Return to the Red Rocks. Day 10: Wild West

(Moab, Utah)

3 December 2022

Now I know that all these past days have brought lovely scenery and stunning views, but if you’re wondering…where are the red rocks and all the ‘wild West’ pictures? Well, today’s the day for you.

A good night’s sleep was had by all, following which was our customary breakfast. We layered up and brewed tea and then set off up highway 128, more generally known as the river road. After 25 miles and 40 minutes of winding canyon scenery, the route finishes with 2 miles of dirt road before ending in a car park at the base of stunningly tall cliffs and towers.

We set off. The walk was somewhere between 2.5 and 3.0 miles long, each way. Precision is hard because firstly, the distance given on the sign is definitely too short, and secondly, or Garmin devices registered completely different parts and lengths, due to the route hugging the cliffs and causing inaccurate measurements. Anyway, what we can confirm is it is hard. Very hard. And steep. And up. Very up.

It took two hours to reach the end of the trail, which is well worth the effort in terms of the view. We had our lunch bars and drank the tea before starting back down. Despite being several miles from the trailhead, and in the middle of nowhere, we noticed we had a 5G signal, which given we couldn’t even get a phone signal in Yorkshire was quite amazing.

The route down was still hard going, as every bit meant wiggling around drainage channels and going up and down rocks. Eventually, we made it back to the car park though, with very tired legs. The scale is hard to convey, but you might spot people, tiny little people, in some of the photos.

The drive back down the river road was still scenic, and we got back to the hotel with just enough time to eat a snack, shower and dress warmly again.

We made our way down Main Street, where crowds were starting to gather. We collected a free hot chocolate from a stand opposite Zax (there were cookies too, but we restrained ourselves) before going and standing outside Zax, ready for the Christmas Electric Light Parade. We aren’t usually in Moab this late in the year, so it was the first time we had seen it (although I was actually in it, way back in 2006, but that’s a different story). Our waitress on Tuesday had recommended this spot, and she was there too, delighted to see us again.

The parade was great. So many good floats. An NPS one, which Delicate Arch; BLM with Smokey Bear; various emergency services; locals on bikes; more locals on tractors; and finally Santa, of course!

After that, we went into Zax for dinner, arriving at the front of the rush due to our strategic position right outside! Another of the waitresses remembered us from previous years…!

And that’s it for our time in Moab. It was a great way to finish our stay here. Tomorrow we go to Grand Canyon. Blog posts may become a bit erratic, unless things have changed a lot, as we have previously struggled for both wifi and phone signal there, so if you don’t hear anything for a bit, don’t worry! Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

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