Besides from the mountain biking Moab is famous due to its proximity to National Parks. The first we chose to explore was Arches National Park. The Park has more than 2,400 arches (an arch is defined as a hole in a rock with an opening of at least 3 feet) so we saw a very small percentage. The 18 mile (29 km.) scenic drive allowed us to admire the view but also explore the more popular sites on foot. My first impression of these pillars of stone were of statues that were reaching out to tell a story.
It was amazing to view Balanced Rock, a 3,600 ton boulder that sits precariously on top of a pillar and looks as though it could topple any moment. Of course, it's a great place to goof around with the camera lens.
As I said we did see the more popular tourist spots and the most famous Delicate Arch which is Utah's unofficial state symbol. This was a 3 mile (5 km) hike which we chose to do pre sunset. Upon reaching the viewpoint we joined approximately a hundred people who were there to capture the views as well. It was a comical setting while everyone waited with cameras mounted on very expensive tripods to catch that perfect shot! We also took the opportunity on our drive back down to stopover and enjoy the starry night while identifying as many constellations as possible (while sipping some wine and enjoying some cheese).
Canyonlands National Park: The Island in the Sky District was a 32 mile (50 km.) drive for us from Moab.
This high altitude mesa (or table) between the Colorado and Green Rivers allowed us to view these scenic vistas from above. We stopped at five viewpoints: Grand View Point Overlook, Buck Canyon Overlook, Upheaval Dome, Green River Overlook and Mesa Arch and did short hikes.
Grand View was great for Don & Chris to demonstrate their "adventurous behaviour" but really it was not as dangerous as it looked. From our viewpoints it was amazing to see how nature carves out the beauty in the earth's surface.
These two National Parks were a photographer's dream and even amateurs like ourselves.
But every vacation must come to an end. On Saturday Alicia & Chris headed back to Denver for their flight home. Hopefully they were rested and ready to re-enter the fast paced City life. However, we had one more chore before we moved on.
On Sunday we woke very early to drive the Moho to the start area of our Half Marathon Race in our p.j.(s) From our home at the staging area we were able to prepare (eat, dress and utilize our private port-a-potty - every runner's dream) for the Race. The course was amazing, 13 miles (21 km) through red rock canyon along the Colorado River on a closed road. Sorry no pics! It was a great psychological achievement for me being my first race in almost 18 months and 10 months since my back surgery. Definitely a great boost for the New York Marathon in two weeks. By the way, Don "achieved his full potential" coming first in his age group. It did help that he turned 55 two weeks prior to the Race.
Next we are off to Colorado and the Four Corners (Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah). More wandering in the desert while we wait for Erin & Brad to join us for a few days.