If you haven't heard me say by now. I LOVE the dessert. Being just 4-6 hours away from endless hiking in warmer weather has been a blessing Brandon and I hadn't even comprehended when we chose to move to Denver a couple years ago.
This year winter started setting in around October., Naturally that meant Brandon and I were already starting to feel that cabin fever by Thanksgiving, so we made plans to head out to Moab over the break. Days before we took off, we realized a big winter storm was going to hit basically all of Eastern Utah and Western Colorado. After contemplating and a bit of arguing, HAH, we decided to hunker in for the storm. We did keep ourselves busy making custom, homemade wood lamps for our living room that I know absolutely adore now! But this left us with the anticipation of when we'd be able to make it out camping and hiking again in the near future.
Sooooo, of course with only the weekend to spare before all the family, holiday activities started ramping up, we dashed out to Moab for a quick little trip. We had been watching the weather closely and with the lows being in the 20s we expected to camp. We were ready to push our limits and see how cold we could handle sleeping in our little tent with all our sleeping bags and body heaters. Laughably, the day we were taking off the forecast changed and now suddenly the lows were suppose to be in the teens instead. We took off anyway deciding that we'd figure it out when we got there.
Yep it was freezing! We got out to get gas in Grand Junction and as we took off again towards Moab, we changed plans and quickly called to book a hotel room in Fruita. That night, we decided to try again, but the next morning as we drove the final stretch to Moab, it was obvious we both wanted a warm bed over the luxuries we love about camping. So, hotel it was. To make ourselves feel better about the decision, we vowed to still be outside from sunrise to sunset each day and to eat the camping foods we had brought for lunch and supper instead of over indulging in eating out. (We'd be over indulging for the holidays in just a few short days!)
Alright, so lets get to the good stuff. Saturday morning we got our hotel and then took off on about a 9 mile out and back hike to Pothole Arch. I usually have all my stats for exactly how many miles it was, how long it took us, elevation gain and all the fancy stuff, but honestly I'm a bit too lazy to go digging through our GPS for the information since it was just a day hike. If I'm remembering right, we spend from about 11am-3:30pm hiking out and back with a Cliff Bar and coffee lunch at the arch.
We had just about an hour before sunset, and of course I had plans to drive up the canyon further to the top of Hurrah Pass. We took off and took tested out our new 4Runner for the first time on some off-roads. We litterallly made it with like 10 minutes to spare. We jumped out of the car. Brandon started making dinner (grilled chicken sandwiches and chips) while I set up my tripod and forced Brandon to stop for a few photos.
We ate dinner as the sun completely disappeared and loaded up the car as fast as possible to get out of the cold. We got back to the hotel. Hit the sack and woke up again to go right back up Hurrah Pass for sunrise! Oh the things Brandon does to make his wife happy. LOL But seriously, this has got to be the best sunrise I've ever seen!
After the colors finally faded into normal daylight, we headed back down into town to a local Moab coffee shop. Once caffeinated up, we headed back out for our final hike of the trip. We had been past Hunter's Canyon a dozen times by now between all our trip to Moab, so we decided we'd do a hike to the top. There was only about a mile and a half trail until it widened to a 4x4 road that you could reach from the opposite direction. We had no real destination plans for this hike, we would simply climb to the top and then walk until we were about half way tired and turn around LOL. We go about 3.9 miles when we finally looked at the GPS for the first time. I of course wanted to get to 4.5 miles in order to match the hike the day before, so we continued. We suddenly came to a fork in the road that met up with a couple other 4x4 roads. Luckily there was a sign and we picked the direction that pointed to an arch we couldn't yet see and had no clue how far away it was. We aren't quite at 4.5 miles yet when we see another sign that point left for the arch and we can see it! Obviously you're getting the gist that we hiked more than 4.5 miles out because who could stop now?
We finally made it to the arch and had the entire thing to ourselves! At this point, we realize we've got almost 6 miles back to the car. We definitely do not have enough time to get to the car and drive to another epic location before sunset, so we opted to take our time and capture a few photos at the top of Hunter Canyon at instead. We took a few photos and realized the sky was not going to blow up with color, so instead of waiting until the sun was completely gone we dashed to the car in hopes we'd make it back before it got dark.
We got to the car just as the last light was still available. Drove a few hundred feet to the campground near the trailhead parking and grilled up a few hots dogs quick before spending our last night in the hotel. Seriously so grateful for where we've decided to dig down roots and for Brandon who seems to always have the motivation to get us out hiking!