Just Me And The Road
As I inched closer and closer to the golden west coast, I decided to take one more swipe through Southern Utah to see what I had missed the first time through. It turns out I had missed nothing…glorious nothing. The road had become an empty wonderland, just me and unbound nature as far as the eye could see. No city lights or city folk to plague my way. No fast food chains or cheap ware stores dotting the horizon. No large tankers filled with the infernal noise of loud families and obnoxious drivers. Just the sound of my tires gripping the endless road to remind me that even I was an intruder in this pristine landscape.
I would typically share my route, but this is one of the few times where I ‘m going to keep mum on my secret drive. A man has to be able to have some solitary places that are sacred only to him or at least as few others as possible. Sorry, folks. Them’s the breaks.
I eventually made it into the city of Moab, famous for the nearby Arches National Park and other lesser known sites. I found a local hostel, The Lazy Lizard, and decided to spend a few days there while I explored the nearby parks and got my hike on. It’s rather apropos that The Lazy Lizard was given such a name. It’s a cozy little hostel where passers through and locals can kick up their feet and relax after a long day of hiking and getting blasted by the sun. It’s also where I met some of the laziest employees ever known to man. I’m still not sure exactly what anyone working there did besides enjoy the copious amounts of food…and weed…that was being shared by guests. This isn’t a knock on anyone there as they did make my stay pleasant and enjoyable. The place is this vortex of anarchic good will, except with great housekeeping. Don’t go there looking for 5 star hotel service, instead you will get an authentic laid back experience and at the same time make some great new friends and hear some great travel stories. Thumbs up for experience. Thumbs sideways for noise control after hours.
I spent most of my hiking days at Arches National Park. Once you reach the visitors center, it’s another 30 – 40 minute drive into the park itself to reach the Devil’s Playground hiking trail. There are a number of other trails along the way that I visited, including the trail to Delicate Arch, but Devil’s Playground was the main attraction. It receives the most tourists. However, if you’re willing to go onto the deeper trails past where most tourists stop and turn back, you will be treated to a landscape like none other I have seen. Perhaps, it was the time of year, but I often found myself alone on the deeper trail and it was bliss. Without all the distracting noise of other people’s activities, I was able to take in the serenity and rustling the landscape had to offer. I often thought to myself it wouldn’t be too bad to hike into the deep wilderness and just remain out there never to return. It was the allure of the wild. A romantic notion for sure, but not easily dismissed.
Delicate Arch was a bit busier, since it’s a major attraction. I had made the mistake of visiting on a Friday afternoon instead of during the week when less people would visit, so the site was being bombarded with the usual spread of respectful hikers and obnoxious tourists. It’s about a mile hike in and I spent half a day there to watch the sun arch over the horizon. As the sun set, I noticed a massive crowd begin to form near the entrance to the area. It was unnerving to me to hear how rude everyone was being towards travelers who wanted a close up shot of the arch. Anytime someone was getting a nice picture in near the arch the crowd would hiss and boo and yell to get out of the way so they could get their pristine shot of the sun setting. It seemed to me to defeat the purpose of the whole experience, but what do I know? I decided at one point I had had enough and trolled the unruly onlookers back by making them the subject of my photos. The subversive nature of my act seemed to register with some as they got my point and settled down a bit. As the sun finally made its final descent I decided to hightail it out of there before the mass exodus. Here’s a time lapse of my day there. Surprisingly, it took 5 hours of photos just to make a 30 second time lapse vid. Make sure you set the video at 1080p HD.
I’ll be making my way back to Moab soon as it holds a special place in my heart…and I suppose I’ll be nice and share some photos from the trip 🙂
– Sharing Rabbit