Spring on the horizon

President’s Day Weekend is the unofficial start of spring here in Moab.

We are noticing an uptick in out-of-state license plates,  I spotted well over a dozen #vanlife folks at the local grocery store parking lot, and Ma Nature is steadily turning up the thermostat.

We skied this past weekend, and the snow had that curious mix of crust and slush found as winter loses its grip even at the higher elevations.

And the first trail projects of the season started ramping up.

On our hike this past Sunday, we started during the remnants of winter -a cold and gray day among the red rock in the famous Devils Garden of Arches National Park.

However, our travels that day would take us away from the well-known paths. And along the Navajo Sandstone layers above and into a side canyon in the park.

An outcrop near the BLM and NPS boundary contained many lithics; we are hardly the first to come this way along an obvious travel path.

We walked into and out of a wash and crossed over into the BLM lands.

It must be a weekend for us – we are going under barbed wire! PCO Joan

We soon reached the base of an outcropping we’ve wanted to reach for a while. An outcropping displaying many layers of geologic time and always potted on the horizon.

The clouds built up as we hiked longer with increasingly muddier terrain. A small wash had a mix of water and slush. We could continue. But did we want wet and cold feet for the next few hours?

We decided on the answer of “NO.”  At this point in our lives, trudging for the sake of trudging does not make sense. We wanted to enjoy the day.  Some food and a hot drink from the thermos, we made our way back to Devils Garden via a different route.

And what good timing; snow flurries started coming down.

But what a view in the garden with the snow! A magical moment not experienced by many.


We walked the main path again and made it to the car.  As we drove past the park entrance, the sun came out. We took advantage of the now-sunny day and went up to a panel of rock images I’ve wanted to see for a while now. Situated at a historical place for crossing the Colorado River, the images have much importance in pre-Colombian tradition and lore.

Thunderbird-type figures along the canyon wall above the Colorado River.

We climbed up to where I’ve seen the panel from the road and saw the variety of figures, of different ages, depicting various scenes.

Then we turned the corner and saw what appeared to be some archaeoastronomical figures. Complete with distinct geometric patterns.

Images just above the panel below.

Comet and crescent moon?

If we had not modified our plans, we would not have had this experience. Flexibility almost always enhances our outdoor experience!

There’s always a good chance of flurries, or even snow, in the weeks ahead. But each day brings us closer to spring proper and all that it offers on the Colorado Plateau.

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4 years ago

Love the petroglyph pictures. For us die hard skiers it’s way too early to think of spring. Fortunately those of us farther East and higher in elevation don’t have to think about it yet. But when it comes we will embrace it just as well. As long as we are enjoying the outdoors it’s all good.