Doing Moab, Utah, During Corona Madness

I broke the law (well, not technically) before we all knew we’d be breaking the law if we left the safety of our homes and trekked to other locales for the spring break. Seeing as I only get a spring break every two years with my daughters, I took the plunge and headed south to Utah, and on down to Moab.

I’d booked a hotel and packed camping gear, so that in either case we could hole up and limit our interactions with other people as much as possible. This trip would be about our new dog, Rye, and landscape.

Each morning, before light, I walked Rye along the Colorado River and then fetched a coffee before waking the girls. While we were in Moab we checked out Arches National Park and many of the other sites in the area, including places where the girls could check out dinosaur tracks and native carvings on rock walls.

Also, we were fortunate enough to get a permit to hike in the Fiery Furnace section of Arches, which we did on the last morning of our trip, when everything regarding corona was heating up, which turned out to be proportionate to the locals’ attitudes toward us being there.

But anyway, Arches was awesome and the girls enjoyed their time, although by the second day one of my daughters said, “Are you kidding me, dad, we’re going to look at rocks again today.” We spent most of the day in one of three pools at the nearly deserted hotel so that the girls got what they needed. On the second to last day we were looking at carvings on a rock wall just outside Moab when a person, wearing a dark green/park service jacket, peddled their bike over to us. He pointed at my parked truck and said, “Is that your truck.” I said, “Yep,” and he said, angrily, “You can’t park there.” I noticed that his jacket wasn’t official and just smiled at him. He started to ride away and said, “Do you know what the hell is going on in the world? People are dying. You’re going to get this stuff and then kill someone’s grandmother.”

Slinking through the Fiery Furnace, checking out leads, which often led to dead ends.

The girls asked, What’s up with him as we started to walk away toward my truck. I shouted, “I’m up to date on what’s going on, bud.” He stopped his bike in the middle of the road and shouted, “You god-damned tourists need to go home!”

I explained to the girls what was going on in that guy’s head, and that I’d lived in touristy places in the past and at times held the same sort of attitude/contempt for visitors, even though they are the lifeblood of those types of communities. I also said, “I can understand where he’s coming” from and  told them we’d camp that night. That afternoon we hiked to some dinosaur tracks, and checked out more carvings. No contact with humans or anything they may have touched. Just being outside doing good by nature.

Nothing like the desert challenging your nerves. Great place to build confidence.

The following morning, after packing all the camping gear up, now soaked because of a serious rain (I slept in the tent; the girls lounged on a pile of sleeping bags under the truck’s canopy), we headed to the Furnace and hiked on in. And I’m glad we did. We saw only a couple people and spent several hours trying to fit through narrow passageways, climbing boulders, and taking photos. One of my daughters had decided to stay behind and keep Rye company at the truck, and to read Treasure Islandfor an assignment. That left my eldest daughter and me free to roam and we did just that.

Edge of the Furnace.

I’m not sure how far we hiked, and how much elevation gain and loss we covered, but we were both worn out by the time we got back to the truck. Between the hike the day prior and this one, I sensed a subtle change in my eldest’s attitude, a slight sway that said she may be thinking that the outdoors are cool gain. She mentioned doing some hikes with friends this summer, or returning to Moab with friends to cover some of the ground we didn’t have time, or didn’t feel welcome, to see.

By the time we left, the only place in Moab where we could get food was Wendy’s. As I handed over the credit card (no cash accepted) a guy said, “We are the last option for food here, and we probably won’t be open tomorrow.” That was fine by us—I pointed the truck west and then followed 15 north, getting us to Clark Canyon Reservoir around 1 a.m. The following morning we were safely home, no coughs present, sinking into an isolation period.

Rye and I slept in the tent. The girls lounged under the canopy.

To pass the time I’ve been working and walking Rye and certainly I’ll fish later this week. Good time to be on the water, whether solo missions or with friends at the proper distance away.

Rye moving on on my turf.



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2 Responses to Doing Moab, Utah, During Corona Madness

  1. Guy says:

    Went through Moab 3/22. No room at any spot, some boondocking available out on BLM land but my bride demanded heat, so we rolled north into Price. A kindly RV park owner, after questioning me about our route and where we were headed, allowed us to park in their park and plug in, as long as we were gone early. So we were. The regional health authority had apparently closed all motels/campgrounds in SE Utah, so we were pretty screwed otherwise. Rolled for the 509 the next day, and arrived just in time for the stay-at-home order. No traffic, really, on 3/23 up the 15 and over 90. So, a minor inconvenience I guess, for an event unknown by me or my parents generations. Nothing like this for 100 years, gotta stay flexible.

    • Greg Thomas says:

      We slummed it out in the desert after the hotels closed. And the drive is as you described… a serious lack of traffic. But what I did notice were all the BC and Alberta plates, seeming to travel in a caravan all racing to get across the border before it totally shut down. Keep me posted on your fishing in the 509.

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