Escaping Winter in Moab

Moon Above Turret Arch

During the course of a winter that was making even hardcore ski-bums question their sanity, my fiancee and I realized we needed a much-needed break from the gray monotony. We packed up the car, secured arrangements, and made a quick long-weekend trip to Moab, Utah to remember what sunshine looked like, as well as the ground.

Since it was her first time there, I knew better than to try to squeeze in more than would be comfortable. Therefore, we spent most of our time in Arches National Park. We did plenty of hiking and sightseeing, and took great advantage of plenty of Moab eateries, particularly Sweet Cravings, which we completely fell in love with.

As a photographer, a change in scenery is always a welcome way to break up taking the scenery at home for granted, even if home happens to be my favorite national park. Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park were literally covered in white. The tourists visiting loved it because they had never seen so much snow. The problem was, neither had the locals. So being in Moab was a great way to throw some color into the historic winter.

Hiker on Sandstone Fin

Though we never did make it to what’s Arch’s most popular hike, Delicate Arch, we still managed to knock out plenty of miles in the park. It also helped us put into perspective just how intense the winter was. Only traces of ice and snow were found on a few of the higher trails we hiked, such as the Devil’s Garden Trail. Many others however were welcome jaunts through beautiful blue-sky days in balmy 50 degree weather.

We did manage to make a quick trip to the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park, however the weather wasn’t as pleasant that day as we had experienced other days. Plenty of clouds and non-stop forceful gusts of cold wind deterred our interest after a quick hike to Mesa Arch. Instead, we headed back to the relative warmth of Arches to see what kind of sunset awaited us.

Sunset Light on Sandstone Rocks

Our last night there treated us to the best sunset yet! We watched it from the Windows area around Turret Arch and bounced and hopped from the top of one sandstone ridge to another in a futile attempt to take it all in. I simply couldn’t keep up with my camera. There was too much dramatic light hitting too many locations underneath a powerfully colorful sky. I did my best, and I’m quite happy with most of what I got. Regardless, it was the perfect way to end our escape.

On our way back, we discovered a massive storm had knocked over 17 large steel power lines, leaving both Teton Village and the neighborhood around the airport without power. Teton Village remained without power for another week as winter refused to let up. Fortunately, we were safe when we got home, but a panic I was feeling to get back quickly on our return day was justified when the last convenient route into Jackson was closed due to avalanches just one hour after we got home.

Sandstone Rock Formation

Winter eventually let up and spring finally came, but the snow in the mountains is taking its time to melt. A historic amount was packed up there this season, so people like me are hoping summer isn’t too short this year.

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