- DAY ONE Moab - Chicken Corners Trail, Gemini Arches Trail, Gemini Bridges, Pucker Pass (see story below)
- DAY TWO Moab - Monitor & Merrimac Buttes Trail, Mill Canyon, Bartlett Wash Trail, Pritchett Arch Trail, Arch in Lone Rock
- DAY THREE Moab - White Rim Trail
- OTHER ADVENTURES Cedar City Utah, Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Death Valley
DAY ONE: Monday,
September 15, 2003
First of all, Moab is a long way from home. After 1700 miles and two full days of traveling, we pulled into the schwanky Moab Valley RV and Camp Resort on Sunday afternoon. I believe we were the youngsters of the Resort and instantly became the talk and entertainment. It didn't help that we had huge "KILLBOY.com" stickers on each side of our trailer. But the RV Park offered good security and the "Nazi" resort managers kept the resort spotless, so we were happy.
Moab is absolutely beautiful - that is if you like endless vistas of sand and rock. The stone mountains surrounding the town turned colors during different times of the day - from orange to pink to deep red. Moab rests on the banks of the Colorado River in southeastern Utah. The Mormons settled it in the late 1870s. In the 1950s the area was mined for uranium and oil, which was eventually replaced with the current industry of potash mining. It's mostly a tourist area now, catering to mountain bikers and off-road nuts like us. It's also the gateway to Arches National Park to the north and Canyonlands National Park to the southwest. There are lots of tourists, but it's easy to escape the masses by traveling only a few miles.
Monday morning we were ready to get on the KLRs and scout the area. We started out with an easy route taking us on Kane Creek Road along the Colorado River. Pavement turned to dirt & rock as we made our way along the Hurrah Pass Trail. This trail was scenic and easy to ride as it wound through steep, twisting canyon walls on each side some with visible areas of ancient petroglyphs (carvings). The road became rougher as it descended into the Kane Creek Valley. We then climbed on a moderate road to Hurrah Pass, which offered spectacular views back into Kane Creek Canyon on one side and the Colorado River Canyon on the other. In the distance you could view the potash evaporation ponds. We continued on Chicken Corner Trail, descending steeply into the Colorado River Canyon. Here we encountered some radical twisting switchbacks on the rough rocky roadway. One small mistake and it was over the edge with a drop of several hundred feet. Arriving at the canyon bottom, it became sandy and several other trails branched off. We even rode by a Camel Ranch with a high metal stand next to the road for mounting your steed.
We continued for about ½ mile on Chicken Corners Trail before encountering a steep section of trail with extremely fine Utah sand. We both came to a quick stop and toppled over in slow motion. After a few minor repairs, we backtracked and tried Jackson Hole for a short distance. We finally decided that we were quite lost we backtracked to Moab on the same route, stopping at Hurrah Pass for a cliffside lunch and photos.
That afternoon we rode north out of Moab and took a left on Gemini Arches Trail. This rocky trail climbed rather steeply with some great views of red rock formations, Gooney Bird Rock, sandstone cliffs, far range views over to the La Sal Mountains, and the highlight of the trail - the twin arch of Gemini Bridges. Stopping at the parking area, you had to search out the arches. The trail is a white dotted line painted on the slick rock surface. You actually look down into the Gemini Bridges and walk across the two arches. The view is breathtaking and looking down into the crack makes your knees wobble.
We then traveled south on 313 and took a left on Long Canyon Trail. The Trail is also known as "Pucker Pass". Apparently the trail down the canyon was a lot more hair-raising than it is now. The first half of this trail was flat, easy gravel road. Then the trail descended steeply to the Canyon floor with some sharp, steep switchbacks. As the road dropped off in front of us Ron noticed a rock that was balancing on a tall spike over the canyon. It looked to be only a foot or so from the cliff edge and we stopped to see if we could jump over to the balancing rock for a photo. As we got closer the gap got wider - it was probably four feet over to the flat surface that was at least 12 feet wide, but the drop if you missed the jump was 500 feet straight down. And it sure looked like the rock could teeter. Talk about scary!
After a couple miles the trail goes underneath a huge slab of sandstone that fell from the high cliff face above. After going under the slab, the trail continues steeply down switchbacks to the canyon floor eventually finishing on the paved Potash Road (Utah 279). Potash road follows the Colorado River back to Moab. The road is lined with cliffs and we saw rock climbers picking their way up the cliffs. There were also some ancient petroglyphs on these cliffs.
What a fun day to start out our Moab adventure. We finished the day soaking in the huge hot tub with the oldsters who were still ogling at us. Of course we had a few cervasas to help plan for the next day's ride.