What 42X is all about

Just as it seems my iPhone is the best camera I’ve got, the major limitation is that it’s all wide-angle. Yes, it has image stabilization and anti-barrel-distortion, But I missed a good long telephoto lens which is as necessary as a polarizer in desert country. To scratch that itch, I procured a so-called Supertelephoto camera that are so trendy lately, a Nikon P520. I purposely got a fairly cheap camera so as not to be worried if I throw it in my backpack and have a mountain bike event! It takes good pictures but not great. Next time I will choose better. For a $100 more I could have gotten a Panasonic Lumix with a Leica lens. Caveat emptor =:->

Move over, rafting! It’s biking time!

It’s early in the morning. It’s nippy; almost cool. A month ago you HAD to start biking this early and get back by noon. Otherwise you ran the risk of heat exhaustion or something worse. Running out of water, anyway.

The smoke is nearly gone. I just returned from California and let me tell you, it was smoky! Nevada is even worse. Smoke stays there like an inversion (at least the northern part of Nevada).

So, it’s safe to hike, bike and four-wheel around here now. Take a deep breath!

The Ants Are Back!

May this not discourage anybody from visiting Moab this weekend, but…

We’re being loved to death. It started two years ago, after the Moab Area Travel Council launched a nationwide advertising strategy to increase tourism in the canyon country. It worked. Well, I agree we’re living in a very picturesque and unique place, and visual advertising is especially effective in this area. I’ve been selling web pages to businesses here for 21 years so it’s no secret that pictures sell. But it’s worked too well. Time to back off.

Two years ago, that memorable and fateful Memorial Day weekend caused the Utah Highway Patrol to close the entrance to Arches National Park because the lines of cars were a traffic hazard. The latest newspaper quotes the UHP to expect 45 minutes to cross town – about three miles. [click here for story].

Well, apparently the Travel Council is still pumping 2.7 million dollars a year into ads. Apparently we don;’t have enough traffic yet. Is it time to back off? Or does the adventure-thirsty public entitled to their day in traffic?

It’s ironic that all those people want one thing. A little solitude in the backscape so close yet so far away.

PS: As I write this, a semi truck drives down our obvious residential street. Not appropriate! This is the first and definitely not the last I’ve seen in this neighborhood.

New Arches Webcam Link

This image may come in handy for you future visitors to Arches National Park this season. It depicts the scene across the highway from the entrance. When the line gets too long, the highway department closes the park! Check here to see if that will be a problem when you are entering.

International Speaker has Important Message

We are lucky to have Frank Angeles to speak here in Moab. He’s making a special trip from Littleton, not just stopping over. His message is one of coping and healing from a monstrous act of insanity. My imagination is grossed out quickly even thinking about it. Plan to be here if you want inspiring insight to strength and bravery.

River rafters among the best in the world

I was browsing all the reviews of Moab river rafters recently doing some statistics for one of my clients, and noticed how many reviews our rafting companies have (thousands) and the high ratings they get. That prompted me to look around the globe for other hot areas. Not many other locales get this much action.

Does anyone out there know if there’s a page I can find out the volume of rafting activity? That would be interesting!

September is Beautiful Sky Month

Or at least prettier than usual. Folks who have been to Utah feel the sky is deeper blue than many other places. However, this time of year brings stupendous cloud formations and double rainbows. Here’s a shot from yesterday in downtown Moab.

Eclipse Day Fun

I decided to hang out at the Arches National Park visitor center during the eclipse. I figured correctly that they would have interpretive rangers to answer questions, nifty equipment, and exotic tourists to muse. This gizmo projects the sun on the inside of a box for a whole group to see. ↓

Moab was in the 80% zone and didn’t have real dramatic effects. The daylight went fuzzy, slightly yellow and hazy. That was about it.

Omigod! Other park closures.

Park Closures in effect now or soon.

Too Cute

We got ours from the Grand County Library and watched it for our anniversary.


Well, it has nothing to do with Moab, but my wife and I have a tradition and we thought we’d pass it along…

Flood Closure Notice

FYI from our Canyonlands Backcountry Reservation Office…..it is that time of year again….wanted you to know.


Mary M. Wilson
Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services
Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

ALERT: As of today May 15, 2017, the west side of the White Rim Road between the Potato Bottom and Labyrinth campsites is impassable due to flooding by the Green River during spring run-off. Parties traveling around the White Rim from the east side will not be able to exit the park via Mineral Bottom. We do not know how long it will remain impassable. If your trip has you entering or exiting through this area, please plan accordingly.

It is imperative that you determine current road and river conditions immediately prior to your trip start date in person at the Island in the Sky Visitor Center or by phone (435) 259-4712. Or you may contact the park Backcountry Office at canyres@nps.gov. It may be possible to change your trip itinerary if other sites are available.

The current flow on the Green River is 20,000 cfs and will most likely remain flooded at levels as low as 14,000 cfs.

