Christmas in Courthouse Wash

How I celebrate Christmas changed over the years.

In Rhode Island, it involved a scrumptious seafood dinner on Christmas Eve and then the following day seeing all my many cousins.

In Colorado? A typical outdoor focus. Day skis or even overnight hut trips.

And now I am in Utah. Forming a new community. And making new traditions.

For our first Christmas together in Utah, the holiday means exploring a canyon and seeing rock art.

Moab in December is quiet. The usual busy haunts are blissfully quiet. We can explore areas that we will not even bother to contemplate come March or even by mid-February.

And such a place is Court House Wash.  The wash is well-known due to the Barrier Era pictographs that may be up 4000 years old. And easily accessible from the road.  At one point, these pictographs popped with a vibrant color reminiscent of The American Man panel in Salt Creek.  Alas, some unknown person attempted to eradicate the ancient artwork. The NPS restored the panel somewhat. But the vibrant pigments are lost to time. Still, even in ruin, the petroglyphs are impressive.

But exploring another fork of the canyon was the motivation for the day. And to see another panel that may not be as well-known and arguably less spectacular. But intriguing because of the obscurity.

We almost missed the panel due to the obscurity. Semi-hidden behind some juniper.

But we did find it after a little backtracking.

We basked in the warm sun after and enjoyed our holiday.

The juniper trees adorned with berries served as an appropriate Christmas tree. The ever-present red dirt of The Colorado Plateau gives the proper holiday accent.

We soon gathered our gear to beat the early evening. Some last sunlight lit up the canyon. A noticeable contrast to the snow that would come later that evening.

We are enjoying what is out and about in our home: World-class scenery, hiking, and exploration. All minutes away. I can’t think of a better Christmas Day: Outside, exploring, and enjoying the scenic beauty that abounds in Moab.

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