Here it is at the start of February.
President’s Day Weekend arrives soon, and the unofficial start of the tourist season here in Moab and well-known places start to become popular.
But we are not quite there yet.
For now, we are still in the winter season. And as Joan tentatively builds her way up to backpacking trips involving scrambling, we can use the time to see well-known places that are accessible but no less stunning for their accessibility. But with fewer people.
Though I have not done this particular trip in over a decade, I still remember it well as I’ve done the initial part reasonably often in the past few years. But I never get tired of seeing what we can see.
And I always notice more details I have not seen during previous visits.
Or noticing entirely new portions on the canyon wall not seen previously.
Once we made our camp for the evening, we caught the well-known arch in the fading winter light.
We had enough time to get back to camp, start dinner, and enjoy the night sky with the usual nightcap of a hot drink and rum—a simple pleasure. But one we look forward to every weekend.
The hike out in the morning went quickly and easily with enough time to see another close-by favorite with its painted hand motif and views over to Needles, buttes on nearby BLM land, and the Abajos and the La Sal Mountains.
We may have backpacked out and back along a classic route—something perhaps not the most remote or most challenging to hike. But the way continues to form some of my favorite memories spent with Joan in the backcountry.