Tuesday, May 16, 2017

back to town

By Saturday morning, our camping interlude had come to an end.  I do like camping (now, out here where it is dry with no mosquitoes) and car camping is super-easy, with the air mattress and big cooler of cold beer and extra clothes just-in-case.  But I have my limits and 2-3 days is about it.  We broke down camp, reorganized the truck so we could access the hiking and MTBing gear better and headed back up to Moab.  This may have been the last time we stay at the Needles Outpost too: the campground is a private business, leasing land from the state, and the state is selling the 640-acre parcel at auction later this month.  We hope that it doesn't get bought by a developer - it would be difficult, since it is off-grid and all the water has to be trucked in - and it would be great if the new owner continued to operate the Outpost, especially since it's the only services within 45 miles of the Needles.

View of the La Sals from Needles District

We were up at the MOAB Brand Trails around 10:30 a.m. and got our wheels on the dirt a half hour later.  The parking lot was busy but not completely full, not a bad crowd for mid-morning on a weekend.  We did see quite a few people on the Bar M loop our first time around but it had cleared out by our second time through.  We finished up around 1:30 p.m., just in time for a squall with strong wind gusts to blow through.  H almost lost his hat!  Once the little storm moved off, we puttered around for a while, patting the various dogs who stopped by to say hello as we put our gear away.

Claret-cup in bloom

We checked in at the Kokopelli Lodge (office dog Frank was available for belly-rubs), took quick showers and then headed to the laundromat and supermarket.  Rain moved in again while we were finishing our errands - absolutely bucketing down for a while - but there was a break long enough for us to walk to the Moab Brewery.  The place was packed (and it wasn't even 6 p.m. yet) but we managed to score seats at the bar, where we talked with some folks.  One guy, originally from New Hampshire, now lives in Cottonwood Heights and skis at Alta; and a cycling couple now from Boulder but originally hailing from Vermont and Pittsburgh.  (The wife was wearing a Penguins shirt and was not happy that the Washington Senators were currently beating her team in playoff hockey on the bar's televisions.)  We ate healthily (veggie wrap and veggie burrito), drank some Johnny's IPAs and scored some hiking recommendations for the next day.  Not a bad way to transition back to civilization after a couple of days in the desert.

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