Sunday, October 27, 2013

Moab Canyons Endurance Ride Day 1: Grandeur

Sunday October 27 2013

It was a sad thing for John, who at the last minute could not make it, but a serendipitous thing for me, because Steph asked me to go to the Moab Canyons 3-day endurance ride in his place, and ride Jose Viola, no less.

There's something about this part of the country that grips me fiercely, and gloms on at the cellular level (see Beneath the Red). I've spent far too little time hiking and camping here, and always when I drive through the country, the question consumes me: What is it like out there, beyond the roads?

Now I know. We rode in it, for 105 miles.

There isn't really a single word in the English language that captures the spectacular magnificence (see? I tried it - that's two words that don't come close!) this country wears and the near-spiritual worship it incites in me. We rode days 1 and 2 (then had to leave), and my jaw muscles ache because for 105 miles, my mouth hung open in awe-struck disbelief.

Here are a few pictures from day 1:

We rode up to the base of, and all the way around this table mesa, which was some 7 miles or so long. You can't tell from the photo how tall, massive, and imposing it was. In some places on this mesa and many others, you could see the many different layers of sandstone. The rounded tan domes on top which you can't see in this photo is Navajo Sandstone. The red here is several different layers, probably Kayenta and Wingate. But don't quote me!

Just look at this staggering country we got to ride through!

Steph and Batman riding over slickrock by some of the pillars. (It's called 'slickrock' but with the Easyboot glue-ons and gloves our horses wore, they had great traction.)

The weathered sandstone came in many shapes and sizes. Steph called these knobby things 'dumplings'.

Loop 2 was total Outlaw Country. If you look really really closely, you'll see Kerry Redente on her horse in the middle of the picture. See? Total Outlaw country. She blended right in with the landscape. (Well, except for her yellow shirt).

Jose could see outlaws from the past. I saw many, many, many places to hide, if I were an outlaw. But of course I'm not.

Moab outlaws. (Me and Jose!) (photo by Steph!)

And back at camp, a good roll was had by all. Batman and Jose could hardly wait for their saddles to be stripped so they could plunge into the red dirt and roll and scratch and wiggle and itch.

(My point n shoot camera was low on battery first thing in the morning of day 1 (!! - some photographer I am, and what bad timing!) so I was conservative on the photos. I also wore a go pro helmet camera, and I'll put together videos of the ride later. More spectacular photos from Moab at:, and Day 2 coming next!)


  1. It is beyond gorgeous out there.

  2. You seem to have recovered really well from what ailed you! I'm so glad you got to take this trip with Jose!

  3. I'm glad you got some photos of the scenery. I never even took out the camera on the ride.
    It's a beautiful place, for sure.

  4. Too bad for John, hooray for you. But for me, I am jelly, totally jelly. I wanna go!

  5. So beautiful. So wonderful you got to ride Jose Viola. I REALLY need to go on a road trip and ride there.

  6. Wow! Now that is a bucket list kind of ride. Beautiful!

    My jaw would have been dropped the entire ride, too.