Walking into the Visitor Center at Arches the day before the government shutdown was a bit surreal. Everything looked perfectly normal and completely the same from a year ago when we were working in the park. The line for the desk was as long as ever, and even saw a familiar face of one of our former supervisors behind the desk answering the slew of questions as patiently as possible. Our timing should have been pretty good for Jon to be able to discuss the possibility of returning to Arches for spring and fall employment with the park, but unfortunately with the shutdown, nobody was looking that far in the future. Cest la vie, we love this place, love working here and living here, and we know that somehow, we will return to work here again in the future.
The government shutdown has been a bit of a shock to everyone’s systems I think. For us, it means we don’t have a campground to go to yet for our fall “work”. I put work in “” because we are volunteering our time anyway. In the meantime, we have been spending our days playing around our old stomping grounds in Moab, UT. It’s still probably our favorite place on the planet to live, with so many amazing activities at our fingertips, and incredible views at every turn. We have been getting to know the hikes outside Arches and Canyonlands a lot better since we can’t recreate inside the park. We took our friend’s dog, Kiva, for a walk out Culvert Canyon off of Potash Road. We’ve hiked out Poison Spider Mesa to see Behind the Rocks from a distance. We’ve done a bit of rock-climbing on Wall Street and the Ice Cream Parlor, two local climbing areas along the Colorado River.
We hiked out to the beginning of Behind the Rocks from the Amasa Back trailhead parking lot, and found a ton of petroglyphs we didn’t know were there. Its been fun, casual, careful cross-country exploring rather than following a trail. We spent an afternoon driving the La Sal Mountain Loop, which was where our first couple dates took place, once upon a time 🙂 We’ve also been biking all over town. If only I’d bought an actual mountain bike instead of a hybrid ages ago.
Today I went mountain biking for the first time! It was actually a total rush, but the hardcore headwind really killed my asthma, and I couldn’t ride for very long before my lungs would burn and the shortness of breath kicked in. I let Jon go a bit more while I cooled it, but I know it won’t be the last time I do that for sure.
While squatting on our friend’s property (thank you Jake and Courtney!), we have been testing out our dry camping capabilities. Our solar panel is performing like a champ, we’ve been mostly keeping equal amounts of energy in to energy out. Jon even gave our shower a maiden voyage, and has been using it every night, loving the chance to really utilize our camper to it’s full potential. Haven’t needed to dump the black tank yet. I know that is going to really freak me out when we finally need to do it, but we’ll cross that bridge soon enough… For now though, we’re thrilled to be in Moab, even if the stay is a bit longer than anticipated, and happy to be reminded of the beauty here, the value of having good friends around, and the joy of living life outdoors.