Saturday, April 19, 2008

On the Road in Moab, Utah
Or part Two: Near-Naked Moments in Wilderness

I envy this bird, look where it lives!

In the last month. I've been practicing the art of traveling lightly, both in Moab, which in April was wonderfully hot and in then this week in Southern Oregon. MY friend Jen and I found a hike near a creek up Millcreek Canyon in Moab, Utah and since it was 80 degrees, I peeled off my clothes in a convenient cave and put on my swimsuit. Mid trail there's a place where you can verge and head down to the willows and a clean meandering stream full of big boulders.

Travel Tip: Mill Creek Canyon trail follows a crystal sandy-bottomed river full of several deep swimming holes. The hike requires wading in some parts. The locals love to come here in the summer when the weather is 100+ degrees. It's not in the state of federal parks, so you don't have to pay a fee.
Directions: From downtown Moab, head east on center street, turn right on 400 E, then left on Mill Creek Dr. Merge right when Mill Creek Dr. turns right and the Sand Flats Rd. goes straight. Finally, go left on Powerhouse Lane until it ends at a dirt pullout and parking area.

At Mill Creek, the water was too cold to completely plunge in (it was April when I went), but I waded and splashed around then lay on the hot rocks and in the hot sand.

What could be better after a long winter under the stinky inversion of Salt Lake Valley then to leave the slushy city and head to Southern Utah redrock country to scale rocks, hike up a canyon full of hot towering rocks, stopping to pick spring watercress.

Spring Watercress

to walk under in a natural rock amplitheater at night under the Universe's own star show, walking along the rim looking for Deadhorse Point (a precipice where legend says old cowboys used to lead wild mustangs and after they choose which one's they wanted, they'd block off the bridge and let the other Mustangs starve and waste away.)

and we camped on a lonely bluff overlooking a Marscape, climbed the knarled arms of an ancient juniper and walked barefoot in red soil where Indians once walked.

Jen posing on the final leg of the Millcreek Canyon trail.

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