Wednesday, October 3, 2012

September 22, 2012 How Did I End Up In Utah?

It's a beautiful afternoon in late September in Utah and I'm driving from Salt Lake City to Moab. I needed a break from the road so I stopped at a historical marker along Route 6.  As usual I stumbled across something that piques my interest. There were monuments for two mine disasters...the Willow Creek Mine Explosion and...

...the Castle Gate Mine Disaster. These historical markers aren't what brought me to Utah. But I'm a history geek so I'm glad I learned something while stretching my legs. So what did cause me to be driving across Utah? Technically it is mountain biking and Conor Oberst. Let me explain...for me it always starts with an idea. I have been mountain biking around Chicago for over ten years. I've heard and read that Moab is the mountain biker's Mecca. So one night in the locker room after a hockey game, I mentioned I was thinking of heading out to Moab to go mountain biking. My teammate, Mike McDonnell said he'd be interested too. The idea grew and changed many times but I am reading about mine disasters today because of one simple statement after a hockey game. So what does Conor Oberst have to do with this....I have loved his song "Moab" from the first time I heard.
 "There's nothing that the road cannot heal
There's nothing that the road cannot heal
When I make it to Moab I'll get my canteen filled
There's nothing that the road cannot heal" - Moab by Conor Oberst
I too believe 'there's nothing that the road cannot heal' I travel to Moab to get my canteen filled.
But first, I stop at Arches National Park at dusk...

...with my friend and hockey teammate, Mike.

We drove into the park and stopped at several areas to take pictures of the incredible colors of the strange rock formations.

It was just about sunset when we decided to hike up to...

...Delicate Arch.

Just past the trailhead is the Wolfe Ranch homestead built in 1888.

This 1.5 mile hike seemed easy at the trailhead, but it quickly headed upward for most of the hike.
Here's Mike strolling along the cliff edge part of the trail. He's not struggling at all with the elevation gain so you will see lots of pictures over the next week of him from this same view point.

The sun was lighting up the rocks behind the arch beautifully.

Delicate Arch...quite possibly the most photographed arch in America. At least the most famous arch that doesn't sell shitty hamburgers.

There was a large crowd just waiting for the sunset to color the arch...

...I just walked around taking pictures from different angles.

As the sun set, the colors on the rocks changed every few minutes.

The sky was very colorful but clouds on the horizon ruined the sunlight on the arch. Most people left disappointed...not me. It was an absolutely perfect ending to my first day in Utah.

Three years ago, my friend and the man who treated me like his son, Phil Delgado...Mr. D to me...passed away. I mention it now because like me he loved places like this and I could picture him sitting on the rock with me as the sun set...relaxing, enjoying the cool night air and loving life's special moments with a big smile on his face...which is exactly what I was doing because I knew he was there with me. Thanks Mr. D.

Even though it was dark by the time we got to the petroglyphs near the trailhead, a little camera flash still allowed us to see them. I get teased for always talking about food but even with the amazing scenery all around them, the Ute petroglyphs show them hunting for food. Maybe I am among my people here after all.

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