling hot springs on the 27th. 

Camping at Goldbar, Moab, Utah, USA.

night photos- my back is to the camera and I am facing a campfire at my campsite- behind the fire is the Colorado river and BIG red rocks. You can faintly see the stars above, but the moon is rising- it is full.
me sitting at one of my campfires thinking about s’mores.

9/26/18 night
Another campfire. I’m burning all my wood, so this is a big one. I learned you cannot transfer woods, seeds, etc across the nation; doing this will bring poisonous species that are non indegenous to a new environment. This can then kill other plants, leading to the demise of our national and state parks/forests. It’s my lastnight and it’s the perfect end to Moab. I’m finally understanding the hype. Its Wednesday, and I finally have neighbors to my right in campsite #6. My left right now because I’m sitting on the rivers edge. The campground is about full but the neighbors in #6 are my favorite. I won’t meet him, but he is playing guitar very lightly and with my crackling fire, it’s perfect. I also was finally able to use the kitchen today for dinner. Wendy came along in the afternoon to fix the gas issue. I made breakfast for dinner, my famous bfast trough. I also got many pictures of the milky way tonight. I’m right under it. The moon is taking longer to rise so I have more stars than previous nights. I’m kind of loathing the moon, I need more time with the stars. Anyway, what did I do today!?

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands
Mesa Arch

I finally made it to Canyonlands National Park today. There are 3 parts of the park, I went to Island in the sky. I didn’t do any strenuous hikes, I moreso went to the lookout points. Went on apparently ‘restricted zones’; I dont think so. I went to the cliff overlooking Orange Canyon. There were fences to keep people back- off the vegetation, they’re trying to keep people off the fragile moss and soil crust which keeps their desert alive. Moab has this strange ‘bio-soil crust’ made of tiny microorganisms that take decades to grow. I would never intentionally step on this, I intend to do my part in preserving the National Parks. You are allowed, however, on any slickrock without vegetation.. so I went to the cliff on the rock. The rock was not behind the fence, there was actually a large planned gap in the fence. However, an older couple wouldn’t stop commenting on how scary it was that I was out there. I wasn’t afraid. Eventually I hopped up and retreated back to my car, I was probably blocking a lot of people’s shots. The couple stopped me to ask if I also want to skydive. Honestly, yeah- I do. They had more remarks about that…

A waterfall hike in Moab- the city!

After Canyonlands I came back to my camp to grab a bikini. Next stop was a hike with 2 waterfalls paired with 2 swimming holes. This is a hike in Moab (city limits). I was recommended this hike from one of the girls in MN. it’s called Mill Creek North Fork. I had both waterfalls and swimming holes to myself. I thought this was weird until I got in, FREEZING! It would be really nice had the sun been high in the sky. The sun was about to set, and this trail was mainly shaded so I wasn’t that hot. I had to cross 3 rivers to get to the last waterfall. I remember why the girl recommended this hike- I was chasing waterfalls when she met me. I think it’s also nice to hike in the desert when theres water and service. It’s been awhile. As much as I miss having service and more interactions throughout my day, I will absolutely miss this. 

Another stop in Utah, then to Idaho

10/1/18 entry; 9/27-9/29
It’s been a few days since I’ve written. I’m actually in Wyoming now, here’s a little recap of the last day in UT. and my day in ID, neither of which were very exciting. I left Moab around 10 and arrived to Provo, actually Vinyard, UT. pretty early. I parked in front of my AirBnB and waited over an hour to check-in. Although I think I had the house to myself. My host must’ve been out of town. I had only booked for a room in someone’s house, and I didn’t wander. From the looks of the mainspace and my room/bathroom her house was like straight out of a magazine, flawless. I scheduled an appointment in town and decided to kill a couple hours driving the scenic route I had planned for Friday. I also had the opportunity to do laundry. All in all, I was productive in Vinyard, UT.

5th water hotsprings, Utah, USA.

I was there to go to 5th water hot springs but figured I’d just go in the morning. I woke up at a pretty decent time, with less than 6 hours of sleep. As I drove toward the hot springs trailhead on the main interstate I noticed a few fires in the mountains. I saw these on my way in yesterday, too. Turns out they were not controlled fires- yikes, and they had closed off the road I needed to access the trailhead. I was still quite determined. I zoomed out of my GPS and found a longer road that was about 1.5 hours longer to navigate and I drove that. I had no service, an unpaved road, and 1 quarter tank of gas. Kinda scared I’d be stranded but I pushed through… only to find that at the very end of the road where it connected to the opposite side of the original was also blocked. With this wrench thrown into my plans and all attempts failing I gave up and drove to Pocatello, ID. I even skipped Antelope Island.

a house wrapped in foil on a dirt road- Sheep Creek Rd on a detour to 5th water hot springs trail, Utah.
on the random dirtroad I entered a national forest, there were multiple houses wrapped in foil.

Pocatello, Idaho, USA

I checked into my hotel still wearing my bathing suit. Unfortunately, their pool was inside. I ended up sitting on my balcony in my desk chair spinning around for about 2 hours while securing some future stays for this trip and working on my tan- which is highly lacking. I am so pale. Eventually I decided to go ‘downtown’ for some food. I found a place on Yelp- The Healthier Place to Eat. I had their special with a side of homemade sweet potato chips- pretty tasty and a fresh squeezed lemonade. The service was lacking and the town seemed a bit off. Definitely a ghost town. If you ever find yourself here, I would still recommend stopping at The Healthier Place to Eat- see if they have carryout.

The sunset on my ride back to my hotel was perfectly painted. After the sun fell behind the mountains it was bedtime. I had to be up early, Scott warned me, or I’d miss the boat! Umm, I definitely was not going to miss that boat, we were going out on Jackson lake, with the Grand Tetons as the back drop!! Count me in.

I visit Utah’s Southwest to see Zion later on my roadtrip- that will be a separate post.


    1. Kaitlin

      I loved it!! It was so different than anywhere I’d been. I hope you got to stay awhile. Thanks for checking out my page. I can’t wait to post more of the world when I get back to my computer.

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