Hiking and Blogger Fests – Moab, UT

For those of you who are counting, this is my 5th (and final) post about our activities in Moab.  And hopefully you’re not tired of seeing red rocks, canyons and fins, because Moab is filled with them.

Since we saw bad weather developing at our next destination,  we extended our stay in Moab for another week and got to experience more of what it has to offer.  So far we’d had lots of outdoor fun, and here are those stories in case you missed them:

Blogger Fest

Springtime in Moab brought several of our blogger friends to town.  Our neighbors at Portal RV Resort were Dave and Sue of Beluga’s Excellent AdventureJoe and Gay of Good-times- rollin and John and Pam of Oh the Places They Go.  Also in town were Hector and Brenda of Island Girl Walkabout and Tim and Amanda of Watsons Wander (who we met for the first time).  Our Spring blogger fest was full of laughter, food and conversation.  It’s so great to meet up again with friends we’ve met on the road through our blog site!

Lowes Travels

Pizza dinner gathering: John, Dave, Sue, Steve, me, Tim, Amanda, Amanda’s parents, Hector, Brenda and Pam

Lowes Travels

Happy hour: Pam, John, Sue, Dave, Gay, Joe, Hector, Brenda, Steve and me.  Where’s the food?

Unpredictable weather

At times our best-laid plans were thwarted by the fickle weather in this part of Utah.  During our stay we dealt with rain, wind, snow and hail – sometimes catching us off-guard during our hiking and driving expeditions.

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Snow brought our trek into the La Sal mountains to a slippery halt

Hidden Lake Trail

An unexpected hail storm cut this hike short, we’ll do the Hidden Valley hike again when we return

Hiking around Moab

WARNING: More images of arches, fins, towers and red rocks ahead – you may exit now if you’re getting tired of seeing them!

Arches National Park

A short explanation of how arches are formed

There were numerous hiking opportunities to choose from, and since this was our first visit in Moab we followed the most popular trails with a firm plan to do more on our return visit – probably next year.

The longest and most rugged hike within Arches NP was the Devils Garden Trail, a challenging but fun 7.2 mile loop.  Completing the initial .9 mile paved walkway and passing the popular Landscape Arch, the trail became primitive and we left the crowds behind.  This trail had us walking among sheer walls of sandstone fins and peering through eight awe-inspiring arches.  We climbed over sandstone slabs and trekked through rugged beautiful backcountry on a sandy trail.

In one of the more difficult sections we saw a woman who had some anxiety while climbing along a wall, and she sat frozen in place.  I told her to take a deep breath and she’d be fine. We don’t know if she made it or not:

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That lady in the middle was having a panic attack, we had to walk around her

Double O Arch

Double O Arch

Devils Garden Trail

Devils Garden Trail

One of the open areas of the Devils Garden Trail

The Fiery Furnace is a labyrinth of narrow sandstone canyons and fins, and a permit is required to hike there.  We paid the $16 each and took a 3-hour ranger-led hike on a 2-mile loop.  During this trek we learned not only the geology of the area, but also some techniques for climbing on narrow ledges, squeezing through cracks and “crabbing” along rock walls with our hands and feet.  These techniques proved to be helpful on some of our future hikes – money well spent!

Fiery Furnace

One technique – slide on your butt and use your foot to stop

Fiery Furnace Trail

Navigating a crack with a drop at the far end

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Duck-walking between rocks

We volunteered to be the “sweepers” on this hike, bringing up the rear which allowed more freedom for picture-taking.

Fiery Furnace

Surprise Arch

Surprise Arch

Emerging from the Fiery Furnace, we were treated to the first unobstructed view of the La Sal mountains in several days:

la Sal Mountains

On another day we drove the 7-mile dirt road to Tower Arch, a moderately difficult and scenic trail near the far end of Arches NP.  We hiked through some sandy and rocky sections, then scrambled over slickrock behind the arch.

Tower Arch

Some sandy areas with slight elevation

Tower Arch

The view from behind the arch

Tower Arch

Here’s the slickrock scrambling part

Tower Arch Trail

The reward – lunch with an awesome view!

Marching Men

The Marching Men behind Steve watched as he shook sand from his shoes. These are large chunks of red rock that look like soldiers lined up in a row

The Fisher Towers Trail passes through an amazing array of rock formations from 4-foot tall goblin-like rocks to the 900′ Titan.  We learned that the towers are some of the most spectacular and difficult summits to climb in North America, frequently attempted by skilled rock climbers.

Fisher Towers

Fisher Towers viewed from the north

Sure enough, as we walked the trail we spotted several climbers queuing up at Corkscrew Summit:

Ancient Art

Corkscrew Summit

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This is a little beyond our skill level

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Hey, look at me! I’m totally insane!

Fisher Towers

Steve felt completely safe as he craned his neck to watch the climbers

Another climbing challenge is the Titan, the largest free-standing tower in the United States.  We enjoyed watching the climbers as we had our lunch almost 1,000′ below.

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Titan Climbers

Close up of the inset

Not only are the summits difficult and spectacular, they are among the most unusual and unique in the world.  A Citibank commercial was filmed here several years ago, featuring a woman climber who instantly became popular in the rock-climbing world.  We won’t be trying it, that’s for sure!

Fisher Tower

Well, that wraps up our 4-week stay in Moab.  We’ll definitely be coming back to meet up with our friends again, and to resume our explorations of this wonderful place.

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So long for now Moab, we’ll be back!

 

Next Up:  This place rocks -Capitol Reef National Park