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Arches, Moab and Ricky the Raccoon
Jeff and I spent a recent weekend adventuring around Moab and the surrounding area and now I finally have time to write about it...

Jeff has been taking every opportunity to increase his altitude in preparation for an upcoming trip to Peru, in which he is planning on backpacking to Machu Pichu, so he wanted to hike Arches. I never need any excuse or reason to hike anything, so in keeping with my goal of hiking as many summits and mountain ranges as possible this summer, I was all over the idea. However, there was a tragedy on the way down. Ricky the Raccoon decided that Jeff's bumper wasn't messed up enough....may he rest in peace. Poor Ricky.

Those snow-capped mountains in the background are the La Sal Mountains. La Sal is Spanish for "the salt."

This was my first time to Arches since I was a kid and I was completely fascinated with the endless variety of geological formations, especially the bowl-shaped area around Delicate Arch. It was absolutely amazing...I have seen that Arch my entire life, on billboards and license plates and such, but it only now began to mean something to me. You really just have to hike up to it and stand underneath of it to see what I mean.

We hiked all over the place, from Delicate Arch to The Windows to Devil's Garden. Took a lot of pictures. Got really tired of stupid, loud, obnoxious tourists (mainly of the grumpy, inconsiderate, phone-obsessed, teenage variety.)

I accidently had my camera set on the wrong settings for the entire first day, so a whole slew of my pictures are too bright or overexposed, however the lightness of the above picture makes it look almost like a painting. I thought it looked cool.

On the return trip, we took the scenic route through the canyon along the Colorado River to an obscure, creepy-as-hell ghost town named Cisco (,_Utah). This is a town straight out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre...half destroyed buildings with childrens' clothing strewn about on the ground, surrounded by wrecked cars with human-sized holes in the front windshields and the airbags blown. A woman was sitting alone with a dog on the porch of what looked like a general store. After she walked off, we peered through the windows. I only saw covered furniture and a counter with beef jerky, but it creeped me out so much that I literally ran back to the car.

Remember the La Sal Mountains? La Sal means "the salt" in Spanish. Don't forget.

The first summit of the season

Now this may not be the highest summit, nor the hardest. But after not hiking anything with any degree of difficulty for 14 months (!), baby steps are required to assure the health and safety of both me and my dog. This was also the first offroad experience for my new hiking boots (see previous post) and the first use of my new backpack. With my plans of summiting Kings Peak this season, I decided to splurge (I am not allowed to go to REI again anytime soon).

A really fast way of breaking in new boots is to follow these instructions:

Step 1) Hike around a lake fed by a creek with steep embankments

Step 2) Decide the mud on the embankment really doesn't look that deep

Step 3) Lose all footing and slide down the embankment into 6 inches of mud

Step 4) Grab onto nearby trees to try to pull yourself out...but that doesn't work because you can't gain any traction in 6 inches of mud

Step 5) Use all body parts to pry rapidly sinking body out of mud ala The Princess Bride

Step 6) Pull stuck dog out of mud ala The Neverending Story (he wasn't any smarter)

Step 7) Proceed to hike to the very top of the foothills behind the U of U

By the time we got to the top, Wyatt was dry and most of the mud had fallen off (I love his self-cleaning fur). I was still waist deep in dried mud, bloody scrapes and bruises. My favorite way to spend a Saturday...covered in mud on the top of a mountain (or foothill) with my dog. Life is good.
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