A couple of years ago, for a couple of years, we lived in the little town of Moab, Utah. When people ask me if I miss living in Moab, the thing I immediately think of is being in awe of the landscape and grateful to be in it, every single day. We camped less because our backyard was as good as most places we camped. Of course, the mountain biking was amazing, too. But mostly it was the beauty, the light, the lightning, the clouds, the rocks, the snow on the rocks, the waterfalls after the rain, the flowers, the animal tracks in the sand, the subtle textures, new discoveries, the rocky, sandy fins, rims and mesas that were never exactly the same and always amazing, that I treasured.
Moab has a few more hotels and fewer weekends in its off-season, but there is still so much solitude to be had, especially if you pay attention to the whispers coming from the MTB crowd about the latest, greatest and coolest rides. Some trails fall off the radar, others never quite make it on, and still, other places are unknown to the crowds who love Moab but never lived there.
Our plan for 4 days of action in Fruita and Moab over the Thanksgiving holiday didn’t work out, but we still managed a quick trip. The first stop was an aimless ramble across some rocky desert for manic rabbit chasing by Mack. The second stop was dinner with friends. The next morning we met up with one of our favorite dog walking buds for a favorite hike that included scones and coffee on the trail and a huge view of the Colorado River and pretty much all of town. RK then headed out for a ride while I decided to mix it up and go for a longish run on a mountain bike trail.
I had chosen my route for a lot of reasons: known to me, unpopular (so I would have solitude and also not be in the way of riders), mellow terrain. After 6 miles of diligent running, I came to a junction of new trails, built since I moved away. I looked at the map at the junction, did some quick math, and took off to check them out. Suddenly the run didn’t feel like a chore (and I realized that it had…) because I was discovering new terrain. Huge views of Monitor and Merrimac, fun twisting turns through the junipers and in and out of small gullies. I think I want things to be known but I always have more fun with new. Maybe I imagined the looks of wtf? in the eyes of the mountain bikers I did see, but it sure felt weird running in a place notorious for the quality of the mountain biking. In the end, I was crusty with sweat, tired and hungry, and it seemed a success.
The final stop was the sushi place, which no one quite believes is the best place to eat in Moab, but it really is. We were regulars there and it still makes us happier than any restaurant in the city. It is dark, cozy, friendly, creative, and delicious. We chowed down and drove home, bleary-eyed and tired from a day and a half in the sun. So much better than staying home.