Dinosaur Diamond isn’t baseball…

So I finally got a chance to see the new dinosaur place just north of town. Now I see why it took a long time to build – it’s quite elaborate. Besides the obvious scientific research it took to recreate these critters, they’ve inserted some drama into the displays as well. Particularly cool was the aquarium exhibit (see video excerpt) I enjoyed the time spent there and will go again.

I recently went through the northern parts of the Dinosaur Diamond (The Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway is a 512-mile-long National Scenic Byway in the U.S. states of Utah and Colorado. The highway forms a diamond-shaped loop with vertices at Moab, Helper, Vernal and Grand Junction. – Wikipedia Article about Dinosaur Diamond) and saw how popular the whole subject of dinosaurs is.

Getting the Most!

Here’s a recent article found on LifeHacker.com that provides some wisdom. I pass it on for all you NPS afficionados.

Next week is National Park Week, which means free entry for you to national parks for the next two weekends. If you have a national park near you, here’s what you can do to get the most out of your free visit.

If you’re not sure whether there’s a national park nearby, check Find Your Park, which is run by the National Park Service. Even if you aren’t near a popular park like Yosemite, there are a lot of smaller gems that might be in your area. Once you’ve chosen which park you want to visit for free over the next couple weekends, plan your trip.

  • Figure out what you want to see or where you want to hike. Resources like Chimani (app that specializes in parks), the National Park Service’s itinerary index, or recommendations from friends and family help you find the best spots to visit.
  • Know how to avoid crowds, if that’s what you want. Free entry means that more people are likely to be visiting the parks at the same time as you. TomTom has partnered with the National Park Service to show you paths that are less hiked—literally the road less traveled—and therefore less likely to be swarming with people. You can also beat crowds by getting an early start and actually walking more than a mile or two on the popular trails (as most people drop off rapidly at that point).
  • Get your kids involved. If you’re bringing kids along, get them engaged by using the Junior Rangers Program to get them interested in nature.
  • Find the most stunning spots to take in the views (and snap a photo). A former National Geographic photographer lays out both the best hidden spots in national parks and the most visually breathtaking spots (there’s some overlap, unsurprisingly).
  • Be prepared for the weather. Make sure you’re dressed properly (layers are a good thing) and have sun, wind, or rain protection so that you can enjoy your time at the park.

No matter which park you end up visiting during National Park Week, spend a little time preparing and you’ll have a much better time in the great outdoors.

Arches Road Construction Info

Winter is close to over and then begins Orange Cone Season. Here’s the scoop on the National Parks’ construction schedules for this year, 2017.


And for download – Arches National Park News Releases

  1. Road Construction Update for Arches National Park
  2. Night Time Closure Planned During Major Road Construction Project in Arches National Park
  3. Arches “3R” Road Construction Q & As

Also, here’s the 1610 AM radio recording now playing from the NPS. Stay tuned to this weblog for other developments.


We’re Glad It’s Over@!


I just can’t believe how a candidate from the “private sector” could beat one of the most powerful political machines in history. I’m not saying he’ll be any better, but just the fact that he isn’t a politician [by birth] should make this term INTERESTING.

That said, I hope the Soros riots end soon. It isn’t good…

Town’s a Runaway Train

IMG_1304Hi, all. I’ve needed to take a quick trip to California recently. It’s always interesting to see how other areas deal with the narrow band of tourism during the “season.” Moab is so out of control during the peak times. An example is the link Arches National Park had to put on their website so visitors can see how backed up the traffic is. [It’s here]

I can tell you that I’ve been impressed with South Dakota and all it’s attractions, but it’s an ant hill just like Moab. The motel rooms are expensive and hard to find, even though they are plentiful. The hired help is polite but overwhelmed. Visitors are impatient because they understandably need some service.

But more recently we went through Ely, Nevada. That poor town is just off the grid, and has turned into a fixer upper. One bright light is the Hotel Nevada, and century-old relic of the silver mining boom. I can visualize vaudeville shows going on back then. For what it’s worth, the rooms are cheap and fancy, and plentiful. We look forward to staying. Bonus: there are no attractions around there!


Happy Birthday, National Parks!

arches150My, how time flies! It’s been 100 years since the stalwart NPS was implemented. Not to be confused with the first national park, Yellowstone, in 1872, or Arches in 1971, but a date to remember anyway. There are films and fairs today at the visitor center, so stop by the park or at the Moab Information center and Main and Center streets to get details.

Most important! Have fun today!

Perfect day for Fiery Furnace!



Many consider this a challenging trail, but worth every step. It is so easy to get lost in this maze that you need a guide to get through (the white hat). Fitness permitting, the hike takes 3 hrs. for the 2 miles. Group size is limited and there is a fee of $16 or less.



