With nearly 20 inches of new snow here last week in the Vail Valley, it’s hard to believe that spring is starting to happen out there. But a recent getaway to Moab/Indian Creek confirmed it. Yep, there are places—right now—where people are wearing flip-flops and climbing outside in the afternoon sun. My motorcycle-diva friend Karen (waking up in tent, at right) provided the impetus for the journey. Her friend was running in a race in Moab, so we decided to rally there for some adventures. This fall, she took a three-month Pacific Northwest motorcycle trip (trying to stay on backroads as much as possible), so I trusted her in the driver’s seat for the afternoon. We cruised out of Moab on Spanish Valley and then headed up into the hills. There was still some snow up there, and a few places where I had to dismount so that she could navigate through patches of ice, but the view of Castle Valley from above was well worth the bits of walking that were required.
Good coffee stops aside, Moab isn’t one of my favorite places in the world. But I dream about everything that surrounds it. Deep red rock canyons, crack climbing, coyote songs, and spacious desert vistas: these are the things I crave, and a night camping at the Bridger Jack Mesa gave me enough of a fix…for a little while. Of course, I’m already planning a return.
The climbing the next day at Indian Creek’s Pistol Whipped was painful and as humbling as ever. I went out with two guys who seemed to float up that stuff effortlessly, as if a 5.12 finger crack were a warm-up. Struggle: I suppose that enough of it is important to keep life fresh, and climbing in the desert will probably always put me back in my place.