Just like he said, turn right at the McDonald's in Moab and drive until it becomes obvious to pull over. Even in the dark of night, somehow, it was obvious where to pull over. And I did.
There was no sense in setting up a tent after midnight so I just slept in the car. When I awoke, I couldn't help but smile at the view. The last time I saw daylight, I was in Colorado.
The red rocks of Utah were expected. The sign on the border kind of spoils the surprise.
Up with the sounds of the other campers on BLM land (public land for you and me), I promptly headed to Arches National Park.
On paper, Arches is a 16 mile road with a cul-de-sac at the end. In person, Arches is life on Mars.
The obligatory 3 mile round trip hike to witness the Delicate Arch was moderately pedestrian most of the way, but engaging none the less, and well worth the time.
Standing across from the Arch today, I took in a view that had been my desktop background at work for at least 6 months in 2015. Up until a few days ago, I really had no plans of ever being here in person (at least in the foreseeable future).
But here I am.
The fun really began for me at the end of that cul-de-sac. Originally I had planned to drive to the neighboring National Park, Canyon Lands, today. But I just couldn't resist this 7 mile loop known as the Devil's Garden at the end of Arches. About half the loop was "primitive", barely a trail. And about half the loop had me saying, "no way it goes there... oh shit it does... wait am I lost?".
Just good old fashioned fun.
I'd say the trail's a can't miss if you ever venture out to Moab (which I think you should). And I think you should stay a little longer than I did to say the least.
In all I did about 10 miles with 32 pounds on my back today. I'm slowly easing into the impending PCT routine.
For now though, I'm still in the desert, at a Motel 6 a couple hours west of Moab.
Tomorrow I'll definitely be hitting another Utah National Park.
And tonight I'll leave you with a quote about the desert:
"Water, water, water....There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount , a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be." -- Edward Abbey