Red Desert, Part 1

Red Desert, Part 1

You may have already had a clue somewhere along the way, but I spent Thanksgiving in Moab / Arches / Indian Creek. We (that is, Alyssa and I) went for climbing and biking and viking dining, and friendship (!). Moab's famous for biking, and the nearby Indian Creek is even more famous for its splitter cracks, and the racks they need. Before I even made it down to Laramie, I had quite a few friends donate cams to make sure I was ready for what lay waiting for us in the desert.

Thanks Dan, Casey, and Dave!
Thanks Dan, Casey, and Dave!

I got in to Laramie Friday night, ready to roll out the next morning, but the weather forecast didn't show Moab as looking all too accommodating...

A forecast of rain all weekend long kept us up north, where we went skiing rather than be miserable in a wet tent. So this is the place where'd I'd put pictures of fluffy snow and Jenn, Doro, Alyssa and I going through it, but wait a second. The name of this post is 'Red Desert,' people! I can't go doin no thang like that. So let's just jump over the weekend, drive like the wind through the bad weather on I-70 and the dark drive onto potash road, and into the campsite that was hardly off the highway, where the sound of trucks speeding by reverberated off the canyon walls and shook us from sleep far, far too often, and we'll just wake up on...


Er. I use to write lots of my section breaks in Japanese. Now I have again! Ha! Ahem.


On Monday, Alyssa and I went into town, bought a few necessities (namely: guidebooks), had a nice breakfast, and debated what in the hell we'd do with ourselves, now that we had two great climbing guides to read and a whole week to play. We debated the logistics of climbing with friends, climbing different sorts of features, getting in biking, where we'd camp, and this and that.

Alyssa went over the Indian Creek guidebook, and I had the one for Moab's surrounding area. The first section of the book is Arches National Park, named by its arches, but just as prominent for its desert towers...

Arches and towers, to prove a point.
Arches and towers, to prove a point.

The weather was still frigid after the weekend of rain. We took our time getting to the tower we had decided to climb, knowing full well it wouldn't be climbable so long as the sun was hidden behind the clouds.

Arches isn't the sort of place where you feel any sort of need to rush through, though.


When the sun came out and we arrived at our destination, where the tower was immediately off the road, we hopped out of the car to the sound of someone racking up. Shit. That meant we weren't going to get first go on our climb, and by then it was so late in the day we were worried we might not get up it at all.

So, we stood in the parking lot and talked with some nice guys from Fort Collins, and it wasn't until we were ten minutes into the conversation that Alyssa and I realized that they had been our neighbors at the campsite the night before, and that we had talked with them in the morning when everyone was wearing puffies. They, on the other hand, immediately recognized us and our Brown Dog.

Brown Dog!
Brown Dog!
Are you getting why it's called "Red Desert" yet? Also: Owl Rock!

After spending ages debating what we'd climb only to find we wouldn't be able to climb it, Alyssa and I were again lost in a sea of indecision ( this is how we spend a lot of our time ). Luckily, not far from Owl Rock (our original target) was Bullwinkle Rock. They were so close together that while Alyssa contemplated how we'd get up Bullwinkle, I snapped this one of her and Owl.

Alyssa and owl rock and brown dog
Alyssa and Owl Rock, Hard, er.
Alyssa's reaction to me putting four consecutive pictures of her and a giant phallus on the internet

Anyhoo, we went up Bullwinkle, which was a fun 5.6 chimney with a great view at the top. Just general good-funs mixed in with lots of cool.

Goober Mode: Engaged.
Goober Mode: Engaged.
Scoping out the chimney
Scoping out the chimney
Up we go
Up we go
I'm ready for my closeup, Mr Deville. (What is that even from?)
I'm ready for my closeup, Mr Deville. (What is that even from?)
Alyssa goobering up the chimney
Alyssa bringing her own Goober up the chimney
The view from the top
The view from the top


Go team!

After enjoying the view for a bit (the "Arches" photo at the top was taken from there, too) and maybe even making out a little, we set up to have a fun rap down.

Move weight to rope annnnnd...
Weeee! I <3 Anchors
I also
Me & the BD, who had been waiting so patiently below, guarding our gear

And that was our time on Bullwinkle. We walked back to the car but stopped the car every fifteen feet. The clouds that had left the sky clear for our climb still sat down in some valleys, creating amazing, amazing views off in the distance. For the first time, with the fog gone, the Selkirks were visible.

Views like this one
And this one
Or even this one!

We enjoyed the sunset in Arches...

Alyssa, Matt, and some funny rocks

...and drove through the darkness to Indian Creek, where we were grateful to have taken a car with clearance as we traveled worn-through dirt roads and stormed through flooded creeks.

Hours from any real source of light, we set up camp and went to sleep looking at this, excited for what the sunrise would bring...

The Bridger Jacks
The Bridger Jacks

Update: Read parts two and three

Matt Enlow

Matt has a camera, a home on wheels, and this website
Down by the river