Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Chris photographs the Milky Way in Arches National Park

I hadn't been back to Moab, UT in years.  A trip there in 2011 got side tracked so I was determined to get there this year.   It was here, back in the late 1990s, that Lin and I hosted a "boomerang" with our Boomer RV  group.  It was such a hit, that boomerangs were held there for several more years, with others hosting as Lin and I had plans for such places as Newfoundland and Alaska.

A lot has changed.  The town is almost unrecognizable with dozens of hotels, motels, RV parks, and lots more eateries.  The "new" brewery was off by itself then and is now surrounded by other businesses. The free, dispersed camping area, where our group parked is now a formal campground.  I knew that it had become a campground with designated sites and a minimal fee.  But I was appalled when I drove out there to find it packed.  There is a group campsite, but even the individual sites were filled with groups; ten to twelve tents to a campsite.  It was a bit too crowded for me.

But I had reserved a spot in an RV park this time for a couple of reasons.  Chris was flying in to Grand Junction, CO and we had several days planned with local geologists and photographers.  I didn't want to find looking for a site when we had other things planned.  And an electrical hookup was handy when we were getting home late, after the solar quit charging, and leaving before daylight.

Like Yellowstone, the national parks of this region, Arches and Canyonlands, have seen a huge increase in visitors.  Once quiet places are now busy.  I am glad we chose not to rent a 4 wheel vehicle and go into the back-country as the number of off road type vehicles has exploded and the experience would not have resembled the one Lin and I had in our little 4x4 Suzuki Sidekick.

But despite the greater numbers of businesses and people, it is still a spectacular region and we had fun exploring.  Chris did have an unfortunate experience with his teeth, resulting in an emergency dental trip, a pulled tooth and antibiotics and pain killers.  But by the second day it had eased enough for him to be out exploring again.

We spent two fun days with Tamsin McCormick, geologist, of Moab Geotours\Plateau Restoration. She took us to a number of spots to learn about the local geology and led us into the Fiery Furnace, a maze of pinnacles and slot canyons where a guide is recommended as it is easy to get lost.

Remember you can click on a photo to see them all as a slide show and in larger format.  Captions will not show but you can always come back to this format to see the ones of interest to you.
Chris and Tamsin are captured in a reflection.  These small pools appear after a rain and dry quickly.  We were lucky to have had some rain

Ripple patterns in the red dirt

In the Fiery Furnace, following narrow slots through the rock formations.

This shot and the next three were taken from Dead Horse Point State Park which is in the same region as Arches and Canyonlands.  When we arrived at this point, nothing was visible below.  As we watched, the clouds and mist lifted, leaving these scenes.

Cryptobiotic soil is a living crust.  This ground cover, seen here with a cactus, is made of of fungi, lichen, cyanobacteria and moss.  It prevents water and wind erosion and enriches the soil to help other desert plants grow.

We also spent time on our own, exploring and photographing.  And we went out with Jon Fuller, local photographer.  One of our goals was some night star shooting.

The rest of the photos are a sample of what we did during the Moab stay.

The loop drive thru the La Sal Mountains took us though a number of aspen groves and some great vistas.  This photo and next two are from that loop drive.

Petroglyphs along the Colorado River, close to our old boondocking site.