Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Moab, Feb 7-9

I got to check an item off my bucket list last weekend, and it was everything I hoped it would be. We drove out to Moab Friday, camped two nights, hiked all over the place and enjoyed the beauty of Arches National Park with snow on the ground. Yep, CHECK!!

The entire weekend I felt like Luigi (the yellow Fiat 500) in this scene.. I kept saying to Karla, "punch me Guido!!" It was that awesome.

Keep in mind while the weather was warm(ish) in Moab, it's definitely winter here in Colorado. The previous two mornings were -10F, with highs in the single digits. No camping for us here! Karla worked extra so we could head out before 1pm on Friday. Good thing, I knew I-70 and Vail Pass would be a bit interesting due to weather. Mountains have had days upon days of snow and it was supposed to continue all weekend.

Beauty in Georgetown

Here we go up Vail Pass! 10,662' at the summit.

Thanks to our Subaru with studded snow tires, we could cautiously enjoy this!

Check out the massive icicles!

Got down on the other side of the divide safe and sound.

Karla gets a little funky on Dramamine...

I love snow. It does amazing things to landscapes.

"It's like Christmas!" Karla says

Glenwood Canyon. With snow. Oh yeah.



Closer and closer we inch...

Had ourselves a nice sunset

Big sky

Got into Moab to a campsite I'd hoped would be open in the Sand Flats Recreation Area (BLM land). I couldn't believe it wasn't taken! There was one other group in this one campground, they were gone the next day and we had the whole place to ourselves. With lows in the upper 20s and highs in the upper 40s and low 50s I thought for sure this place would be busier, even though it was a bit breezy here and there... Oh well!! ;-)

We knew this place would be awesome, but it was kinda dark when we pulled in. Check out what we awoke to Saturday morning! (I'm back there making breakfast)


Subaru ad? (Karla's got some camera skills!!)

 Happy campers


Pit toilet was funny.... Even had toilet paper! No roof though.

Caught this guy yabbering into our campsite. Perhaps he was enjoying the echo?

Time to head to Arches! While we've been to the park many times on our motorcycles in the fall, the park is super busy then and we never did any of the hikes. Well, it's February, Moab is a relative ghost town, so today's the day!

Back down to Moab

Back up into Arches National Park! Weird, first time either of us have been here in a car... We kept saying to each other how it was so odd to not be able to see everything! That dang roof and A pillars kept getting in the way. :-p The heated seats were nice though.

LaSal Mountain was beautiful, socked in almost all day

The snow? Well, it changed everything. Wow.

Ok this was a first... Cows in Arches? Escapees??

I love crows

Got all the way back to the back of the park next to the campground. Wanted to hike out to see Landscape Arch before it decides to fall down!

Amazing. Hardly any other people. I couldn't believe it. Look what you all are missing!!

What goes up must come down!

Cool Juniper tree

There it is! Landscape Arch, the longest natural span arch in the world. A huge rockfall in 1991 (one piece was over 70 feet long!) means you can't walk up under it anymore, but still amazing. Check out the sign at the arch, seems someone was lucky and caught a photo!

I think it's Partitian Arch you can see from here too.

Actually quite a few more arches you can hike out to see, but it's a bit of a haul with plenty of scrambling so we opted to just fine a place out of the wind and in the sun for lunch. Gotta leave something for next time anyway!

Yeah, that's a view!

Can you see the sun reflecting off the water dripping from the arch? I was so transfixed I almost forgot to eat. Photos wouldn't catch it, here's a video:

Headed back, with a little detour to see two more arches.

Love this picture

Tunnel Arch

Yep, still happy campers!

Pine Tree arch was next, and proved to be incredibly difficult to photograph in the light conditions!

Neat little arch, tucked into this wedge of 2 walls

Back to the trailhead!

What's up there?

"Just a big crack," Karla says...

A slight change in the sun's pitch makes a huge difference in color out here!

