We moved further to the next National Park, heading North before winter (and cold) comes. Without knowing the exact locations where the park would be and what main city is next to it, we got down into Moab, after a long winding road crossing a few mountains. If that road was in Europe it would probably go through a tunnel to save about 73km.
I didn’t know about it, but Moab seems to be a base camp for a lot of off-road activities. We’ve seen numerous cars carrying a lot of off-road bicycles, motorcycles and a lot of off-road vehicles I can’t probably name. According to the leaflet we got from the information center, one could travel about 600miles of off-road trails around the city. And therefore, the city’s most prosperous business is probably the auto repair shops.
Close to Moab you can find Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, as well as a smaller state park – Dead Horse Point State Park. We spent a few days in Moab, probably one or two more than initially planned, due to some unforeseen circumstances. We didn’t regret it though. The first challenge always is to find a place to park the car and sleep. If we visit cities we stay with couchsurfers or in rare cases, we park and sleep in some Walmart parking lot (it’s allowed, it’s free, and we even have neighbors). The challenge is to avoid all the campsites (if we spent $10-$20 for every night we needed to sleep, we’d be broke by now) and all the fee areas, as well as parking legally overnight. For Moab we had to drive about 15miles North till we found a road where a lot of RV’s and cars would go, apparently to nowhere. The car took a few bumps, crossed a few mud patches and landed on our place to sleep for a few nights. Definitely not the popular 4×4 there, but we managed nicely.
We first visited the Arches National Park, after a few days of rain. There were quite a lot of visitors, despite the late October weather. As we entered the visitor center, Lucy was asked if she knew what she wanted to see, so she replied “the arches”. Probably prepared for this type answer, the assistant quickly asked “which ones? there are about 200!” We came to find out there were just a few famous ones, but the whole area has quite some interesting arches. We had a first sunny day when we hiked a longer trail, of about 8 miles, to see a bunch of arches ‘gathered’ in a small area – like the Skyline Arch, Navajo Arch, Double O Arch or the small Private Arch. We came back stopping at all the overlooks and places of interest along the way. By know we knew that most parks here require a car to drive around, and have paved paths to hike. The only place we didn’t go, due to a closed road, was the Delicate Arch. Apparently the recent rains washed away the road (or maybe the paved path there) and they closed the area.
The sunset waited for us to finish hiking around the last part of the arches: “the Windows” – another area of arches, isolated from the rest, interesting mostly because of the Double Arch, which seems like the arches of a huge cathedral where the rooftop collapsed. We had a full day, not too hot, not too cold either, with a short shower at noon, right after we got back from the trail. The second night, however, was a different story – the brightest lightnings I ever saw were upon us with a loud army of galloping thunders. Didn’t last too long till we fell asleep. The day was lovely and the views pretty calm. No need to hike up or down a lot, though we had some small challenges, and the views were really nice. I felt like the park is not amazing for its grandeur, but for the warm colors, and the feeling of isolation from everything else. I learnt the arches are formed differently than the bridges and they continue to erode till they will eventually collapse.