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!

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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.

 

 


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.


A most influential citizen

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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!

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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

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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.

W A R N I N G

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.

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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!

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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: 
http://www.nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/traffic.htm

What it is like in other places?

We're having fun visiting inlaws but we didn't go to the East coast. We stopped by Lake Superior instead, finding it more hospitable. It's 7 degrees and flurrying, but we have power and water and warm heaters. Will be good to be home in Moab soon and shovelling some sunshine…

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Enjoy living whereever you do it! You are blessed.


Weather Report

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No, not THE Weather Report. Notwithstanding the antics of arguably the greatest expired electric bassist that ever lived, we are having great weather in Moab!  It's shorts and Tee-shirt weather in the afternoons, just like it was in the 70s. Nights are still just below freezing. The last couple of years were bitter cold this time of year (below zero) and, well, they could be in a few weeks. I'll let you know.


The Beauty of Creation


We all know our souls need to see beautiful things. Some of us also know we need that sense of being connected to something larger than us. Almost everyone senses when their spirit is touched by that creator. It can't be expressed any better than this ancient writing:

   Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth,
who has set your glory above the heavens!
   From the lips of babes and infants you have established strength,
because of your adversaries, that you might silence the enemy and
the avenger.
   When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;
   what is man, that you think of him?
What is the son of man, that you care for him?
   For you have made him a little lower than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
   You make him ruler over the works of your hands.
You have put all things under his feet:
   All sheep and cattle,
yes, and the animals of the field,
   The birds of the sky, the fish of the sea,
and whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
   Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!




Snow on the Mountain

lasals2063Yep, even though it's still Fall, there's solid moisture in the air. For the record, it's around 20 degrees and clear. I'm glad it doesn't feel like the deep bone-chilling cold that you get on the coast.

My lawn is covered with a layer of big yellow leaves, and I'd better get them off before it snows over them. What's it like where you are?

 


 



“Being Kind is Cool”

Angel_sizedI just couldn't help it. I know this link isn't "Moab" but it touched me. When we feel sorry for ourselves for some reason, we should visit this world and do something in it. Seems every little act of generosity in this little neighborhood is visible, if not magnified. Thought I'd take you out of your bubble. There's a man out there, occupational therapist by day, photographer of the exiled at night, doing something. Enjoy getting out of your funk…

http://www.ryot.org/beautiful-photos-homeless-people/451489


Fall weather is upon us. We love it!

We recently had a week of downpours that cause some mudslides and flooding. Here's a video of my trip across town:

 
Although I shot this video before the most mud damage occured, you can see that our main street is not exactly imune to a strong storm's effects. 


Can this be wonderful news?

But first, a word from our sponsor…

Now then, the news! Just dug out today from the SLC newspaper:

 

Land Exchange To Boost Utah Recreation and Energy Development

A land exchange deal which would allow for a land trade between school lands and the Bureau of Land Management is close to finalization after nearly ten years of negotiations.

Corona Arch

The Bureau of Land Management acquired world-class recreation sites such as Corona Arch and Morning Glory Arch in a 60-million-acre land exchange with the State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.
Credit Bureau of Land Management

Under the exchange nearly 60 million acres of land, appraised at equal value, will be traded between the Utah School Institutional Trust Lands Administration and the BLM.

The BLM’s Megan Crandall said through the trade SITLA would receive 35,000 acres of land from the BLM in exchange for more than 25,000 acres in Uintah, Grand and San Juan counties.

“Through the exchange the Bureau of Land Management is going to get some wonderful lands with increased recreational opportunities, which is great," said Crandall. "But the state is also going to get some lands that have very high potential for energy development."

The land exchange was approved earlier this year and is now open to public inspection. SITLA Director John Andrews said after the comment period ends, concerns will be investigated before the deal moves to the legislature.

"Once the protest period is over, there are a couple of additional notices that the BLM has to file with the relevant congressional committees and then the only thing left to do is to exchange the title documents and record the deeds," said Andrews. 

Andrews expects the exchange to be finalized in early May.

 

Signs of Spring

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My wife and I drove up the River Road (Hwy 128) Sunday while it was raining, to see the waterfalls (I think we saw about 30) coming off the cliffs. We weren't alone. There were hundreds of gawkers enjoying this rare sight. These are the result of literal flash floods on top of the mesa rushing over the edge. Some day I'd like to see them from the top…

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Warm climate for a short time?

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Our weather has been splendid for the last couple weeks, with even some much-needed rain last weekend. Things are still muddy and dead-looking, but the trails are scattered with locals out taking their first-of-the-year hikes.

This is my favorite time of the year around town. It's just before the clouds of visitors come, but the weather is soooo inviting. Shopkeepers on Main Street are so cheerfully sweeping in front of their shops, waving at their neighbor/competitors in unbridled optimism. It's just a joy-filled time to reward us for all the back-breaking grinding work that "the season" brings. NOT THAT ANY OF US ARE COMPLAINING!

 


We Are Extreme

So I click on a random “amazing people” youtube link, and what’s the first scene? MOAB! I should never be surprised when it comes to adventurers in this area. The opening scene is probably the same footage that inspired a number of bungee jumpers to go off Corona Arch. Make this one full frame!


Timp Point, north rim of the Grand Canyon [casualty]

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I know I’m late reporting this, but I just found a sad news clip from project leaders of a new GRCA MTB trail. Originally, the idea was:

The USFS and IMBA are planning a trailwork session on the Rainbow Rim Trail, this work will include constructing a new section of trail. Ride and camp out at Timp Point on Saturday October 12th, trail work will be on Sunday October 13th. More details to follow.

The followup post on their facebook page consists of:

I’m sorry to report that due to the gov shut down, the Rainbow Rim trail work event will be postponed until spring 2014. Thanks to everyone that was planning on attending, I hope you can join us when we reschedule:(

and:

Sorry folks, as Melissa said, we have to postpone the trailwork session on the Rainbow Rim Trail for now, due to the government shutdown. We’ll send out an update with a rescheduled date, likely in 2014. Thanks.