This past weekend we took advantage of the unsettlingly warm weather and got in our first desert trip of 2015, setting our sights on Moab. The wind at our backs caused us to burn through our firewood a little bit faster than we would have preferred, so it was an early night for us at our Friday night camp down Willow Springs Trail just outside of town. Things did get a little more chilly than expected that night, but the air still felt and smelled more like that of late March than early February.
We packed up our frosty camp with efficiency on Saturday morning, and made it to Turret Arch just in time for a blissful morning show. The original plan was to shoot the classic scene of Turret through North Window Arch, but a gang of photogs were already on the perch elbowing each other for space. Feeling curmudgeony (what can I say, my coffee hadn’t kicked in yet), I decided to veer off the main path and head to Turret itself and try to come up with something up close. The clouds filled in over the horizon and the distant La Sal mountains nicely:
The plan for the day was to hike Professor Creek again, which would make it the third time for us since we got Ellie a year ago. What can we say, it’s one of her faves! One of ours as well. The fact that you can find such beautiful isolation (and dog-friendliness) so close to the hordes in Arches and Canyonlands nearby (not to mention the water people running the Colorado River) is nothing short of astonishing. Of course, it helps that the road isn’t marked
No shots of Professor Creek itself this time, but we did explore a couple of short side slots on our way to the waterfall. Here’s Ellie trying to behave her way into some treats:
We decided to spoil ourselves for Saturday night by getting a hotel in town. And while I usually wouldn’t consider checking into a Motel 6 as “spoiling oneself”, this dog friendly version was actually quite nice (and cheap!). After checking in around 3pm and hosing off in the shower, we jumped back into the Impreza and raced up towards the Islands in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. The view to the west was shaping up to be quite dramatic, and as we neared our destination, Grand View Point Overlook, I realized the real madness was occurring back at the Orange Cliffs overlook. Instead of hassling with the car again and driving the quarter mile back I just decided to huff it on foot along the rim and found this spot looking towards the northwest just in the nick of time:
After the hour drive back down into town, we decided to grab a bite and beer at our mainstay, The Moab Brewery (I highly recommend their Hopped Rye IPA if you’re in the neighborhood and thirsty). Crazily, we bumped into our good friends Dan and Lindsey there, but after a couple of beers the day had caught up to us and it was time to head back to our rented beds for the night.
Mandy decided to relax in the room with a sore Ellie on Sunday morning while I went back into Arches for a second time in two days for a sunrise. I didn’t have any grand ideas this time around, but thought I would poke around the Park Avenue area in the pre-dawn light to see what I could find. After stumbling around in the dark for a bit, unable to find anything terribly exciting, I settled on this comp, which is found right next to the parking lot. The moon really saved my bacon here:
Drove back into town and the hotel room as the sun began to light up the valley. The plan for the day was to hike up, ahem, Negro Bill Canyon (yeah, that’s the name), which happens to be Ellie’s second favorite Moab area hike. She was a bit sore in the morning, but by the time she was on the trail you wouldn’t have known. She was lit up that day like we’ve never seen her before. She goes.
This 2.5 mile hike through a lush riparian habitat ends in a dark, yet colorful cove below Morning Glory Arch. There, a dormant oak waits patiently for spring:
Great. Now we have desert fever and it’s only February…