When we planned our anniversary trip this year, we picked Moab because we wanted a trip that was active and outdoors. We had talked about going to Oregon and driving up the coast, but after an invigorating summer of biking, we didn't want a vacation that involved so much sitting.
Moab is special to Andrew because he grew up vacationing there, and Moab is special to me because it is the first place that made me love the Southwest, and Moab is special to us because it is where we took our first vacation together ten years ago. I like to think we were destined for this future after sharing a water bottle filled from Matrimony Springs on that first trip.
Moab reminds me of Taos in the sense that it is one of those places that I can't imagine visiting and not thinking it is spectacular. It has an energy that you can feel in your core. Just like with Taos, I'm not talking about the actual town, but the area surrounding the town. The town is necessary, I suppose, but I like to spend as little time there as possible and focus on the big, impressive landscapes; the silhouettes of the mountains and cliffs on the horizon as the sun rises and sets; the night skies; and the desert wildlife scurrying about.
On our first day in Moab, we parked off the highway and rode up to Gemini Bridges and then did a few loops on new single track trails in the area. We came down Little Canyon and road back out the way we came. The wind whipped against our faces all day, and when I got back in the car and looked in the mirror, I saw that my face was red with thick patches of red paste on my cheeks where the sand had stuck to the sweat and sunscreen. It was like Moab had kissed me. Welcome back.
Since it was our anniversary, we rented a house in Castle Valley instead of camping like we normally do. The house was a major treat and meant daily soaks in the hot tub, nightly fires in the chiminea and the biggest indulgence - daily showers. Although, there is something to be missed by washing that red sand off each day and not letting it build up and make your skin all rosy and gritty.
Each day we set off from our little house in Castle Valley to try a new trail. Mostly new to me, and mostly old favorites for Andrew. We rode Gemini Bridges, Klondike Bluffs, Moab Slickrock (only the practice loop for me before I was too scared), Monitor and Merrimac, Bar M trails, and the trails at Dead Horse Point. We were pleasantly surprised to see so many new trails in the areas we rode.
We also spent a day rappelling and celebrated with lunch at Milt's where we threw all of the lessons from the Whole30 out the window and enjoyed greasy hamburgers, malts and french fries. One of the glorious things about a vacation like this is that you can eat whatever you want and never feel bad from it! I had hoped to do a little hiking that afternoon but the stress of the rappelling wore me out.
We saw chipmunks, antelope squirrels, lots and lots of mule deer near the house, lizards, bunnies and jack rabbits. We even spotted seven desert big horn sheep off of Potash Road.
There is still so much I want to do, and my list of repeats grows every time we go. We drove out through the La Sals Saturday afternoon on our way home and added even more things to our list. A week was too short.
champagne by the chiminea
sunrise from the house
view from lunch at gemini bridges
single track near gemini bridges
dead horse point state park
from vegas to moab//loud leggings in the desert
dead horse point
riding new trails at dead horse point
near monitor and merrimac
riding over the tiniest arch
view from lunch at klondike bluffs
cocktails at the sunset grill//cheesy and fabulous