Before we even sold our home and decided to head west, our friend Gene Dykes told us about an ultra race in Moab that he would be doing. It seemed the perfect opportunity to get intimate with the National Parks surrounding the town. We headed out of Santa Fe in the afternoon and ended up sleeping in Pagosa Springs where the temperature dipped to -9 degrees F. The town was super quiet so we parked right in the middle of it and woke to sunshine and steam coming from the hot springs.
Too bad the hot springs didn’t warm the place up. We left early and headed to Durango for breakfast. Smiley Cafe is set in an old school building that now houses Smiley, offices, a Montessori school and more. Wonderful artwork on the walls, tasty food and coffee. Next visit I would like to expand our exploration. Very sweet mountain town with artsy feel plus, the Greenery. (say no more)
Moab is breathtaking and I feel that winter could be the best time to visit. Small crowds, plenty of places to camp, and the National Parks are quiet and peaceful. I love the dusting of snow on the red earth. Not enough to hinder travel but enough to make things sparkle. We meet with Gene for dinner and fuel up for the Arches Ultra event. BLM land is free to park on over night near the race start. Wake early and connect with Gene and Richard for a 6:30 am start. The race is difficult and muddy in many parts. Paul may have been smart to do the 50K instead of the 50 miler. Gene and I enjoy the race but it does take more time and effort than he thought it would. We are the last finishers but happy to have completed it in 12:44.
Time to relax and camp in Canyonlands. No entrance or camping fees due to government shut down. We bought a parks pass before our trip so I feel a little less guilty. There are a few campers out there but we are pretty much alone with the stars.
In the morning we go for a very short trail run then head to Arches NP. We drive through the park and do a few short hikes including one to Delicate Arch.
While in Moab we recommend, dinner at Arches Thai , the Moonflower Coop, Sand Flats Recreation Area (camping), and coffee at Wicked Brew.
Paul and I are in search of a new home so we looked at a property outside Santa Fe. This special place had spoken to both of us before we left for Moab so we decided to head back and be clear about our feelings. On the way we took a different route stopping at Four Corners, the only place you can be in 4 states at one time.
We also stopped in Blanding, Utah (nice free museum there), Farmington, NM to run on a river trail, and slept in a rest area outside of Taos.
Morning walk around Taos plaza, coffee and hot chocolate at Elevation Coffee, we then make our way back to Santa Fe to contemplate the future.