Reverse Circle: Kim’s Hike to Alien Rock

(Day 6: Moab)

The Cali Cochitta bed is starting to have its usual effect. In other words, neither of us want to get up when the alarm goes off, but we know that we have to make it to the 8am breakfast… I made it up and showered; Andrew postponed his shower until after food, but there wasn’t any rush. Kim was going to hike with us today, but she had a work appointment to do first (she does blood work/exams for people). The day started to slide a little when her appointment decided to come an hour late, and then her machine didn’t want to work… I was chomping at the bit and wanted to be ‘out there’ and ‘doing’. So, to give Kim time to get ready and stop me from stomping  up and down, we took a little stroll to a couple of shops in town. Still browsing, not quite committed to purchase yet!

By eleven or so, Kim was ready and we drove down to their new property. They have bought a plot (see the sandy patch on the 5th photo) and are getting a new house built just south of town right next to the red cliffs and Kim wanted to find a route to the top. She had tried once before but ‘cliffed out’. So, to be clear, there is no waymarked route to be had here… The start was easy enough, once we circumvented a barbed wire fence…and we started to work our way up the cliff. Going up wasn’t too bad. There is a rock behind Kim’s property that looks like the creature from the movie “Alien” which was her aim…Could we get there? 

Part way up we realised that we were on the front one of two sandstone fins, and so we just kept going up and keeping parallel with the rim. By doing this, eventually, we got there!

Kim then found her way to a dirt road which runs across the mesa and is used by people doing 4-wheel driving and buggies. Today, there was no one but us. We followed the road, taking a few turns which we carefully marked by digging arrows into the sandy ground and placing cairns, until we reached Johnson Up on Top (as it is known locally) a higher plateau on the mesa. The climb up was pretty steep, but the views from here stretched west across the valley, north to Arches and the Booker cliffs beyond and south-east to the La Sal mountains.

Having carefully made our way back down the incline without slipping, we hiked back along the mesa road until we found our turn off back into the desert land on top of the rim. Finding our way back down the cliff was a little tricky at times, but we eventually found each section and marked it with cairns so that Kim can find it again a little more easily. We spotted what we thought might be some petroglyphs at the bottom of the side canyon whilst looking for the way down.

Back at the bottom, Kim got talking to one of her new neighbours who seemed really friendly. It is clear that they have worked hard on their garden and I liked the way that were blending it in at the edges with desert plants. A Golden Eagle (we think) was circling high above the cliff we had just descended. It was a good hike, with the added fun of trail finding in the truest sense, but I am pretty sure we wouldn’t have been venturing quite so far off piste without Kim! She was thrilled to find a way up to the top of the rim behind her ‘house’ and I imagine that they will be hiking up there quite often.

(Editor’s note: forgot to add that, whilst up on top, in the sand along the cliff top, I noticed deer tracks, followed by what I have now checked and confirmed to be mountain lion tracks. Exciting… unless you are a deer…).

We drove back to the B&B and sat out in the garden just relaxing and reading/blogging, with a coffee and cookies. One of the differences this year is that the ambient temperature is warmer than usual, so even though today is cloudy and the sun isn’t really out, it is still warm enough to just sit. 

Eventually we decided that we had better get cleaned up and go for dinner. We went early just as the sun was setting on the rim, back to Zax’s because I fancied pizza. There was a wait for a table, but only for 10 minutes or so and we got a table on the outside patio. It was definitely busy, being a Friday night. Food was good as always. We were back at our room shortly after 8pm. Time for a little TV, but I expect we will fall asleep early again after the hiking!

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