Greetings from the Utah desert! The camping at Indian Creek is free, which is what you generally expect from a place that lacks phones, showers, toilets, running water, and Internet access. But I’m sure that people would pay to camp here, and someday they surely will. For the next few weeks, I’ll be staying at various campgrounds in the area and posting to “Down and Out” from Moab, the outdoor lover’s kind of town just an hour away. In Moab, you can get wireless at the library and used books at a number of bookshops on the town’s main drag. In Moab, you can get showers (unlimited time) for $5, and you can fill up water jugs at no charge inside an outdoor store that sells Cliff Bars for $.99.
Moab’s little luxuries are still a good hour’s drive from Indian Creek, but I didn’t find myself missing them too much last week, as I was surrounded by red sandstone pillars and sleeping underneath a blanket of stars. Coyotes call in the night, and lizards scurry over the desert’s polished rocks during the day.
With a few other friends who are also at Indian Creek to climb the area’s Wingate sandstone cracks, we established a camp near a rock group named Bridger Jack. In the evening, Bridger Jack’s towers look black against the purple sky.
And in the morning, the sun reflects Bridger Jack’s red faces, with their characteristic Wingate cracks, which fracture the rock cleanly in the vertical plane, making it the choice sandstone for climbing. Almost all of the rock at Indian Creek is Wingate sandstone, and the chocolate-smooth walls reach up to 450 feet in height.
At this time of the year, the desert is in bloom, and the temperature ranges from low-50s to high 70s. Indian Creek—the water source that gives the area its name—is low enough that we can cross it easily in a Jeep, but the purple meadow flowers are somehow finding enough water to color our morning walks to the crags.