Thursday, March 26, 2015

Moab........ by Foot, by Jeep and by Kayak

Click Pictures to Enlarge
We are finally back out west! Although we enjoyed our trip out to Florida and then back up to Minnesota/Wisconsin we were always longing to be back out west. One of the goals of our RV’ing adventure is to find where we might want to live when we settle down again. Leaving Colorado and entering Utah we started to see the open buttes, mesas and the open range country….second to Wisconsin, it felt almost like coming home.
Our destination…….OK RV Park in Moab. We had chosen this location because our friends Dino and Lisa are workamping there for the next few months. We had met them at the boondocking rally in Arcadia Florida. Dino and Lisa are from Fergus Falls Minnesota and are in their first year of full-timing. They are an incredibly nice couple who travel with their newly adopted cat Moose. It was great seeing them again and catching up on our travels.

First impressions was that the campground itself was OK (get it!?) The location is awesome but the campground itself could use a little TLC. As the week went on the place started to grow on me. A great place to stay if you just want a relaxing few days without a lot of frills. It was a very quiet park with nice owners and they even let us wash our rig for $5.00. That is a deal! It is a Passport America campground so the price was right at ~$20/night with free Wi-Fi and good showers.
We had a great stay and were able to put together two videos of our adventures which I posted below or can be seen on our YouTube channel. The video on the Jeep trips is a bit shaky as the roads were pretty rough.

After settling in, setting up and showering we headed out for dinner with Dino and Lisa to the Moab Brewery a good restaurant within the town. They have about a dozen local brews to choose from and a large menu with good food. I tried two of their brews; Derailleur Red Ale and Moab Especial. The red ale was a little dark for me but the Especial was good. Barb had a Long Island Iced Tea which she later confessed was quite strong.
The Moab area is known for many things; Arches National Park, Canyonland National Park, Dead Horse State Park, not to mention their miles of off-roading trails and biking and hiking trails. Our first order of business was to hit the hiking trails, we had been missing our hikes since leaving for Florida in January. Along with Dino and Lisa we hiked Negro Bill’s. Here is a brief description of the trail from

On a politically correct scale of 1 to 10, Negro Bill Canyon gets a 1. It has kept its name for historical reasons and a reminder to current and future generations of the climate and insensitivity of the early 20th century here. The canyon was named for the early 19th century African American pioneer William Granstaff who grazed his cattle here.

This is a very popular trail in Moab. It follows a year round stream through a deep sandstone canyon among willows and cottonwoods and sandy trails for several miles until you reach a natural stone arch called Morning Glory Natural Bridge. The arch is 243 feet which makes it the sixth largest span for an arch in the country. However, it is only about 10 to 15 feet from the canyon wall. The hike to the arch is about 4.5 miles round trip

I have to say that it was good to get back on a trail! We had a great hike with high wall canyons on both sides and a small river flowing down the middle. We had several river crossings on our way to the Morning Glory Natural Bridge. We continue to be amazed by the rock formation created by both wind and water. Although it was a fairly easy hike, having not hiked in so long, we certainly felt it at the end of the day!
Barb, Lisa and Dino ready to hit the trail!

How are formations like this created?!?!?

Spring means the flowers are blooming
The bridge from afar

Again, how are these created?!?!
The next day we gave our legs a rest and went for a Jeep adventure to Gemini Bridges. Gemini Bridges are two large parallel natural spans that bridge a deep canyon cut in the sandstone. The bridges are 89 and 70 feet long, each having a width of 26 feet. The trip to the bridges is pretty easy navigating up the edge of a bluff, down into a canyon and then up a long slope to the bridges themselves. Barb and I (and Daisy too!) made our way to an area overlooking the bridges and walked out to the ledge to have a picnic lunch. The views were awesome!
Daisy, ready for her adventure!
Goony Bird rock along the way
Our view of Gemini Bridges from our picnic location
The three of us just hanging out
After finishing lunch we made our way over to the bridges themselves. These unique formations are named after the Gemini twins of Roman mythology. You can walk right out on the bridges. There are no guardrails and one can get as close to the edges as you dare to get. You used to be able to drive your Jeep out and across the bridges but there has been more than one death resulting in a change of these rules. I had dared Barb to jump the crevasse between the two and later found out someone died attempting this in 2010. 

