We spent a good week in the Moab area, camping at Archview RV Park, a perfectly fine park about 10 minutes north of Arches National Park. We probably wouldn’t stay there again—the park really catered to folks driving ATVs—but it was a fine base of operations for us.
As I noted previously, we didn’t plan to hit Arches at all on this trip, and we focussed instead on the northern section of Canyonlands National Park, which includes the rather unbelievable Island in the Sky. Susan and I hiked together a bit, and she also went out for a day by herself to do a longer group of hikes (my knee can’t take too many long hikes, and I overdid it the past couple of weeks).
I have to say that Canyonlands is nothing short of breathtaking in its scope, and worth a visit from anyone looking for something a little less busy than other national parks in California and Utah. From the Needles to Elephant Rock to Island in the Sky, to the Green River, the Colorado River and more, it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and Susan and I both felt as if we missed quite a bit. As was the case with our trip to Zion, Canyonlands is one of those places on our shortlist for a return visit.
After a long week in the quiet outback of Needles Outpost, we also enjoyed a few forays into the town of Moab. We had two great dinners during the week—the dinner at Desert Bistro was honestly amazing—and found good coffee at the Moab Coffee Roasters.
We had planned to spend one additional day in the Moab area, leaving the RV park and moving to Horsethief Campground, which is up on BLM land a short distance from Canyonlands. We thought that one last night of dry camping in the wilderness would be a beautiful way to end this first trip out in the Casita before we headed home.
After that, we planned to head up towards Park City, Utah—a place we had been in 2014 for one of Susan’s Spartan races—and bypass Salt Lake City on our way back home. We mapped our route, and looked forward to the rest of the week.
Of course, before we go anywhere, we check the weather. On this trip, we have learned that you always have to check the weather. Frequently.1 And the forecast, which had looked ok earlier in the week, had turned ugly. A cold front with a winter storm was headed for Utah on Friday, bringing high winds and snow at higher elevations.
It didn’t take long for us to realize that, if we wanted to (a) stay warm, and (b) get closer to home, we would need to leave earlier than expected and chuck our Park City itinerary. Looking at the forecasts, we felt that, if we could get close to—or ideally, past—Salt Lake City, we might miss the snow and just get drenched a bit.
So, yesterday, we packed up and left Moab early in the day, with Salt Lake as our destination. We had an uneventful drive through the mountains out of Moab; the skies threatened to open the entire drive, and the temperature dropped quite a bit, but that was it.
We got to Salt Lake and decided to try and push through the city. A good idea until we got on I-15 at Provo, where the skies finally opened, the and visibility dropped, along with the temperature (the FJ’s thermometer registered 41° for most of the ride). We really didn’t have anywhere to go, so we pushed through Provo and the suburbs of Salt Lake, past downtown, then on up out of the city. The rain was unrelenting at times, but we just stayed in our lane, drove as slowly and as evenly as we could, and looked for a place to stop.
It took about two hours to make it from Provo to Brigham City, where we found a delightful little RV park called Golden Spike (a reference to the joining of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, which happened about 32 miles to the northwest, at Promontory Summit, Utah). And, you know what? The sun came out for a bit, birds were singing, and there were tulips and daffodils everywhere. It turned out to be a lovely place for us to be for the night, and we were grateful that we had gotten past the worst of the weather.
Today, we left Brigham City and drove out of Utah into Idaho. We had a bit of wind, and the temperatures are still on the cold side (it was 36° last night outside the Casita, but we were toasty inside), but it was an easy drive compared with the one we had yesterday. We are at a little park in Twin Falls that, like the one we were at last night, is a good place to be: there are trees outside our windows, and the highway is far enough away that the noise shouldn’t bother us.
Tomorrow Boise, then Oregon (La Grande) on Sunday, and home Tuesday. Wow!