A locals’ walk

A cold snap hit Moab, and some winter weather finally arrived. The brown peaks of the La Sals received a white coating of snow, and the temps went to 15F at night.

Though Joan and I have plenty of cold-weather gear and often enjoy this type of weather with a two-week trip coming up, it seemed prudent to stay home this weekend and enjoy our very local areas.

Having Friday free, I took a literal walk out our door to see some panels that are part of our volunteer role.

With increased development, monitoring these lesser-known but still accessible sites is even more critical.

And the view ain’t too bad!

And it gave me a chance to see local wildlife life of various types.

The following day we poked around some canyons mere miles from our home. Tens of thousands pass by these canyons every year by something hidden in plain sight.

Perhaps there are no marquee areas on AllTrails, and the jeep road quickly dead ends.  But on a winter day, it suited us well.

As mentioned, the jeep road peters out and turns into an abandoned two-track and then into a wash.

The area also encompasses the old alignment of Highway 191, not far from a well-known rest stop with its historical springs.


You can see the old roadbed with the debris of vehicles from the past. Because of the nearby spring, this alignment also, more than likely, provided the route for the Old Spanish Trail. And before that, Pueblo, Fremont, Ute, and others used for their trade well before creating our routes.

I always find it fascinating to walk the old , and ancient, paths.

That evening we had a cucina povera classic from my childhood waiting.  Except for this time, I made it with orzo.   And on the cold December evening, it rather hit the spot!

When Grandma called these “peasant food dishes,” little did she know how trendy her cooking would become 35+ years later!

We returned to the general area and made a loop by connecting two canyons.

The canyon made for some easy hiking but became more and more narrow as we’d expect.

When the brush became thicker, we found a break in the canyon where we expected. And an old rough-hewn cattle fence prevented the cattle from getting into the narrow canyon.

The break brought us to another layer broad and open.

As always, we did not doubt others had walked this way previously.

This area led to the mesa proper, where we walked a rougher jeep road with views to La Sals that finally had their winter coat.

Getting back to the canyon involved a hunch as we had no info to go on at all on this lightly used canyon. We figured there’d be breaks in the canyon walls based on the topo lines. Sure enough, at each pour-off, we saw the faint makings of old cattle trails complete with rusted fences, old fence posts, and lichen-crusted cairns with faint paths near each.


We soon reached the canyon bottom and saw footprints from, we assume, climbers who seemed the only semi-frequent users of this canyon.

This hike gets tucked into the vault for more adventurous friends who want a local walk that’s scenic, not overly long, and easily accessible. From our house to the “trailhead,” it’s all of a ten-minute drive. But seems far into the backcountry.

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