View from along the edge

The crevasse separating the bridges
This guy was just hanging out on the rocks
There is so much to do here there is just no way to even get a taste of it in 5 days. Day 3 we decided to hit the water. We have been itching to get on the water since reading the recent adventures of fellow FT’er Take To The Highway. She had recently spent several days kayaking down the Colorado River in Arizona. As luck would have it, the Colorado River flows right through Moab! Although we did not do a 3 day’er, along with Dino and Lisa, we did do a 4 hour trip from the bridge in Moab to Gold Bar Recreation Area 10 miles down the river.
Dino and Lisa floating down the Colorado

Daisy and Barb admiring the view
This stretch is pretty quiet and has beautiful scenery as the river flows along high rock walls on one side and rugged rock formations on the other. The water in this section was running about 2.5-3 mph and has no rapids. We paddled at a leisurely pace taking in all the sights and sounds (or lack of) of the river. It was a great day on the water and by the end of the trip we were actually whooped from the paddling and spending the day in the sun.

 We had strategically planned our activities …..physical day, Jeep day, physical day, Jeep day. Day 3 was a physical day on the water, which meant day 4 was a Jeep day! Based on recommendations from Pam and John as well as Steve and Joan we chose Shafer Trail. Although there are a few hairy spots, it is not a difficult trail but is known for its outstanding scenery which has been used in numerous commercials and movies. It starts out fairly flat slowly rising up to an area above the Colorado River where we stopped for lunch.

 Shortly after the trail enters Canyonlands National Park where there are numerous switchbacks as you ascend the mesa on a narrow trail. As we were coming around one of these switchbacks we noticed a Ranger parked in the middle of the road. Upon closer inspection there was a car that had gone off the trail and was stuck against the wall. What this person was doing out here in a car was a question in itself, how she got off the road is another! We were able to skinny by with inches to spare on both sides and continue on our way. Shortly after we pasted a tow truck heading the opposite direction. I wonder what that tow bill cost her!

The views from the top were awesome! Once we were on top the trail came to blacktop (Hwy 313) which we traveled on for a few miles before turning towards Dead Horse State Park and then taking an offshoot down Long Canyon whish descended steeply on multiple switchbacks. At one point we even had to drive under a rock which had fallen on the road! I cannot begin to describe the varying rock formations you can see from one spot; mountains, red rock fins, buttes, mounds..... all in one area.....incredible!

These day trips are just but a fraction of what is available in this area. We definitely need to return to hit more of our Moab bucket list adventures!


  1. The photo of the three of you 'hanging out' is way too fun! :). Love the other photos also!

    1. We took and posted a lot of pictures but this area was just too picturesque not take and post them!

  2. Utah is by far our most favourite state for it's fantastic geography. If time allows check out Goosenecks State Park near Mexican Hat. Free camping with stunning views of San Juan River 1000' below. Use as a base camp to visit Moki Dugway, Muley Point and Valley of the Gods. You are also close to Monument Valley AZ. Great photos!

    1. Thanks for the tips! Goosenecks SP is definitely on our list. From here we are headed north to camp with our son for the weekend.

  3. I can hardly wait to get back to Utah. We arrive in Bluff on the 3rd, then head to Maob on the 13th for a little over two weeks. Moab has so much to offer. We were there for a month two years ago and it still wasn't enough. I hope you are working in the area while we are there. It would be great to meet up and see Joan and Steve again. We loved you lunch with a view!! Daisy did a great job cooperating:) Poor lady! She must have been scared to death. Good she wasn't on the other side!!

    1. Daisy is generally pretty cooperative with anything we do with her. However, she wanted nothing to do with being on her back and taking that picture so close to the edge. We had to snap it quick as she was squirming like crazy!

  4. Aw, the trifecta! Hike, paddle, jeep! What fun, and getting to enjoy it with Dino & Lisa (we met them at the spring rally in TN). I was having flashbacks seeing Daisy on the window ledge! Hope Barb had a good hold on her :-) Beautiful scenery. We're looking forward to getting back there this fall. What a crazy nut that gal was on that road!

    1. Forgot to mention I love the footie shot with the three of you!! Too cute!!!!

    2. Does it get any better?! Daisy is a trooper and puts up with a lot. You will have to look at the YouTube video of the float trip to see what other abuse she had to put up with!

  5. Somehow I missed the videos the first time. Very cool! I'd say Poor Daisy, but she looked like she enjoyed herself!

  6. It was nice of Daisy to put you in her blog. She needs a pedicure though. Thanks for stopping by. We had a great time seeing you and laughing together. Till next time. Dino, Lisa and Moose.

    1. She did kinda dominate the post didn't she? We had a great time too, thanks for hanging with us, hope to see you this winter!

      BTW.....the Jeep was running a little rough so I opened the hook and there was all sorts of gray and white fur in there.....any idea what that was?

    2. It may have been the same stuff you found behind your couch.

  7. We love Moab and make it a regular stop for us as we travel between AZ and CO. We haven't done Shaffer Road yet. Is it better to start at the bottom or top? The 'hanging' photo is too cute!

    1. Personally I think the bottom to top trip is better as you are climbing up anticipating the road and views from the top. That said, there are a couple of spots on the Long Canyon road that would be really fun to take going up!