Celebrating Birthdays, Rappelling and Mountain Biking in Moab, Utah

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One of the BFF’s turned 50 in 2020. At the time, the best we could do was celebrate by camping in the backyard. This year was different. All of us are fully vaccinated so we decided to step out and road trip to one of our all-time favorite places in the US – Moab, Utah. We loaded up the dogs, the mountain bikes and headed West. I’ve posted about Moab before HERE and HERE, but we did some new stuff I’d like to share.

1). We hired a guide and went Canyoneering. Our half-day trip was focused on a short hike and rappelling into canyons. I have a significant fear of heights so I knew this would be a stretch emotionally and physically.

They started us out on a baby 10 footer (which still scared the crap out of me), 120 foot shear drop ( I almost didn’t do it), 65 foot (ish) saunter down a wall, and a 75 foot (ish) rappel with an overhang.

All the rappels were scary to me for various reasons…death being one of them. I was also worried I was going to smash my face into the wall, or flip upside down. Little baby things like that. We all happily survived, some of us with a little piddle in our pants.

Honestly, once my feet landed on the ground after the last rappel, I was grateful for the whole experience and would totally do it again!

Scenes from the hiking bits:

Scenes from the terrifying (at least to me) rappelling bits:

2). The town of Moab has a great bike path system. The path was right outside our hotel, so one early morning we jumped on the bikes and headed past Arches National Park, up the hill to a mountain biking area called the Moab Brands Focus Area (um, this doesn’t even sound interesting).

There weren’t many people and lots of options for beginners, which was great for me. The Lazy/EZ loop had sooo many ‘big’ rocks, at one point I got sick of walking my bike, so I sucked it up and mowed over them (this is a Christmas miracle, BTW). The views up there were INCREDIBLE – you can see the back side of Arches National Park.

Should you be interested in exploring all the trails in the Moab area, I found a really good list of mountain biking trails with level of difficulty – you can find the list HERE.

3). Sean insisted on a nap (who does this on vacation???), so I popped over to the Canyonlands National Park for a quick jaunt, just long enough to scope out some future adventures. I stopped to see the iconic Mesa Arch which is often the quintessential sunrise image for the parks. It was so packed, and in my opinion, quite over-rated – lots of people and an anti-climatic view (maybe it was the photographer!!).

I did manage to stumble upon the Green River Overlook which is an absolute STUNNER.

Overall, it’s a beautiful place, just ripe for adventure. I’d like to backpack in here someday.

I can’t tell you how much fun we had. The human contact, celebrating life’s milestones and long time friendships, as well as, the physical and mental challenges we experienced were SOOOO needed. We came back feeling incredibly filled with gratitude and completely exhausted, the best kind of vacation.

“Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone” ~ Neal Donald Walsch

….i choose this….

Pam

83 comments

  1. Rappelling looks both fun and scary. I’m impressed that you were able to put your fears aside and go for it. I’m not sure I would do the same. It’s not the sport for me, but I did enjoy watching the movie, “The Dawn Wall,” recently.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely had to dig deep and breath! The Dawn Wall is excellent!!!! I hope you are doing alright. I can say, the last 4 months have been a little challenging. But, things are slowly moving back to normal. Whatever that is!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m doing great. I recently went to Yosemite and managed some fairly decent hikes without a problem. I also felt encouraged seeing that most people weren’t wearing masks on the trail. So I guess things really are slowly getting back to normal.

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    1. It was a much needed weekend – I’ll say that! And thank you, it was a challenge. It did make me want to get back to the climbing gym…maybe this summer 😍. Have a great time in Austin!!!

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  2. The art of descending canyons of various widths and depths sounds like an adventure to remember. Would love to try it out one day, just have to take comprehensive skills classes to learn how to rappel and rig ropes before starting off exploring canyons. I know that before heading into Zion’s canyons, you have to get a national park wilderness permit, which is required for every technical trip, is the same in Utah, too? Thanks for sharing and have a nice day, Pam πŸ™‚ Aiva

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    1. Aiva! I certainly did not have any training at all, but we did have a guide to help with the ropes and stuff. He was a really super guy and was patient as hell. I’m sure he was doing a little eye rolling at times. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. I would assume you would need a permit, but not entirely sure? For my skill level, I’d probably always have a guide to do that stuff. Hope all is well with you and yours!!

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  3. And you’ve done all of this with a “significant fear of heights” … oh boy, I salute you!! I know the feeling of “fear of heights” and I’m not sure I would even come close to this!
    Beautiful pictures and so glad you had to spent some quality time in nature and with loved-ones – that’s the perfect holiday 😊.

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    1. Oh great Jeff!!! I know you love it there like I do. That mountain biking link will come in handy when you go. You and Eli should do the 100 mile white rim trail and camp along the way!

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  4. Great photographs of stunning landscapes. That’s quit the adventure you’ve had there, and you’re certainly braver and bolder than me. I felt terrified just looking at some of those shots. Surely worth the trip alone simply for the Green River Overlook.

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    1. It’s a beautiful part of the states! So much to see and do out of the ordinary. I was terrified too! I came within seconds of not doing that 120 footer…till I heard my other chicken friend rejoice at the bottom πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. Glad I sucked it up.

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  5. oh wow that’s what you were doing the other day, cligging to a rope above a cliff ! now I see !
    it all sounds fabulous ! the views, this Green River Overlook !
    I remember passing through Moab yeeeeeaaars ago (as a leader for a 17-year-old kids-summer camp vacation) but we missed this for some reason. The rappelling sounds fuuuuun, though (but you know I’m not afraid of heights…)

    Thanks for the views !

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      1. I am NOT afraid of heights, I’m attracted to them ! But, whether you are or not, it doesn’t matter when it comes to jumping out of planes, your brain can’t register the altitude πŸ˜‰ It’s actually much easier to be afraid of heights when you can measure up the height ! πŸ˜›

        Love the rappelling part !

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    1. It was so fun. Words can’t express how fun! It’ll be one of things we’ll miss about living in Colorado….the proximity to Utah 😒. Just means we will visit for longer periods of time. Hope y’all have some fun things on the horizon πŸ™Œ

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  6. Wow, congratulations on so many achievements πŸ‘it looks absolutely stunning. We will soon be heading to central Australia and seeing some of its gorges and rock formations but no rappelling for me. 😱 So happy that life is getting back to a more normal look for you all again.

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      1. Yes much warmer from our south now having temps of around 17 degrees Celsius we will be heading into 27 degrees. Heavenly. But it is desert country so can go down to around 1 degree overnight. πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

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  7. “death being one of them” Always a good reason to worry in my book, Pam. πŸ™‚ Good for you, but I won’t be joining you any time soon… It is a beautiful area. Lots of fun rock art around the region as well. BTW, are you any closer to moving to Bend? As I recall that was something you were planning before the pandemic hit? –Curt

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    1. Lol Curt! Utah is one of my favorite places to explore for sure. We have our home in Bend, but renters in it until the spring of 2022. We’ll inch our way up there soon there after. We LITERALLY count down the days. Super excited.

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  8. You and I have a very different idea of what constitutes a vacation. Of course naps are part of vacations. Especially when you’ve been bouncing around mountains sides and flirting with danger. I can’t even look at your photos without getting queasy. But hey, you carry on as you see fit… and I’ll watch you with my feet safely planted on the ground. πŸ˜„

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  9. Wonderful landscapes and you really threw yourself into the adventures! I’m so impressed you overcame your fear of heights to do the rappelling πŸ™‚ I’m not scared of heights but I would still be frightened doing that I think!

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  10. I love Moab too, though I’m not sure I would be up for the rappelling. I’m scared just looking at your incredible photos. It’s great that you were able to make up for your friend’s no-go 2020 milestone bday.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a great trip, Pam! I wish I had friends willing to take these kinds of adventures with me. I love Moab, too! How brave you are to participate with your fear of heights! I used to have a climbing partner with a terrible fear of heights who said climbing actually helped her overcome it somewhat. So, keep it up, girlie! 🌞

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  12. Little did I know all this fun was lurking around the Moab area. We were there mainly for hiking and sightseeing in the parks, but clearly we need to go back and take it up a notch! Looks like an awesome trip with adventuresome friends – love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. awesome photos of the Moab adventure
    and happy birthday to your friend – my hubs turned 50 in 2020 also – and we had a quiet celebration by explored south florida – just the two of us – it was pandemic plan C

    Liked by 1 person

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