Away from the heat and into the mountains

Due to a new job and other events, I’ve been away from Moab for a little bit since my recent walk. And Joan’s working an NPS interpretive detail, so her schedule’s also been busy.

I did get in a  morning float one day on the Colorado River just before 100F temps hit by late morning. A simple and quick trip perfect for being away for a while.

Joan dropped me upriver, and I paddled back to the waiting truck. And to the very place, I walked to a few short weeks ago.

But a day trip, and a morning one at that, is no substitute for overnight trips. Where we relax, spend the night outside, and wake up somewhere beautiful near our adopted home.

Our schedules aligned, and we went to where Joan and I often go when we didn’t want to drive far to escape the desert heat – the La Sal mountains.

Though a small range, we never fail to find any time spent there delightful. The alpine peaks, wildflowers, groves of aspens, and relative lushness prove a contrast to our red rock home.

With the weather predicted to bring rain, wind, and t-storms, a simple camping trip with its associated creature comforts seemed an excellent way to enjoy the weekend.

We found a place on the jeep road with an easy and scenic walk to a small pond.

And the site itself was situated in aspens with a nearby stream providing the perfect background music to our camping evening.

After a relaxing evening, we worked our way up to the higher country.

We took lunch at the cusp of the treeline and were probably not the first to choose this spot.

Above the treeline, we could see the clouds building up over the surrounding peaks.

We did push a little further up the drainage we had not hiked previously. Alas, Joan did not find any longed-for swimming holes.

All kidding aside, the first bit of graupel gave a sign that we needed to head back to camp.

In camp, we quickly set up our SJK truck tarp and again enjoyed the versatility and the warm, dry place it provides for our camping.

A place to cook, get out of the rain, and relax made it so we could enjoy the weekend a bit more easily.

PCO Joan.

And Joan certainly seemed to enjoy our small oasis, too!

We went to our equally warm and dry tent that served so well in all conditions.

The wind and rain picked up, but we stayed comfortable all evening.

At about 1 AM, we heard a loud ~CRACK~. I climbed out of the tent, peeked out towards the truck, and did not see any damage.

However, in the morning, we saw these two widowmakers uncomfortably close to where we parked our truck.

PCO Joan.

Lots of wooded shrapnel flew over the general site. Luckily none sliced into the tarp that made it through the stormy night quite well. And Joan’s site selection for the tent proved impeccable as well. Phew!

After breakfast, we made our way home. With a break in the weather, we took a quick peek at another local pond –

And did a scouting hike on a mesa where views get presented we never find tiring.

And beyond the grand views, we saw more subtle delights –

After a few miles of hiking and making notes for a future trip, the rain came in again, and the wind picked up. Time to head back.

But not before a quick side trip to see dinosaur tracks that stood up after the intermittent rain.

All in all, a relaxing weekend. If with a bit of a widow maker excitement, we hope not to repeat anytime soon.

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2 years ago

As those evil trees were clearly aiming for Joan, I believe they are widower makers. Or just sad lonely Paul makers.