Travel

Canyonlands, UT

observant nomad / canyonlands / moab, utah

As you might know, this last month has been pretty heavy. Moving, working a ton at my day job, balancing a side-hustle, and getting settled in with the guy. Sometimes you just have to get away from it all, and man, have I felt that way lately. So when our pending trip to Moab was approaching I was more than ready to get out of town and enjoy some time away from the grind.

Ever since our last trip we knew we always wanted to return to Moab. The imposing arches, the colorful desert, the ever-expansive sky. Everything about the stark beauty of the area just took our breath away. So a few months ago, when we decided to take another trip to Moab and knew right away we wanted to invite some close friends, Rachel and Jeff, to experience it for themselves.

We hit the road early in the morning last Thursday, and arrived in town during the early afternoon. Once in town, we stopped for a late lunch at Moab Brewery to enjoy our first vacation beer and some filling sandwiches. Afterwards, we drove a little further down the road and checked into our adorable Moab KOA cabin, and then set out for our first off-roading trail of the weekend–Fins n’ Things.

observant nomad / canyonlands / moab, utah

observant nomad / canyonlands / moab, utah

After riding our adrenaline rush home, we spent the rest of the night getting settled into our surroundings. Our first evening back at camp was a simply perfect night. We grilled elk brats, drenched them in toppings, and gathered around the table over some beers.

Later that evening some of Rus’s friends, who were also in town, stopped by after dinner for some drinks. We laughed way too hard, sipped smokey scotch, and had some pretty memorable times playing charades and card games.

observant nomad / moab koa / moab, utah

observant nomad / canyonlands moab koa / moab, utah

After spending way too long trying to find the perfect camping spot on our last trip, we knew that this time, we had to avoid that with a larger group.

So we rented the cutest little cabin through Moab KOA for pretty cheap. And even though we did see a few open camping spots this time, I’m really happy we rented the cabin. We had our own grill, picnic table, porch swing, and we were even able to take semi-hot showers, and relax after long days in the dust and rain.

observant nomad / canyonlands moab koa / moab, utah

The next morning we scarfed down a delicious southwestern breakfast at Jailhouse Cafe and set out on the road. Rus had picked out our next off-roading trail, so we headed in that direction. But as always, when exploring a new place, we made a couple pit stops at some of the viewpoints and formations in the area.

And somehow on our way to the trail we went a little too far and missed the turnoff sign. But, of course, in the most serendipitous way it worked out for the best! We ended up driving the extra few miles to Canyonlands National Park.

observant nomad / canyonlands / moab, utah

observant nomad | canyonlands moab

Even though the weather was a bit temperamental (rain? In Moab?!) we actually found it be a small blessing. I have never seen the rocks so red, and the desert grass so green and tall. While it was cloudy most days, the sun would peak in and out a bit to brighten up the sky. But man, those rainy clouds were absolutely gorgeous. And sleeping to the pitter patter sound of rain on the desert sand was pretty wonderful.

observant nomad | canyonlands moab

After entering Canyonlands we were immediately faced with some of the highest views of the national park we could imagine. With names like Grand View Point and Mesa Arch, I knew these arches and vantage points were going to be spectacular. And as you can see, they were.

What I love most about unplanned adventures like this, are the nice little surprises where you get to explore a new place or visit an unexpected location. Normally I’m not a super spontaneous person, but when I turn on my adventure dial, I became a much more free-spirited person who finds joy in the smallest moments of change and uncharted roads. Which is exactly what we did on our way out of Canyonlands.

observant nomad / canyonlands mesa arch / moab, utah

A park ranger suggested we follow an off-roading trail that hugged the cliff side and winded along the Schafer and Potash trails back into Moab.

What a wild descent.

The trail is hundreds of feet up with out any railings to either side. Which one one hand is absolutely knee-buckling. But at the same time in a slightly more pronounced feeling is the sense of exhilarating liberation. That’s what I love most about Moab. You can stand on the edge of the highest cliff of your life, among the clouds and birds, and feel utterly insignificant in a powerful and raw way.

observant nomad | canyonlands moab

observant nomad | canyonlands moab, utah

After we descended down the ravine, we followed the road along the valley of towering giants and rocks shadowed by the presence of old and beautiful formations. Not many people were on this particular off-roading trail, and everyone in the car was pretty silent on the way back. We had our heads out of the windows gazing up the valley walls and absorbing all the scenes as they passed by. It made for quite a reflective and calming experience.

That was until we rounded Dead Horse Park. Then, our mouths dropped open at this…

observant nomad / canyonlands gooseneck overlook / moab, utah

 

observant nomad / canyonlands mesa arch / moab, utah

 

observant nomad / canyonlands gooseneck / moab, utah

Around the corner, revealed the most breathtaking vantage point of the Colorado River, called Gooseneck Overlook. The huge river bended around an imposing formation of red rock and cliff face. I haven’t felt that small in a very long time.

We paid for the amazing vantage points of the Schafer and Potash trails, by riding very bumpy roads for about another 15 miles before we reached the main highway again. Once we returned to Moab we decided to reward our sore seats with pizza and beer from my old favorite, Zax Restaurant.

After stuffing ourselves with delicious varieties of dough, we meandered over to a local dive bar for some cocktails and so the guys could watch a basketball game. We people watched, sipped whiskeys, and eventually took over the jukebox for some classic tunes.

A pretty great way to end the day, if you ask me.

See our last days in Moab where we visit the Arches National Park and Mad Max style off-road racing…

What do you think?

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Love seeing these travel posts, looks like you had a great time!

<3 Such a great trip. Can't wait for more adventures with you!

Seeing your Instagram updates over the weekend made my wanderlust grow bigger and badder with each snap! Moab through your lens looks incredible! Mad Max style off-roading?!? I’m intrigued. You daredevil, you :)

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