The red rock desert surrounding the small town of Moab, Utah has become our unofficial resting place before the holidays. After a jam-packed summer of working hard and backpacking the Wyoming Rockies, then a fall full of epic workshops and constant travel, Ellen and I both need a little rest and relaxation. Escape from an overly hurried pace.
The mighty Colorado and Green Rivers meet and meander through this vast desert landscape. The weather is (usually) lovely when we arrive in mid-October. But it is high desert, so sometimes the altitude allows for wintery conditions. But compared to the insane cold of Wyoming, it’s still much nicer.
The first time we visited, it was summer. Hot as blazes. And we’re from Texas, so I believe that’s saying quite a bit. If you’re camping, I do not recommend that time of year. It’s also crazy crowded.
No, October/ November is our favorite time because the weather is typically mild, the crowds are greatly reduced, and it’s a good time of the year to slow things down. Off-the-grid camping, long desert hikes, two nearby national parks (as well as millions of acres of BLM and National Forest land), rock climbing, and long, slow drives, all help to make this the perfect holiday getaway for outdoorsy people.
For the dirt road junkies, like me, it’s heaven. Endless, remote, 4×4 roads to explore to your heart’s content. But be prepared, these roads aren’t for the faint of heart, and you’d better have extra gas and water, as well as survival supplies. You may find yourself a hundred or more miles from the nearest help.
And photographers… well, it’s unparalleled. Moab is another one of those places that just has a “magical” light to it. I’m sure there’s a logical, scientific explanation… of which I am unaware. It’s probably due to the geological formations, bouncing natural light omnidirectionally. Whatever it is, the quality of the light is uncanny.
For the herpers out there, in spite of having cooler temps, Moab still often reaches the warmth needed to find our slithering friends out and about. The midget faded rattlesnake is a favorite of mine, and quite common in the area.
But be careful, their bite carries an ugly punch of neurotoxic venom.
For the majority of folks who aren’t into snakes, don’t worry, I’ve spent months exploring and only seen two. It’s not likely you’ll ever come across one… you really have to be one of us crazies who actually go looking for them.
Perhaps the best thing about Moab though is the night sky. It’s reminiscent of another winter favorite of ours, Big Bend, for its incredible visibility and low light pollution. The perfect place to practice your astrophotography, or simply just sit out by the campfire to enjoy the big, bright night skies.
A long visit to Moab has become a yearly tradition for us. It’s one of those traditions that has become indispensable. We go to relax way out off the grid, but if that isn’t your thing, the actual town of Moab has lovely accommodations and a surprising line up of good restaurants. If you’ve never been, you really should make a point to go… and if you’re into photography, drop me a line. I’ve been toying with the idea for years to do a Moab workshop/ tour. You just might be the one who convinces me!
If you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, consider joining me on the adventure of a lifetime to learn so much more. I offer workshops and tours in many of the worlds most incredible locations, and on these trips, you will get tons of one-on-one time to ask me anything. In fact, I’m offering $250 off my Big Bend Wildflowers + Stars workshop coming up in March, for a limited time. Let me help inspire you to become the artist you’ve always wanted to be!
Ellen and I hit the road full-time in June of 2016. We are on a mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside. Check out my workshops and my prints. The revenue will help propel us further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our public lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 60 National Parks in 3-5 years. We are currently in year 4 and half way thru the Parks. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE
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