A most influential citizen




Before Charlie Steen, the Uranium King (no relation to Charlie Sheen) discovered a massive vein of uranium, Moab’s vital industry was cattle. It is estimated his find netted him and his investors over $75,000,000 in 1950 dollars! Want that in 2016 dollars? Add a zero!

If you want to read about this pioneer, click here.

It’s just an intense movie!

Holy Smoke! This is one of the most intense movies I have ever seen. Here’s a full version of Masters of Stone V on Vimeo. I can’t personally relate to the athlete’s antics, but they’re the best in the world, so who am I to disagree? Anyway, the music alone is worth the watch. Obscure but potent musicians like Harvey Mandell and Jason Becker. Enjoy…

Click here to go to Masters of Stone.stephdavis

By the way, number six is just out. masters6

Our Dark Sky!


MOAB, Utah (AP) — Canyonlands National Park in eastern Utah is being recognized for its dark skies and lack of light pollution. Park officials say Canyonlands was named as an “International Dark Sky Park” by the Arizona-based International Dark-Sky Association. It’s one of 26 parks recognized by the group for park efforts to preserve views of the night sky.

Pets and Arches


This is good information to know:

  • Pets are not allowed on any hiking trails or in the backcountry.
  • Pets must be on leash at all times when outside your vehicle.
  • Pets may be walked on roads, in paring lots and in the Devils Garden Campground.
  • Pets must not be left unattended except in paid-for campsites at Devils Garden. Excessive noice may be cause for removal.


The desert can be deadly for pets. Car temperatures rise quickly in the sun, even on cool days. Your pet can easily suffer brain damage or die of heat exhaustion. If you are leaving a pet in a car, crack the windows as much as possible and leave water to drink. We recommend you not leave pets in the car at all when temperatures are obove 645 degrees, even with the windows cracked.

Three kennels are available in Moab:

  1. Desert Doggie Daycare
    4890 Sunny Acres Lane – (435) 259-4841
  2. Daren’s Canine Campground
    2781 s. Roberts Drive – (435) 259-7922
  3. Moab Veterinary Clinic
    4575 Spanish Valley Drive – (435) 259-8710

The Needles Overlook

Don't miss this attraction on your way south of Moab. It may be 40 miles out of your way, but a magnificent diversion. Click on each of these photos to see a bigger version.



Arches visits up 26%

So, okay, Arches National Park is an amazing place. Are we loving it to death? Probably not yet, but there are proposals afoot to manage the crowds. Contact your local park service, or stay tuned here. They want our input, and it's important. Thanks!


Nobody goes there any more; its too crowded!

Arches Traffic & Travel Tips

A road sign reading "slow congested area" with cars parked on the shoulder.

Between March and October, it can be difficult to find parking. (NPS Photo)

Visitation to Arches has climbed steadily for years, reaching one million visitors for the first time in 2010. During high visitation, parking is limited at all destinations, and popular trailheads like Delicate Arch and Devils Garden regularly fill for hours at a time, especially on weekends and holidays.

There are a few alternatives to driving your car in Arches, but if you're planning to drive, then this page is for you.

Where the Crowds Are

From March through October, visitation at Arches is extremely high. During high visitation, there may be significant delays entering the park, and once inside, you can expect increased travel times and congestion along the scenic drive. Long lines may form at the entrance gate. If the entrance road is backed up, you may not stop on the highway: it is against the law. (Utah Code 41-6a-1401) Come back at another time, or consider visiting other nearby attractions.

Parking lots at popular trailheads and viewpoints such as Devils Garden, Delicate Arch/Wolfe Ranch and The Windows are usually full between 9 am and 4 pm. In 2015, construction at the Delicate Arch / Wolfe Ranch trailhead will mean significantly reduced parking. You might have to plan on hiking elsewhere.

If you do find a parking spot and go for a hike, expect to see a lot of other people on the trail. It is not uncommon for hundreds of people to visit Delicate Arch at sunset. The following holidays and weekends are especially busy:

  1. Easter week (date varies – usually in April)
  2. Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
  3. Labor Day (first Monday in September)
  4. Utah Education Association break (4 days in October, visit www.myuea.org for details)

When parking lots are full, please remember:

  • Park in designated areas only.
  • Do not drive off roads.
  • If a lot is full, do not wait for spots to open; move on and try again later.
  • Never park on vegetation or in a manner that blocks traffic.
  • Don't block the flow of traffic by waiting for a parking spot.

How to Avoid the Crowds

  • Avoid visiting on the holidays/weekends listed above.
  • Early morning (sunrise) is always less busy than sunset. To beat the crowds, try entering the park by 8 am, though you may encounter groups of early-morning photographers at some destinations.
  • Carpool if you can. Consider hiring a company to shuttle you to and from the park (visitwww.discovermoab.com to see what's available).
  • Parking for oversize vehicles (RVs, trailers) is extremely limited. Leave oversized vehicles in town, or in the visitor center parking lot.

This articles is found at the official NPS website here: