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John Kasaian
23-Dec-2017, 13:08
My son and daughter have been doing really well at their studies, so I was thinking of treating them to a short trip to Moab this Spring---a little mountain biking, a little river rafting, a little hiking in Arches--- that sort of stuff.
While Zion would be closer, hiking the Narrows would be the big draw there and I understand that gets dangerous during the monsoon season, so Moab?
Is Moab Adventure Center a good outfitter for booking?
We'll need a room for at least a part of our stay---any recommended motels in Moab?
Thanks!

Erik Larsen
23-Dec-2017, 13:29
It's a zoo over Easter with the jeep safari going on. I would pick somewhere else that time of year...

tgtaylor
23-Dec-2017, 14:09
If your children are on the semester system, open to replacing the mountain bike with snow shoes when the conditions dictate (whether mountain or road bike you are allowed to ride on paved roads only), and can otherwise swing it, right now until the beginning of the spring semester at the end of January is the best time to go IMHO. Why: The motels in DT Moab are empty and the rates low (I paid $28/night for a room with 3 beds and a color TV, Continental breakfast included); zero crowds inside the park with your pick of campgrounds if camping is your thing; and the winter sky and lighting are superb. Most of the trails are rated easy to moderate and are up to 2 miles or so. When I was there last during a January there was hardly any snow on the ground and didn't need the snow shoes.

Here's the weather outlook for the next 7 days: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?site=GJT&textField1=38.5733&textField2=-109.549&e=0#.Wj6-At-nHIV The current situation with the High pressure system hugging the coast is likely bringing more snow to Utah but that system won't last. Even so, Arches with a dusting of snow may be more photogenic than without.

Thomas

JMO
23-Dec-2017, 14:40
Re good basic motels in Moab, I've stayed at both the Adventure Inn (Mar. 2015 & Oct. 2016) and Inca Inn (Oct. 2016) which are next door to each other on No. Main Street. These are good, clean and basic motels with all ground level rooms. Of the two, I'd give a slight edge to the Inca Inn, which has a few more rooms and a somewhat better breakfast offering.

biedron
23-Dec-2017, 19:00
I can also recommend Inca Inn as a good no frills place to stay in Moab. Iíve stayed there on 3 or 4 occasions. Unusual colored-light shower heads!

As mentioned, Winter is a good time to avoid the crowds

photonsoup
23-Dec-2017, 20:45
It's a zoo over Easter with the jeep safari going on. I would pick somewhere else that time of year...

Can’t agree more! For Easter I’d stay in Kanab and try for permits to the wave. Lots of other places if you don’t get drawn.

Drew Wiley
24-Dec-2017, 15:34
Just a few days ago I reprinted some old 4X5's of Fisher Towers and the Colorado River toward Cisco back when Moab was a distinctly unfriendly mining town. Now it's overrun with cyclists. Negro Bill Canyon is a hiking gem just a few miles out of town. If we see any climbers rappelling from Morning Glory Arch causing rope-burn marks, please lynch them with their own rope. Deadhorse Point and Arches are nearby. It's fairly easy to find solitude except in a few predictable postcard spots. Lots of trail bike opportunities, though last time I was there, the grocery store cashier said they were willing to pay a bounty for any cyclist you are able to run over with a truck.

Erik Larsen
24-Dec-2017, 16:16
Just a few days ago I reprinted some old 4X5's of Fisher Towers and the Colorado River toward Cisco back when Moab was a distinctly unfriendly mining town. Now it's overrun with cyclists. Negro Bill Canyon is a hiking gem just a few miles out of town. If we see any climbers rappelling from Morning Glory Arch causing rope-burn marks, please lynch them with their own rope. Deadhorse Point and Arches are nearby. It's fairly easy to find solitude except in a few predictable postcard spots. Lots of trail bike opportunities, though last time I was there, the grocery store cashier said they were willing to pay a bounty for any cyclist you are able to run over with a truck.

The Moab area has changed so much in just the last 10 years. It has become Yosemite like with the traffic. Islands in the sky isn't too bad but Arches is almost not worth it anymore. Even the remote Needles district is crowded now. We tried to camp there in February thinking we'd have the place to ourselves only to find the campground full. The only just a few years ago it was much less crowded. On the other hand, the maze district is still the place for solitude mostly because the roads are impassable by passenger cars. I used to go to the area a few times a month as it's only an hour away, not so much anymore unless I'm playing tour guide. I don't know why the area suddenly became so popular to the masses in recent years but I bet it's at least a tenfold increase in visitors.

tgtaylor
24-Dec-2017, 16:53
The first time I was in Moab, 1970 or '71, I thought Moab was just a gas station. Pulled up on a cold night night to fill-up to find a woman wearing overalls illuminated by the headlights peering at me through the windshield. In those days most gas stations were not self-service.

Thomas

Drew Wiley
24-Dec-2017, 17:10
My main gripe in mid-Spring is sand flies in damp washes. Nov is my favorite month, though it gets cold at night, and one must be cautious around inebriated deer hunters up in the aspens in the lovely nearby Abajo mtns. But I've easily found total solitude as well as great scenery even a short distance from popular spots in Arches. Just walk the opposite direction as everyone else! That formula even works around here in the Golden Gate headlands. If I were to go back to the high SW soon, I'd want to spend some more quality time in Escalate/Grand Staircase, just in case the coming string of lawsuits fail and the area does get ransacked and polluted as mandated for low-grade coal extraction. But too many tourists have spoiled certain places too. Glad I have my memories.

Drew Wiley
24-Dec-2017, 17:17
Oh... Since Zion is way closer, John, just remember that it contains a majestic distinct district called Kolob Canyon. It is higher and somewhat south of accommodations in Cedar City. Backpack camping is on a reservation system. Some spectacular trails.

John Kasaian
24-Dec-2017, 23:32
Just a few days ago I reprinted some old 4X5's of Fisher Towers and the Colorado River toward Cisco back when Moab was a distinctly unfriendly mining town. Now it's overrun with cyclists. Negro Bill Canyon is a hiking gem just a few miles out of town. If we see any climbers rappelling from Morning Glory Arch causing rope-burn marks, please lynch them with their own rope. Deadhorse Point and Arches are nearby. It's fairly easy to find solitude except in a few predictable postcard spots. Lots of trail bike opportunities, though last time I was there, the grocery store cashier said they were willing to pay a bounty for any cyclist you are able to run over with a truck.

Sounds like the Buck Horn in North Fork!

Amfooty
24-Dec-2017, 23:57
Would you be up for camping? There are some amazing spots out there. I took a class trip there to visit arches and canyon lands--we camped in this place in the middle of nowhere and it was incredible. It's spectacular out there.

xkaes
25-Dec-2017, 07:06
Not to be too pessimistic, but Spring is the worse and best time to visit "canyon country" -- and Easter or any Spring Holiday is the worst of the worst. Anywhere mountain bikes, motorcycles, and jeeps are allowed are simply over-run. For some areas -- more and more each year -- you need permits. Last time I checked to get a permit for the White Rim jeep trail (Island in the Sky) anytime in the Spring had a two year waiting list. If you use an outfitter, you will be all set because they buy up all the permits the day they become available -- and basically sell them to their customers for a hefty price. There are lots of well-known places around Moab -- Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Natural Bridges, etc. But there are even more-numerous, lesser-known areas -- Dark Canyon, Grand Staircase/Escalante, Bear Ears, Grand Gulch, etc.

It basically comes down to how well you handle crowds. If you like lots of people, your biggest problem will be finding a place(s) to stay. Just bring lots of cash and a 100X ND filter so you can take pictures without any "tourists" in the picture. If you like privacy, just stay away from places where bikes, motorcycles and jeeps are allowed. That's really pretty easy except that you will have to hike in several miles with your photo gear, camping gear, food, and water -- eight pounds per gallon. Early Spring or late Fall is the best hiking time. Winter, like right now, second best -- no crowds at all. Summer is just too hot. I've done it on Memorial Day in the San Rafael Reef in 100 degree sunliight with an 80 pound pack -- and somehow survived to tell about it.

If you want some tips on some "Vision Quest" types of areas -- like Robber's Roost and Sid's Mt. -- let me know. These are really easy to find -- just get some topos and go where there are no trails!

P.S. The City Market on the south side of Moab makes incredible cheese/jalapeno rolls/muffins. You have to stand in line even when it's not Easter!

Alan Klein
25-Dec-2017, 10:23
When's best times for me and my wife to visit Zion, Bryce, Moab, Arches, Monument Valley, Capital Reef, Grand Canyon, Sedona. We plan to do a big circle using Sedona as a start and end point. We're retired so we have flexibility. We're not hiking or cycling so we don;t plan on staying extended times in any park. How much time should we allow? Thanks.

xkaes
25-Dec-2017, 10:43
When's best times for me and my wife to visit Zion, Bryce, Moab, Arches, Monument Valley, Capital Reef, Grand Canyon, Sedona. We plan to do a big circle using Sedona as a start and end point. We're retired so we have flexibility. We're not hiking or cycling so we don;t plan on staying extended times in any park. How much time should we allow? Thanks.

I'd recommend late Fall -- October/November. The crowds have died down by then and it's not too hot or cold. How much time? I'd plan on getting back home in February. Start with the northern areas (Island in the Sky) and work your way south. The North rim of the Grand Canyon -- the best part -- is closed in the Winter.

But in any case, spend as much time as you can on Utah Route 12.

tgtaylor
25-Dec-2017, 12:52
Winter (January) view from I-80 across the Bonneville Salt Flat, Great Salt Lake, Utah:

http://spiritsofsilver.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/Great_Salt_Lake.312104718_large.jpg

Chopin Concertos (Rudolph Serkin, Piano) are on the stereo and I am going for a 15 mile bike ride before getting into the Christmas, 2017 meal. Instead of traditional, this year its Creole Chicken Jambalaya with pork, ham, and smoked sausage. I settled on the menu yesterday and in the afternoon rushed out to buy a whole young chicken and finally found one 5.45 pounder remaining at a Safeway and snapped it up. Everywhere there were only packages of all the same pieces until I found this Safeway. A few day ago whole fresh chickens were everywhere.

Merry Christmas,

Thomas

Drew Wiley
26-Dec-2017, 17:06
Hi John. I'm not familiar with the current bar or bars in North Fork. But previously, the son of the owner of the bar there would cross the river and visit us, because my nephew was in the same high school class. Nobody in that family, including the owner, would enter it during business hours. One Chistmas season, there were four murders, including a literal decapitation via buck knife. Old Moab was tame by comparison. But I walked into what was probably the only breakfast joint in town at that time and got quite an eyeing over from a sheriff that looked just like he'd come from a Hollywood Western movie set, and talked like it too. Think of how the Muny character (Clint Eastwood) felt when he encountered the Sheriff of Big Whiskey. I did walk out unlynched. There were closer calls in some of the polygamous towns.

John Kasaian
28-Dec-2017, 15:11
We'd only have a few days at best. I was thinking mountain biking the Courthouse Wash loop trail, a full day rafting on the Colorado and some short easy hikes in Arches, using an outfitter for the mtn biking and river rafting(Moab Adventures, I think?) We'd need to get a motel. This will be a bonding and treat for my kids trip rather than a photo safari for dad.
Fresno to St George is a full day of driving so we might hit Las Vegas (curses!) on the way coming or going.

Plan B would be blowing through Vegas and staying in St. George and scoping out Bryce and/or Zion on day trips.
If the weather is nice, camping and star gazing would be an option.

John Kasaian
28-Dec-2017, 15:19
Hi John. I'm not familiar with the current bar or bars in North Fork. But previously, the son of the owner of the bar there would cross the river and visit us, because my nephew was in the same high school class. Nobody in that family, including the owner, would enter it during business hours. One Chistmas season, there were four murders, including a literal decapitation via buck knife. Old Moab was tame by comparison. But I walked into what was probably the only breakfast joint in town at that time and got quite an eyeing over from a sheriff that looked just like he'd come from a Hollywood Western movie set, and talked like it too. Think of how the Muny character (Clint Eastwood) felt when he encountered the Sheriff of Big Whiskey. I did walk out unlynched. There were closer calls in some of the polygamous towns.

North Fork has calmed down a notch since the lumber mill closed and all the chain saws had to be pawned to pay PG&E (Pacific Graft & Extortion) Now meth is the cash crop and no one wants to call attention to that but I wonder how many fires up there got started from cooking meth? .

Drew Wiley
28-Dec-2017, 16:19
I don't know. On my side of the SJ River, even potheads would call information on suspected meth lab due to forest fire concerns. The tri-county situation of Madera, Mariposa, and Tuolumne has always had a hard drug problem. "Boss Hogg" Raines used to fly in all kinds of drugs to remote rural airstrips. It wasn't exactly a secret, and it's not just any small-town Sheriff that get negatively featured on Sixty Minutes. But he got away with it, so must have paid off FBI agents too. Since then, the Hell's Angels have gotten control of all the meth distribution. I heard conflicting stories about how the recent North Fork fire started, but it was somewhere behind the Indian museum. I drove past there for a look about two weeks later. Yards in the area have always tended to be cluttered with dead cars, half-empty oil cans, oily rags - pretty much the same riff-raff associated with meth culture in general. But arson occurs from petty disputes among that crowd too. Ever watch Winter's Bone about the Missouri meth culture? Good movie.

tgtaylor
29-Dec-2017, 17:04
99.4F...I'm going to start processing this roll of Porta 160 at 100.4F as recommended by Jobo and see if I like the result.

Thomas