Last year’s couples trip to Moab has apparently become an annual thing. On President’s Day weekend this year Traci and I joined up with Chris and Dollie and headed for Moab again, using a hotel in town as our basecamp. We arrived Friday evening and hit the liquor store for a little beer before heading to Moab Diner for dinner. On Saturday morning we were up early-ish and looking on my laptop for something to do. We settled on a trip to Canyonlands via Long Canyon. Driving along Potash Road, we stopped to visit some rock art that I’d been wanting to see for years. I’ve driven past it many times but this time we made plans to stop. It had been drizzling all morning but it wasn’t wet enough to put a damper on our plans…yet.
After visiting the rock art along Potash Road, we continued and turned up Long Canyon. I’d done zero research and didn’t know what to expect from the road. It started out being easy enough–a graded road that wasn’t too muddy despite the rain. We’d driven Traci’s Honda Pilot ’cause I hadn’t planned on any serious 4-wheeling. Soon, though, the tires became loaded with wet clay and I became worried about making it all the way up the canyon. Just before the famous boulder leaning over the road, I had serious concerns about sliding off the road and down the steep embankment below. Everyone got out of the vehicle and left me alone to navigate a gnarly washout just before the leaning boulder. On the first attempt the Honda slid into a big hole that I couldn’t climb forward out of, so I backed up and gave it another shot. The second try was successful, which left only a little more of the clay road surface to ascend before the terrain became sandy and less slippery. I made it beyond the slippery part and approached a section of the road called Pucker Pass. The road base was sandy so traction wasn’t much of an issue in the rain, but it was a steep climb and the Honda only has AWD with no low range. Everyone else was still walking the road, and Chris filled in a couple of low spots with rocks. The Little Honda gave it everything she’s got and managed to make the climb look effortless, though in reality I had the pedal on the floor and the Pilot barely made it up the steep, narrow chute.
Feeling relief at having finally made it to the top of Long Canyon, we pressed onward toward the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. We spent much of the day there doing “touristy” stuff, visiting many of the overlooks. Traci’s knee problems prevented her from doing much hiking, so she waited in the car while Chris, Dollie, and I made the short hike to Upheaval Dome. We left Canyonlands with part of the afternoon still remaining, so we visited the pictographs near Bartlett Flat and then drove slowly through Sevenmile Canyon. There, I spotted some petroglyphs that I hadn’t noticed before and so I climbed up for a closer look. We retired to Moab for the evening and ate dinner at the Atomic before hitting the hot tub at the hotel.
It was overcast on Sunday but without much rain. We decided to visit Kane Creek again to see some rock art we’d missed on last year’s trip. At Hunter Canyon the group hiked as far as the arch, and Chris and I scrambled up to get a closer look at the arch and found a geocache nearby. On the way back down Kane Creek we stopped to hike to the Moab Maiden petroglyph and a nearby granary and pit houses. Traci wasn’t up for the hike so she drove back to town and grabbed some lunch for the group while the rest of us hiked. The timing was nearly perfect, as she returned just as we were descending toward the parking area.
After lunch we took the long way home via Highway 128. We drove up Onion Creek just far enough to find a geocache there. The road was wet but not too muddy, and the creek crossings helped to wash some of the previous day’s mud off the undercarriage. We visited Dewey Bridge and some rock art along the highway just a little farther north, then made a quick tour of Cisco before jumping on the interstate toward home. It rained hard enough along the way to finish washing all the mud off the car–the Little Honda’s badge of honor was gone by the time we rolled into the driveway.
Photo Gallery: Prez Weekend in Moab