As the end of the semester rapidly approaches with the rat race of studying, cramming, and final exams, Thanksgiving break was an excellent time to find a brief reprieve.
For me, that meant going on adventures in my hometown Moab.
I departed Cedar City early Tuesday morning to pick up my fiancee, Maddie, from a river trip she took with the Outdoor Rec department down Ruby Horsethief, a stretch of the Colorado river about 45 minutes northeast of Moab.
As I approached in my Chevy, I realized I was going to arrive a little early and decided to take the scenic route along the 4WD Kokopelli Trail. The trail was not super technical but was a nice change in scenery from the freeway and connected right to Westwater where I met up with the ORPT class.
Thanksgiving of course was delightful. We feasted, napped, and feasted again, but I was particularly pleased to spend a couple days in Canyonlands during the brief hiatus from school.
Canyonlands is one of two national parks in the vicinity of Moab, and is adjacent to Dead Horse Point State Park.
If you’ve never been, Canyonlands is vast with different districts that can take quite a while, and sometimes 4WD capabilities, to travel to. For instance, it takes about 5 hours to get to The Maze, as the confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers and the numberless labyrinth of canyons from whence its name comes make a direct route impossible.
Nov 22 was a full moon, so Maddie and I went on an evening excursion to Musselman Arch, which took about 3 hours on dirt roads. The moonlit panorama was absolutely stunning and made for a rather romantic date.
There are also shorter and more accessible trips. We visited the Needles Overlook which is about 30 minutes south of Moab. The overlook is perched on a cliff face sitting at an elevation of 6,200 feet providing a spectacular view of The Needles district.
We continued our scenic drive down Indian Creek, where can be found world-renowned rock climbing. We spent a little time at the Needles Visitor Center where we picnicked and then returned home to Moab.
There’s plenty to show gratitude for during Thanksgiving, and I was able to give thanks for the exquisite natural wonders we have privilege to in southern Utah.
To learn more about Canyonlands National park, visit their website here.
Story By: Reyce Knutson
Photos By: Reyce Knutson