Hurrah Trail, Moab, UT

Yesterday we rode our ATV's over the Hurrah Trail. Before I tell you about the trail, it feels as if I need to unload some emotional baggage about this whole trip. And if that's not your thing, just scroll on by the next series of paragraphs until you get to the pictures of red rocks. So, here goes:

When we last visited Moab, it was two years ago. Our planned trip to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado had been blown off the map by a series of storms that even the National Weather Service described as being of Biblical proportions. Here is a satellite image I posted showing our position within the storm. We were located where the green pin appears.

That's right...smack in the middle of that whole mess. If you don't remember that, you can read the blog post I wrote the day we determined it was necessary to flee Colorado or risk being stranded there by flooding.

After leaving Estes Park, we had no plans and we kind of drove aimlessly until we could figure out what to do with the remainder of our vacation time. We saw a few things along the way, but eventually ended up in Moab. While there, I mentioned to Mike the possibility of a future trip that would mean purchasing a truck camper so that we could load our ATV's onto a flatbed trailer and bring them here. Having rented a Jeep on a previous visit, we knew it would be great fun to bring the ATV's and ride in the back country. At first, Mike rejected the idea outright, but within a week of returning home, he was shopping for truck campers.

After finding the one we wanted, we drove to Tacoma, Washington, one day (about three hours away) to make our purchase. On the ride to Tacoma, it became clear that Mike was becoming deathly ill (although we hadn't figured out the "deathly" part on that ride). He asked me to drive, and I knew he was really sick at that point. When he continued to become sicker and sicker, he ended up in the hospital for a ten-day stay. You can read my blog post about that terrible day right here, and you can read the cause of his illness right here.

Fast forward to today, nearly two years on, and we're living the dream trip that was hatched during that month or two of very bad luck. We're here and healthy. It feels more than a little celebratory. Possibly the string of events seem unrelated, but in my mind they will always be inextricably tied together. Hopefully, by the time we head home, it will be possible for me to put that whole series of unfortunate episodes behind me and forget about it. For now, we're just enjoying our time together, and we're just plain glad to be here.

Okay, so enough of that. Here's what we did yesterday. The Hurrah Trail is fairly close to Moab. We drove about five miles along the Colorado River to the staging area.

We parked at the staging area and unloaded the ATV's from the trailer. While there, we met Rita, the ATVing dog.

Rita's family informed us that she is the "speed governess". They can only go as fast (or as slow, depending on how you look at it) as Rita can manage to stay perched on the ATV.

I hope she remembered her sunscreen because the sun was intense.

The highlight of the trail was the spectacular scenery, but to bring it down to just one big rock, we wanted to see the "Birthing Rock" where it was possible to see some Indian petroglyphs. (I've given you a link where you can read more about it.) We thought we'd found it when we saw this stack of boulders, but it turned out not to be the case. 

Nevertheless, it afforded us a spectacular view of the surrounding area. The rock formations here are so immense that it's difficult to do them justice in photography. This next image is a panorama. You can click on the image to make it larger.

While there, Mike realized he'd left his hat in the camper. We'd only traveled about a mile and a half at that point, and so he went back to get it while I waited for him in the shade of a juniper. Along the way, he found the Birthing Rock that we'd passed by. We went back to get a better look. It's just off the road, and the petroglyphs can easily be seen without even walking out to it, a distance of no more than 50 feet.

It was roughly cube-shaped, and had petroglyphs on all four surfaces. Here are some of the better images.

From there it was sort of ride, Captain, ride. We road out to that huge monolith in the background of this image, around it, and beyond.

We had plenty of water with us (a gallon each, as recommended). The heat was brutal, but bearable when we kept moving. 

We pulled off on a side road along the way and saw more of the incredible scenery. In this image, you can see the strip of green that is Kane Creek. We're told that all water sources in this area are safe to drink.

This is an area strewn with huge boulders that fall from the sheer cliff faces of the surrounding formations. If you look to the right of center of this next image, you can see some other riders sitting in the area where the image above was taken. I've included it here to give you some scale.

We saw lots of balancing rocks like this one.

When we rounded the other side, we could see the Colorado River as well as some potash evaporation pools (which sort of spoiled the view).

The trail got quite rough from this point onward. We went a few more miles, but we were getting tired, and decided to turn around and head back. Along the way, we stopped in the shade to rest. As we were sitting there, I noticed that little hole in the rock just left of center. We believe that qualifies as a little arch. (Arches National Park is right nearby.) Arches are formed by wind, while natural bridges are formed by water.

And from there, we rode fast and furious back to the staging area. When we arrived we were utterly wiped out. We'd ridden 26 miles. ATV's are "rider active" vehicles, which means it's a little like riding a horse. One must lean forward and backward to keep the vehicle in good balance when going up and down hills. Also, one must hang on with one's legs and lean to the left and right while going around corners...also to keep the vehicle well balanced. In any case, I can't remember when I've been so tired.

We loaded the ATV's back onto the trailer, headed back to the RV park, stripped off our clothes and sat around like vegetables for several hours while we recovered. We felt better after drinking plenty of water, eating some food, and generally cooling off. In addition to being tired, we were probably overheated.

So that brings us to this morning. We're ready to go after it again, although we haven't yet chosen today's trail. We're hoping the weather service sticks with its prediction of cooler temperatures today, but either way, we're up for another round.

7 comments from clever and witty friends:

QuiltShopGal said...

Sounds exhausting, but great fun. Views were fantastic. And, I was delighted to see the water level in the Colorado River as I had feared it would have been much lower. Keep drinking water and stay cool. Much cooler last night and this morning where I'm at. A good 10 degrees better. Have fun and drink plenty of water.


Lyndsey said...

I am exhausted with you, just reading about your adventure. The scenery is fabulous. Keep having fun and make sure you drink lots of water. It's a good job Mike went back for his hat as he found the birthing stone but also you don't want to be out without one in that heat.

LethargicLass said...

I am glad you are able to have this positive experience now... it looks like an amazing place!

Mary said...

Celebration time looks like loads of FUN! Glad you can be there and ride among the beauty of those RED Rocks!

quiltzyx said...

That does sound like so much fun, even if it was tiring. I wonder how many "steps" would register on a fitbit with such a ride?
The views are amazing & I saw the "birthing" petroglyph right away (I wasn't sure at first, until I went to the link)!!
Keep having fun!

Kate said...

Wow, what a gorgeous place to ride. Love the images.

MoniqueB said...