Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day 14

Moab sucks. Well, only if you do it all wrong. I'll explain. But before all that, we awoke from our slumber in our tent somewhere between Independence Pass and Aspen. It was a brisk morning, but waking up in a beautiful aspen forest is easy despite the comfort of your warm sleeping bag. We ate, packed up, and were on our way to Moab, Utah.
Our enormous tent in the aspens
The stream right next to our camp, which played the serene soundtrack to our sleep. Although tranquil, giardia, or beaver fever, appears to be lurking.

We passed through the quaint town of Aspen where it felt reassuring to be the poorest people in town.
A brief glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous residents of Aspen.

We continued on through Grand Junction out of Colorado and into the heart of southern Utah. We stopped at a swimming beach on the shore of the Colorado River to bathe/cool off. The water was stained and nearly at flood stage but it was well worth the dip.
The Colorado River. The artist responsible for the West's endless red canyons.
A desert tower on the way to Moab. Probably a famous climb.

Now, I've seen commercials and such about Moab before and I had a rough idea of the place, but actually pulling into town was pretty eye opening. Tourist heaven. The place was packed with people, attractions, and accomadations. It looked like the boardwalk. We immediately drove staright through town to the most secluded side canyon we could find where there was supposedly great sport climbing (the entire area is considered great for crack/trad climbing but we do not have the $1000+ dollars of gear to get into that scene). We journeyed deep into Kane Springs Canyon with its endless towering canyon walls and rock formations. The sights were impressive but we were looking to ascend the cliffs, not just look at them.
Literally every cliff looked like this around.

Rock formations that look great for climbing but are soft and loose as sand.
A look down the canyon and the Colorado.

Over 3 hours later we had no idea where the Ice Cream Parlor cliff (the one with the only sport climbing in the valley) was hidden. All the rock looked the same, and almost all of it was loose sandstone (not fun for climbing). Even worse, nearly every campsite was taken. We made friends with some babes that were camping under a sweet overhang, but the dudes they were with were not into us. We eventually found a single spot in the middle of Moonflower Canyon, or as I affectionately call it, Satan's hell-hole. Combine the finest, reddest sand you have ever seen with 60 mph wind gusts and you make for a fun time camping. Sand in our tent, clothes, sleeping bag, car, food, stove, everything.
Desert Camping
It was like the beach, but without all the good stuff like water and fun times. We went to bed miserable with the tent flailing wildly around us and sand drifting through the vents. Yum, Moab. The scenery was fantastic, but it was no place to call home, even for just a night.
The cliffs as the sun went down over the valley. Beautiful gold hues

Disclaimer: We spoke to my cousin Mike about his adventures in Moab. They were apparently of a better nature. The trick is to sleep on top of the canyon where it is bare rock and no sand. The rock climbing, though limitless, did not impress me. Perhaps the cracks are more solid than the flakes, crimps, and jugs that usually lend themselves for climbing, but seemed to fall to the ground with us during our bouldering attempts. Also, a guidebook would have made the miles and miles of canyon walls less confusing. In Moab's defense, the mountain biking looked unreal and their were plenty of trails for bikes, atv's, and jeeps to play on. It just wasn't the place for a couple of mountain kids who enjoy trees, water, and cooler climates.

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