Hooray for [remembering the] beers!
The first stop was just north of town at the MOAB Brand Trails. We rode 13.1 miles, taking the new Rusty Spur loop, then the Bar M loop, then Rusty Spur again. The MOAB Brand Trails is not necessarily where the local hot-doggers go to ride, although there are some challenging trails winding around the slickrock; the Bar M is an old jeep road with some slickrock and sand and the Rusty Spur is great (but too short) red dirt, hard-pack singletrack. We finished up just as it was starting to get busy, with SUV- and van-loads of families and tour groups moving in for midday rides, and this time we were smart enough to remember the cooler for post-ride beers.
The blue skies and red sands of Negro Bill Canyon
Next we drove back towards town, turning off onto 128 to hike Negro Bill Canyon to the Morning Glory natural bridge (4.4 mi. RT). I'd done this hike last year but H hadn't. The trailhead parking lot was packed but we managed to time it right, with most people heading out as we were heading in. We met lots of very nice dogs who seemed to appreciate the shade of the canyon walls and cool canyon streams as much (or more) than we did. There is some up-and-down but not a lot of elevation gain overall; despite the gentle grade, it was pretty hot in the sun and the sandy ground made us work for our steps in places. Afterwards, we found a shady spot by the Colorado River for our second round of PBRs.
H under Morning Glory Bridge
Keeping up with our agenda, we got cleaned up back at the motel, then walked to Woody's for drinks and part of the Utah State football game before putting our hiking boots back on for a sunset walk to Delicate Arch. This was also an extremely popular idea and by the time we found ourselves a chunk of rock to sit on up by the arch, there must have been close to 200 other tourists there. As it got closer to sundown, however, the clouds started to build up in the west. We managed to get a couple of photos of Delicate Arch without any other people in the shot and then walked out before it got dark since there wasn't going to be any sunset to speak of.
I can't believe there are no people in this shot
We got to Miguel's Baja Grill around 8 p.m. and were seated for dinner at 8:30. We really like their food (the chicken version of the "Mother Of All Burritos" for H and lamb enchiladas with both red and green sauce for me; also, margaritas) but the service was terrible. I'm willing to go back but I think we'll ask to sit in a different section; we had the same waiter last year and he was pretty slow then too. At this point we were pretty beat so we went back to our room, eyeing the cloudy skies, packed up our stuff and started watching the worsening weather reports.