I worked for a local outdoor store over the holidays last year.
A chance to earn some money, get some discounts if needed, and frankly to keep me busy while trying to figure out what I want to do with a new phase in life.
The primary manager at the time told me that he and his family moved here as their values mean recreating in a place where, well, recreation is easily accessible. Where you can hike, bike, trail run, climb, etc. without having to drive or fly far. And you can return home without having to book a hotel room at the end of the day.
As he put it, “We can take a two-week vacation once a year, or we can take a vacation every week.”
Though this person is no longer in Moab, we are still in touch. And he currently lives in a place where his family can still pursue this type of life.
Joan and I more-or-less structured our life around this precept. For us, other values also include easy access to backpacking and camping and, critical for me after my Front Range experience, a place that is not overly crowded. Though Moab can be busy, it is mainly the accessible areas near the front country. And traffic and parking issues are minimal compared to my old haunts in Boulder. We’ll see if we make this area our long term home, but the little desert town we call home fits our needs for now.
We recently went to Florida to visit our families. A Florida trip for the holidays seems the ideal trip for everyone. Warm weather! A beach! Etc. But we stayed with our families. And able to receive the generous loaning of a car; otherwise, this type of “vacation” would have been well out of our modest budgets. For most people, having a “good job” to afford the fine things in life means not necessarily living in their ideal location, and spending a lot of money once a year to make use of their limited vacation time.
We enjoyed our time catching up with our families, seeing friends, and exploring ecosystems and sites we would not see here in the high desert of the Colorado Plateau.
But neither one us can imagine working 50+ hours for 50 weeks a year, being frazzled, and not getting a real outdoor fix. Arguably our consumerist culture is partially to fill this gap. But that’s another story. And, as said before, we make sacrifices to live this lifestyle. But we need the outdoors in our life.
And on returning to Moab, we almost immediately planned out hikes. Wanting to take it easy in terms of travel, we drove less than a half-hour on the first day and hiked the empty mountain bike trails and jeep tracks. Overlooking the Colorado River and on the Portal Rim, we spent a few hours enjoying the stunning red rock covered with snow.
Though the rim could be vertigo-inducing for some (bring microspikes and poles if so!), the quiet of a Moab winter and the unique view scape made for a memorable hike in our backyard.
The following morning, we hoped to get in a ski. But the morning brought snowy roads; we opted for a backyard adventure instead. We left our door, briefly walked a paved road, and followed a jeep track to the top of a mesa with its network of old jeep track.
We saw two equestrians all day. And that’s it on this otherwise lonely mesa top.
We walked for five hours and enjoyed the red rock covered in snow, the canyons below, and the moody-looking La Sal mountains in the distance.
A nearly full day of hiking during winter. And all from our door. A vacation for some; fortunately part of the life we created for ourselves.