15. Weekend trip to Moab

Chalk this one up to the power of the 30×30 list because this trip was SOOOO close to never happening. The list prevailed though, and I’m so glad it did.  After 4.5 years in Colorado, we finally made the trek to Moab, UT. Quirky Moab is just across the Utah/Colorado border and its a fairly popular destination for weekend trips from Denver.  Attractions include two national parks, biking, rafting, climbing, and impressive scenery everywhere .

This was our first stop of the trip and another first for the Johnsons. We usually take the shorter and faster tunnel, but in the spirit of adventure we drove up and over Loveland Pass.

We arrived in Moab around 9:30pm, and it was just getting dark {weird huh}.  Ransom did so great in the car, so spirits were high all around.  On Saturday, we headed to Arches National Park first thing.  By first thing, I mean about 10am {vacation, people} and it was already 85 degrees and sunny.  This park is literally insane.  The views will knock your socks off from the minute you enter the park.

I can’t possibly use enough adjectives to adequately describe it.  AND, we were mostly confined to the car {1.5 year old in tow}.  There’s no telling what amazingness lies down the trails.  We did do a little hiking, but as I said, it was already super hot and August was still on antibiotics from a nasty illness.  Don’t they look cute though, baby on board and all?  This shot was near the Sand Dunes Arch, which is a perfect destination for people with children.  The big rocks provide shade and cool, and there’s lots of sand.

From there we hiked over to Broken Arch, an easy trek from the Sand Dunes Arch.  Here’s a shot of me in a totally unplanned “conquering adventurer” pose.  Naturally.

By this point we’d made it through a half gallon of gatorade.  We rounded out the visit with some car touring while renaming all the arches and monuments along the way – kind of a Rorschach mind game thing – i.e. “Look there’s Butt Rock!”.  And then we skipped right on back to the hotel for lunch and nap time.  While Ransom napped, I got some sun, peace, quiet, and alone time at the pool {heaven}.   By 5pm, everyone was awake and so we did the responsible thing – headed out for ice cream. And then on to the other national park – Canyonlands.  This shot was taken en route, after pulling over randomly for a diaper change.

We’re not in a park, this is just par for the course around Moab. you know.. yadda yadda yadda.

So we arrived at Canyonlands around 7pm.  This park is very large and we just barely scratched the surface.  BUT, even that little scratch was worth the $10 admission fee.

We drove from viewpoint to viewpoint in the area called “Islands in the Sky”, while singing “Islands in the Stream” and checking out as many different canyons as possible.  By this point, it was at least 8:30pm.  See what I mean about the late sunset?

We almost stayed in Saturday night, thinking we’d never really see too much in our sunset timeframe.  VERY glad we changed our minds because boy were we wrong.  Canyonlands was also markedly low on tourists which added to the ambiance.  That night, we didn’t have dinner until 10pm and Ransom was finally in bed around 11pm.  That is crazy late for him but we definitely learned a lesson this week –  Ransom is an awesome traveler.  He rolled right along on low sleep and random ice cream cones and meals of granola bars and dried cranberries.

Even the return trip back to Denver today was pretty easy breezy.  First we cruised through a scenic byway from Moab back to I-70.  It was lovely of course.  We also made a quick detour to Doc Holliday’s grave in Glenwood Springs, CO.


The only other notable occurrence was the inevitable I-70 traffic jam {with no reasonable explanation}.  Even with iphone realtime navigation and taking every possible back road, we were still delayed an hour or so.  This is such a quintessential Denver experience: having an incredible weekend and then having to sit in a major downer traffic mess.  Ah well, it was still a great weekend.

Moab is a place where you could easily spend weeks and do lots of crazy wild extreme things.  And I would love to.  However, if you only have a couple of days and a toddler with you who can’t yet mountain bike, its still worth it.  Go!


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About Mary-Hall

loyal southerner, exceedingly frugal, compulsive DIYer

2 responses to “15. Weekend trip to Moab”

  1. Momma Daniel says :

    Great pictures and travelogue M-H. Reminded me of that car commercial (don’t remember the make of car) where a young couple (almost as cute as you guys!) wander around among nature’s sculptures beeping the remote to find their car. Anyway, sounds like a great trip and reminds me of adventures i would take with Bethany as a tot. Relish these times!

  2. bethanybordeaux says :

    awww man…….you’ve added a new Bordeaux travel destination as well. 🙂 LOVE the photos.

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