Starting the New Year Off Right (Moab, UT)

Wandered: New Years Eve 2016

It may be a little belated, but Happy 2017 Wanderers! I got to celebrate the new year in a new place for me, which automatically makes this year awesome.

It’s been on my bucket list to go visit Moab and see why everyone is in love with the desert. So for the holiday, the boyfriend and I headed west to go explore. He has been there before, but was more than happy to have an excuse to go back. We went with the purpose to go climbing since he’s big into that hobby and trying to introduce me to as many different kinds as possible.

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My first viewpoint in Moab!

The benefit of visiting in winter is that it’s the off season. Hotels are cheaper and there’s definitely less traffic through the town. Granted, half of the main strip of little shops were closed, and we arrived the day that the only brewery in town was closing for the season, but there were still multiple options for food. A lot of the business owners take the winter months to deep clean or get renovations and upkeep done.

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Life sized dinosaurs are so cool

Since it is winter time, I was grateful that hotels were discounted because it does get kind of cold at night in the dry desert of Moab. I’m not against camping, I just haven’t done it in so long that easing into the hobby is a better idea than jumping feet first with little adequate equipment; aka a winter sleeping bag or even a tent.

Our first day, New Years Eve, we spent exploring the town and visiting Moab Giants which I believe deserves a separate post all to itself. I’ll post that one in a couple days but do highly recommend it if you’re headed out with any kids, kids-at-heart, or dinosaur fans.

 

 

 

We quickly visited Arches National Park afterwards and hiked to Delicate Arch. It was labeled a difficult hike, but in the cooler temperature it wasn’t so bad. I think the sun exposure in the summer could make most of that hike rough going for most visitors. The trail was decently occupied and of course the arch itself had a moderate crowd – I’d actually hate to see how it would be in the regular season.

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Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Wall Street, a popular rock climbing spot in the Moab area was our next stop. As a newer climber – I have yet to get the nerve to lead climb anything so let the boyfriend set up a top rope for me – I felt really good about the couple of routes I was able to get up. Wall Street itself is littered with routes up the cliff face with a large span of ratings for all climbers. There’s sport routes and trad routes, cracks and scrambles. I would have to agree with the idea that it’s the perfect location to start climbing the sandstone rocks of Moab, especially if you’re not used to that kind of rock. There were maybe two other sets of people around so it was rather peaceful and fun to watch the sunset reflected off the cliffs into the Colorado River.

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Getting lost and finding great views is half the fun

Our second day was spent driving down 128 into Castleton Valley in search of harder climbs the boyfriend has planned with his more experienced climbing buddy. We went hunting for Ancient Art and accidently found ourselves off-roading through the canyons for a bit before finding our way again. Our hike up to the climbing spot was chilly; the weather was rather overcast and it started to snow on us later in the day. Definitely a nice hiking trail though and we met some really friendly groups along the way.

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Ancient Art – the squiggle of rock at the top

Our last day was spent back in Arches National Park to hit all the spots on the map we didn’t get to the first time. The wind had picked up that day so it made for a cold visit. Despite the cold and lack of sunshine, there were still a handful of cars and people out exploring the park. It seems that visitors and residents of Moab, UT are made of hardier stuff than I originally thought.

We headed back to Fort Collins that same day, so while it was a short trip, it was definitely a great one. Check that off the bucket list! What did you do for New Years?? Do you have any exciting plans for 2017?

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