But we were taken aback this trip to find that we had LOTS of company, and remembered that we generally visit here in mid-October or later, which apparently thins the herd.
Attempting Our Favorite Hike: Devil’s Garden
We were looking forward to hiking Devil’s Garden, one of our favorite trails in Arches. It’s a 7-mile hike that winds past a couple of beautiful arches and traverses slickrock fins high above the canyon below.
We were stunned upon arriving at 10 a.m. to find the parking lot completely full. Vehicles were lined bumper-to-bumper along the shoulder of the access road. This was enough to immediately make Eric cranky, but I was determined to do this hike. I reminded him that no matter how many people start off on the trail, almost all of them abandon it about a mile in at Landscape Arch.
Not this time. I don’t know why, but all kinds of people decided to try to make it all the way. This is not an easy hike, but when we got to the fins, it looked like a trail of ants climbing vertically up the wall of the slickrock. “I feel like we’re at Epcot,” said Eric. There were people in front of us, behind us, and elbowing around us as we started up the fins. Not the usual peaceful communing with nature that we’ve previously experienced on this hike.
We bailed at this point, hiking back to Landscape Arch and taking the primitive backcountry trail, which we shared with only a handful of people (obviously, the “Caution: Primitive Trail” sign keeps a lot of people away).
Too Many People, Everywhere
Our entire experience of Moab this time was that there were too many people everywhere. After almost two weeks of primitive camping, we needed a couple of days to regroup (doing laundry, grocery shopping, and other maintenance), so we stayed in an RV park. The park was wall-to-wall RV’s (like every RV park in Moab), but fortunately, surprisingly quiet and peaceful.
We took care of our tasks, biked one day, and hiked another. And we had a wonderful dinner at the Desert Bistro for Eric’s belated birthday dinner. He ordered elk tenderloin with a plum-chipotle sauce over corn cakes, and I had sea bass encrusted with pistachios topped with a blueberry-habanero sauce. The food was delicious, and the owner generously treated Eric to carrot cake, his all-time favorite dessert. That made everything better. But in the future, we’ll wait until late October before we venture into Moab again.