I wanted to hike up to the Delicate Arch for sunset, so we had a little time to kill. Was reading the free visitor's guide and hey look, there's a dirt road! Goes out to Klondike Bluffs. Says acceptable for 2WD unless there's been heavy rain. Lets check it out!

Gotta get some Dash glamour shots:

Or just the scenery if you prefer...

We maaaaaay have had a little fun... (Word of caution, don't try this without a decent skidplate!)

More pictures as we head back towards the Delicate Arch trailhead

Subaru green and Moab mud compliment each other well!

Dash says this is his better side

Look at all the colors!

The Delicate Arch trailhead is at Wolfe Ranch, the Wolfe family raised cattle in the area from 1888-1910. This log house and root cellar was built in 1906, pretty cool. They did some restoration work in 2012 using period specific materials, it looks great.

Gotta get our butts up that, it's steeper than it looks!

Held the camera on the horizontal for this one, gives you an idea of some of the steep spots. Fun hike!

Karla found the delicate arch! LOL!

Necco Wafers anyone?

Trail marked by cairns (aka little rock piles)

Getting closer....

Color is kinda funky, but used the panorama feature to try and capture the swirly rock

Looking back

More up... That's a little slippy!

The light is getting good! We could hear "ooohs" and "aaahhs" from folks just around the corner watching the arch.

Came around the corner and.... BOOM! 


Of course the first thing you notice is the arch, but a close second was the wind! Holy heck, hold on! We must've sat there for 45 minutes just watching the light change. I've heard in the spring/fall this place is absolutely CLOGGED with tourists and photographers with their tripods and big fancy cameras. We shared the sunset with maybe a dozen other people. Seriously! Moab, in February. DO IT!

Not sure what happened, but these 45 minutes were a big deal to me. One of my top 10 memories I think. Everything just clicked. Thank you Karla for taking this picture:

I took 22 photos of Delicate Arch. I won't bore you with all of them...


Light kept changing, I kept taking pictures.

Before it got too dark we wanted another photo of ourselves with the arch.... 

Test photo #1 (ROFLMAO!!!):

Operator error... Dumbass camera operator had it zoomed in... oops

Test photo #2 (LOL our heads grew an arch!):

Finally got it!!

Right... Time to head down before complete darkness fell. We had flashlights, but both prefer natural light. Step one, apply studs! HA!

It's all downhill from here!!

We had a campfire and a bottle of wine calling our names... Perfect end to a perfect day!

Want to see where we hiked Saturday? We had the SPOT with us, it's surprisingly accurate!

Did you get enough pictures of our campsite? Cause I took a few more Sunday morning... The light has such a dramatic effect on color here, the same place never seems to look the same twice!

See what I mean?? Wait 10 minutes and....

Got ourselves all packed up and ready to go.

Sign at the entrance to our little campground. Subaru AWD totally counts. ;)

More Dash glamour

Karla even spiffed up his front plate!

We had originally hoped to hike another arch outside the park before heading home, but a look at the weather in the Rockies had us reconsider... Good thing, cause they closed I-70 at Vail Pass not long after we got through! Not far outside of Moab it started to rain, so we were happy to be heading home.

LOL, it never stops with Karla!! Funniest person I know!

The wet weather made for more dramatic photos, albeit a bit hard to capture.

A sign of things to come. Get it? A sign? *ahyuck

Glenwood Canyon looks just as amazing heading west, especially since you can better see the different heights of the lanes!! So neat.

Nope, still not tired of this color!

Truckers doing their duty

Ah look, a lane just for us!!

Lots of snow up here


Here's your sign!

Wind made some pictures tricky

"Speed limit snow."

Got ourselves over the pass. Down we go. 

We knew the traffic would be disastrous from Silverthorne to the tunnel (atleast). Anyone who got stuck in that mess completely ignored all the news reports and CDOT warning of this happening. Seriously people, lets be smart about this... Our plan was to meet up with some local friends in Silverthorne for dinner with the option to crash on someone's floor if traffic didn't get moving again. Stopped traffic had us hop off in Frisco and make our way around the reservoir to Silverthorne. Took us just over an hour to go 13 miles, but a beautiful drive! The Dam Road was closed due to weather, that's the one that parallels the interstate. So 'round we went on the southeast side!

