Three Days at the end of winter

Joan and I love to spend all our free time outside or as much as possible. We’ll do occasional day hikes here in Moab. But we try to finish the nights outdoors.

In the winter months, that typically means car camping. The shorter days and colder nights lend themselves to nights in camp, lots of hot drinks, and layers of warm clothing.

But then the days gradually warm-up, the sun stays up a bit more, and we do not need to pack as much warm clothing.

The itch gets strong; we want to go on our first love – backpacking.

We love the simplicity, how we don’t seem tethered to one spot, and we can adjust the plans on the fly. It feels more liberating. And we invariably see nooks and crannies not as quickly seen day-hiking from base camp.

So we take advantage of the warmer days (if still cold nights) and more daylight to backpack. We load some cold-weather gear and visit some favorite places and a canyon we’ve seen little to no information about. Perfect for our goals of hiking to see what we see.

The new-to-us canyon did not disappoint, and the well-known places always seem like visiting an old friend. In other words, another enjoyable weekend in our “backyard.”

The first part of the hike brought us to one of our favorite views in the area, with the pothole water capturing the reflections of the red rock that we call home.

And the side canyon brought us to places that make us what to walk the length of the canyon and connect to places beyond.

We found an oddly rectangular stone along the cliff wall by the structures and images. It looked a bit too angular to make a completely natural object.

I can’t and won’t interpret the possibility of what this object represents. But it did catch my eye.

We continued to roam the nooks and crannies of the canyon. Poking up one side of the wall and down the other.

We made our way out the following morning on the brisk but warming day. The sun at our camp felt good and a sign spring will come soon enough.

We joined the route back at the same place we had entered the previous day.

No matter how many times Joan and I see this familiar landmark, we never tire of it.

I half-joked in the past all Joan and I do on weekends is mainly “putzing around and killing time.” But what an enjoyable time while doing it!

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Thomas Jamrog
2 years ago

Excellent post. The rectangular stone may have been used as a sight stone to align our ancestors with another similar stone that defines a ancient path. We have found these here even in Maine in Camden Hills State Park close to Penobscot Bay where I live. I hope to get back to long distance backpacking in Sept. eyeing a SoBo on the Long Trail which I hope I can spend October following the Kodachrome foliage party. My wife died a month ago and I am finally free of living under the mantle of her cancer.

David Noll
David Noll
2 years ago

Wow! Another great trip. Thanks.

2 years ago

Question about your last photo: are all those white splotches from paintballs? Hope not! Thanks for an encouraging reminder that Spring is right around the corner.

eddy de wilde
eddy de wilde
2 years ago

In a country of over 300 million people it always looks like you got this part to yourselves. How good is that.

Paul Wilson
2 years ago

Great pictures! It’s a luxury to have such a big “home” and “backyard”. Feels like in a sci-fi movie.