Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Moab for UEA Weekend

Last Friday we had dinner with some friends, Paul (Who we went mt. biking with last Saturday) and Tiffany, who casually mentioned they were going camping in Moab for the long weekend coming up, and they asked us if we wanted to come along and bring the kids. Pete and I looked at each other for a second, then we both said, "yes."

I really hope they weren't just being nice, inviting us with the intention of us saying no. I mean, really, who says yes to going camping for 4 days with such short notice? Well, we do. We're that kind of spur of the moment people, and besides we were kind of looking for somewhere to go during UEA since Pete was no longer doing the St. George Marathon, and we knew the kids would love to go camping one more time before winter sets in.

Day 1 - Thursday, October 1, 2009 - Goblin Valley

We got most of the packing done the night before so we just had to do the last minute loading up on Thursday morning, including putting the kids bikes on the bike rack. You could practically taste the excitement!

Here's a map of Utah for those of you, like me, who didn't know where Moab is. Even though I grew up in Utah, I had never been there. It's actually pretty sad how little I've taken advantage of living in this beautiful state.

We left Salt Lake (A) at about 10 am, and I can't tell you how long the drive took because we stopped for lunch then stopped at Goblin Valley (B) before actually getting to Moab (C).

Goblin Valley was awesome. We spent about 2 hours there just wandering around, climbing on, in and around all the "goblin" rock formations. It was beautiful, and the kids had a blast! This is the only place I have pictures of from the trip because my camera has a very small SD card.

We found one little cave that went back in the rock a little ways, and it had a little hole in the back of it. Paul went around the outside, and we managed to put the kids up through the hole. This of course, made me want to try it, and with just a little help from Pete (I left a footprint on his back), I was able to pull myself through it. It was a pretty tight squeeze, and I was quite happy I fit!

That night we got to the camp ground just before it got dark so we just had hot dogs and marshmallows for dinner, and set about getting the kids to bed. Elle did not go down easily, and I ended up just driving her around to get her to fall asleep before putting her into her sleeping bag. This became our MO for the next 2 nights.

Being in such a hurry to get the kids to bed, and setting up in the dark, we didn't really make room for the space heater Paul and Tiffany lent us. They had their camper so we could use some of their electricity. We all slept with extra blankets, wool socks and hats on, and we all managed to sleep quite well despite the fact that we could see our breath in the morning. Brrr, it was cold! Luckily that was the coldest night, each night got a little warmer (especially with help from the heater that we made room for), and the last night some of us even slept out of our sleeping bags.

Day 2 - Friday - Gemini Bridges

In the morning, Paul dropped Tiffany, their two oldest kids, Becka and Nathan (11 and 14, I think), their dog, Emmy, our bikes and I off at the top of Gemini Bridges road. It was pretty chilly still, and it took us a while to warm up because it was down-hill for a ways. This wasn't nearly as scary as my first experience with mountain biking, though. It was on a jeep trail, and not too steep. Plus, I was on Pete's bike with not so touchy breaks and shoes that clipped in. I think that helped me a lot.

We rode for a while then stopped to hike over and see the actual Gemini Bridges. They were quite a sight, and we were very high up! It was beautiful, and I wished I had my camera, but oh well. After that short break, we headed back onto the road, and from here on out it got a bit rougher, and we did have a pretty steep hill to climb before we got to the parking lot on the other side where Paul and Pete and the kids picked us up. It took us about 2 1/2 hours I think. It was a fun ride, and not too hard! I had a great time coming down after we finished that climb!

Pete and Paul went off to do their own ride when we got back to camp. They went up Baby Steps and Klondike Bluffs, and the rest of us went to the pool/hot tubs at our campsite then got cleaned up for dinner. By the time the guys got back, it was dinner time, so we just headed into town and ate at Zax, a very busy pizza/pasta place. Being UEA weekend, it seemed like everyone had the same idea as us to come to Moab. The tiny town was just packed with tourists, and almost every vehicle we saw had bikes, 4-wheelers, or a trailer hooked to them.

Day 3 - Saturday - Dinosaur Tracks and Klondike Bluffs Trail

Saturday the guys went out first, and I can't remember where they went. Somewhere really hard. They got back just after lunch time, then we loaded everyone up and headed to Klondike Bluffs. This trail leads up to a site where there are dinosaur tracks in the sandstone, and the kids were really excited about this. Tiffany and her kids took off (including the 9-year old Eric), and I followed behind more slowly because Mindy, Ethan and Elle were having a go at the trail.

Pete and Paul stayed back with Elle, and they stashed her bike pretty early on, but Mindy went until she crashed in the sand trap. It is deep sand, and I don't blame her for getting discouraged. I had to push my bike through it too. Ethan had gone on ahead, and made it passed the sand! I caught up to him a little while after I left Mindy with the guys. He had crashed, but he was ok to sit and wait for the other to catch up to him, then he would go on. Finally I decided I better catch up to the first group. I rode for a while, and I was starting to get nervous that I was on the wrong trail or something. Why wasn't I catching up with them? They had a 9-year old with them!

I finally did find them, though. They were stopped at the dinosaur tracks waiting for me. We looked at the tracks a little, then left Eric to wait there for the rest to catch up. Nathan, Tiffany, Becka, and I headed up to finish the route. Nathan left us in the dust pretty quickly, so it was just us girls for most if the ride. A lot of this trail was on slick rock and there was just a doted white line telling us where to go. We soon found out it was more of a guide-line than a strict path to follow, though! It was a little tricky in parts, but it was really fun, and we had a great sense of accomplishment when we got to the end of the trail and finished it out with the little hike to the top where you can see all the way around. It was a beautiful view, and though we saw a lot of people on the trail, there was only one other guy up there with us. Again, I wished I had my camera.

Coming back down was so much fun! I got really brave, and went faster that I probably should have! I guess it was a good thing because at one point I hit a sharp dip. I leaned so far back my stomach hit the seat. It was crazy, but I made it! Tiffany said she thought I would crash, but I was lucky to have the speed to make it!

We got back to the car, and everyone one else was already there. It turned out Ethan rode his bike almost to the dinosaur tracks, and did and awesome job even though he crashed again. He was so excited about it and I was so proud of him! He says it was his favorite part of the trip. I'm glad he got to do a little bit of mountain biking too, he's been wanting to do that. They all played around at the tracks for about half an hour then headed back, beating us by another half an hour. I think this ride also took us about 2 1/5 hours. One great thing about this trip was that I was in shape to be able to do these two rides without getting sore at all! It was just fun.

It was dinner time by the time we got back so we just ate out again, before coming back to make dutch oven apple cobbler. Yum, it was good! And it was a good time sitting around the fire talking to finish out our trip.

Day 4 - Sunday - Homeward bound

The next day we just packed up and headed home. It was really a lot warmer, but it also was raining on and off so we were glad to be going. We had planned on listening to General Conference on the way home, but we ended up only getting reception for half an hour or so. It took us a little less than 4 hours to get home. We left just after 10, when the first session started, and got home just after 2, when the second sessions started. We were able to watch an hour of that, but then the power went out! Luckily we have the internet, and we've already caught up on the first Saturday session.

It was an awesome trip, but next time we won't plan on having reception to listen to the radio when we're in the middle of nowhere! A big thanks goes out to Paul and Tiffany for inviting us and sharing their camping spot and their vacation with us! They took us to all the fun places and made our trip way better than it would have been if we had gone alone. We probably wouldn't have done any of the stuff we did. So, thanks guys!

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