Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Travel Tuesday: Final days of 2016 road trip

After a rest day on April 11, Dave and I were energized and ready to try our hand at desert climbing on the 12th. We headed out relatively early (for us on vacation) to Arches Nat'l Park with our eyes set on a desert tower climb, Owl's Head. The approach was a laughable 60 seconds and the climb, while awkward as hell for our climbing styles, was easy and relatively straightforward. It was enough for us to be able to say we'd climbed a desert tower!

We'd planned to potentially hit up other climbs in the park, but after that one, we just decided to drive around and see all of the significant arches in the park. By the time we'd completed that task, we were pretty exhausted. Walking around in the sun will do that to a person.

The following day we did some more desert climbing with our host's daughter and boyfriend. It. Was. HOT. And I had finally ended up sunburnt for the first time on the whole trip from the previous day's desert wanderings, so my heat tolerance was nil. Dave jumped on a huge 180' crack climb (crack climbing is a monster all its own and something I've got little experience with), and I tried, but just couldn't do it. I think I got 30' up the thing before calling it quits. I simply was not comfortable at all and did not trust my shitty ankles (old injuries) at all with the required maneuvers. If it had been a splitter crack straight up the middle of a face instead of in a corner, I may have had better luck, but the combination of crack and corner did not agree well with how my body is accustomed to dancing up the rock. I am not swearing off crack climbing completely, but that climb on that day, definitely no. Still, a good experience and I'm glad I gave it a go - but I'm equally happy that I called it quits and didn't risk injuring my ankle(s). (I broke my big toe on the trip and that is injury enough for me!)

After climbing, we headed back to the house where I took a short nap before we headed out with our hosts to bike the Hymasa and Capt. Ahab trails.

The parking area for these trails did not lend itself to any kind of warmup before jumping right onto technical single track which screwed with my head something mighty. As with lead climbing, I can get awful caught up in my head. I need time to warm up and reacquaint myself with my bike and the terrain before it gets tricky. Immediately jumping into the proverbial deep end on the Hymasa trail (which really wasn't bad at all) that evening was a monster of a mental exercise for me that I was having an incredibly hard time with because I kept digging myself into a mental hole and my physical responses were suffering as a result. I continued on in this negative feedback loop for the first 45 minutes or so of the ride before I finally settled down enough to enjoy myself.

The first half of the ride is all uphill in order to enjoy coming back down the same trail. Dave and Tony took the more technical Capt. Ahab trail down while Pam and I traversed down the trail we'd climbed up. I got off trail a few times on the way down, but I enjoyed myself nonetheless. I was feeling a LOT more confident in my downhill skill after a few days in Moab. Ledges and drops that bugged me significantly before became like nothing!

Dave and I headed for home the following day. We made one stop to see my cousin in Colorado on the way, but beyond that we boogied straight on home within 30 hours of departing Moab.

It was an incredible trip (on a budget to boot!) and Dave and I both had an absolute blast. Being away on vacation is always so enjoyable, but coming home afterwards is just as nice when you live in a place like ours. <3

Rock formations in Arches Nat'l Park
View from atop our climb
Desert tower selfie
The tower we climbed, people visible at base of climb
Selfie with tower to the right
Another shot of the tower
Delicate Arch
Another angle to show the delicacy of the arch
Unfortunately all the other arches photos are on my DSLR
Gorgeous view heading out of Arches
One of these is not like the others......
Atop the Hymasa trail
Blooming desert along the trail edge
More views from Hymasa
Quite the drop!
No filter here..just setting sun on red cliffs
Being a child again amidst a basketball court of trampolines where my cousin (also pictured) works


  1. Dude... I LOVE the new blog header!

    (also this post, but I had to compliment the layout!)

    1. Thank you <3 I just put it up yesterday all sneaky-like. Slowly changing things to accommodate it...it's been an idea in my head for awhile. I'm really pleased with it. =)

  2. I love the new blog header too! looks like a grand adventure as well!

  3. That new header is so cool!!

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us. It sounds like such a fabulous adventure full of fun. :D

    I got sunburned yesterday for the first time this year (mowing the pasture, nothing exciting lol). It's so weird how crappy even a mild sunburn can make you feel in the heat. I'm glad it happened late in the trip and wasn't too bad. How in the world did you break your toe??? I hope it's better now.

    1. Sunburn is kind of the worst! And yeah... my toe... I uh, dropped a full wine bottle on it. Still broken, but not as painful now. My dad (ER doc) said it'll be awhile before it feels good again. I'm doing some PT exercises with it now to try to keep mobility. It isn't too horrible, but I don't want it to be immobile for life.