View Larger Map

Proper snowstorm that's for sure!

Got off the reservoir road to find the main road that would cross 70 and take us to Silverthorne was completely stopped. So we hopped off again to try the residential roads. Hehehehe weeeee. This little Fit aaaalmost made it up this hill! Everyone had to get out of the way as the Pilot behind it started sliding back down as soon as he stopped though. Look out! Massive land barge out of control! (See it turning into the driveway to the right to get turned around?)

We were totally rooting for the Fit all the way!! Unfortunately it was not to be. We headed up once he came back down, there was a teeny weeny bump up there that stopped his forward progress completely. Poor little Fit.

Dash of course walked right up. ;)

Ok that was all the residential road we could do on that side, but the main road is still stopped. Lets hop to the other side! Seems they don't plow much over here. Hmmm, this is going the right direction...

Ha, nope that was wrong. Turned around, came back up and down some big hills and found the right small road! Oh look, there's I-70. We're having so much more fun than they are!!

Don't get on the interstate! Really! How far exactly do you think you're gonna get?? *face palm

Made our way over to the new Murdoch's in Silverthorne. Karla had been up twice in the last 4 weeks helping set up. It was fantastic on the inside, certainly a job well done.

After wandering around the store a bit we got a hold of our friend Donovan. He used to work with Karla in Westminster, but got a transfer up here. I was looking forward to hanging out with him again, great guy. Back to the car, which had to be scraped again...

Found sanctuary in a local bar, but only after I realized I couldn't find my phone... Located it under the snow in the Murdoch's lot!! You've never laughed until you've heard my ringtone for Karla blasting from a few inches under fresh snow... Imagine us scrambling around the parking lot when we first heard it!! LOL!!

Thanks to my Otterbox case the phone is just fine. Phew.

Dash waits patiently for us

Oh yeah. That'll do. (ha, just after this Karla says, "can I have my beer now please?!?!" LOL)

Waiting for traffic to improve... Waiting... Waiting... By 9:30pm I was getting mixed reports online about what was going on. Thankfully the couple at the table next to us had just come from 70 and told us not to bother. Still 4 hours to go the 12 miles to the tunnel, and backed up beyond that too. They would be staying with a friend overnight. Donovan is a kind man and let us crash on his floor, after we picked up a six pack and watched the mid season premier of The Walking Dead!! Once again, we were having soooo much more fun than those stuck on 70!

4am came way too soon, but it's hard for us not to wake up excited when there's so much beautiful snow! We packed up and I may have bounced out to the car. A gas station stop for caffeine and breakfast, complete with entertainment. Karla said when she was up here the two times recently she noticed they don't even bother with plows in most of the parking lots. Loaders of all sizes get the duty instead. Awesome!

Yeah, deep snow on the back streets and parking lots. Sweet.

On the drive up to the tunnel and back down the other side I could see why there was so much trouble the night before. Man that was icy, especially in the wind whipped left hand lane that had been scraped bare. We preferred the snow on the right! I imagine a lot of FWD/RWD cars got stuck in the stop and go going up the hill to the tunnel. I still don't quite understand why chains or snow tires aren't required in these situations for them...

Hehe, did I mention she's funny??

The news and weather I checked this morning was spot on, we were about to drop into a thick fog bank sitting over the city!

Pictures weren't really working...


As we got closer to the house and it was a bit lighter, opted to try a photo or two again:

There we go! We only get fog a few times a year in Denver, so it's a neat experience instead of a total hassle.



Dash walk around for those interested

The laundry is done, food put away, Dash is well, raunchy, and camping gear is still waiting to be sorted. I couldn't help but relive the weekend writing this as soon as possible. What an amazing time. 

All 287 photos here if you didn't get your fill. ;)

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