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Go to Moab!
May 14, 2013
Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Eric Larsen.
Attention visitors: If you are coming to my country and are looking for a place to visit (cities and other cultural attractions aside), you can skip over the Grand Canyon, Redwoods, Smokey Mountains and pretty much every other natural area in lieu of one place - Moab, Utah.
Now, this wasn't always my core belief.
I grew up in the midwest and for roughly 20 years of my life it is the only world that I knew. Sure, I'd been a few places: Florida, Seattle, northern Minnesota's Boundary Waters but only briefly - so by the time I graduated college, terra cognita was limited to cheese and the Green Bay Packers.
Being an outdoor lover from a very young age and majoring in natural science in college, I possessed an intimate knowledge of the flora, fauna, and geology of my homeland as well. Glacial moraines, limestone bluffs and hardwoods to the South, the beginning of the boreal forest (the world's largest land ecosystem) and the hard ingenuous and metamorphic rocks of the Lake Superior basin to the North. This is what I knew. This is what I loved.
But despite all that I knew about my homeland, there were many more things that I didn't know about the rest of the world and it was this draw that first led me to Alaska and then to Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, California, Arkansas, the Arctic, Antarctica, the top of Mt. Everest and eventually, Moab, Utah.
Little known fact that will most likely ruin my reputation as the polar/cold guy: As much as I LOVE cold (and I really love cold) I actually like all extreme environments, and especially, deserts.
The arid climate makes for a tough life and most of the vegetation is in close proximity to rivers and washes. That means the rest is rock. Magnificent rock. Within a hundred mile radius you can see gravity defying arches, delicate spires, sheer cliffs, massive canyons all forming a labyrinth of twists and turns so convoluted getting lost is more the rule than the exception.
And the mountain biking is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Sure my 'thing' is polar travel, but I'm a huge fan of all kinds of adventures and when the opportunity arose to bike the White Rim trail with some friends, I didn't hesitate.
Now, I don't want to bore you with the details of riding a bike through Canyonlands National Park on a rough double track trail. I mean, how many times can I describe one breath-taking view after another. The red desert sand. The slot canyon we scrambled through. A million stars. Flip flops. While we had vehicle support for this small adventure, it felt good to cut the ties from the civilized world and travel with the rhythms of the planet.
There were a few big climbs but for the most part the riding was leisurely and fun. The only real stress came from a constant awareness of and desire for water. As in, because we're in a desert, there isn't any water around so monitoring our water usage became of utmost importance. In an area where being thirsty is only a few short steps away from a survival situation, staying hydrated is critical.
For our White Rim trip, we relied heavily on our Vapur Anti-Bottles. Lightweight and packable, whenever we weren't riding, our Vapurs were close by. During one long day of riding, I carried an extra Vapur with me while riding. They were especially nice during afternoon hikes.
It's now two weeks since our trip and I am still trying to clean up all the red desert dirt. I accidentally deleted most of my pictures so all I have is a fading desert tan and memories. But it's Moab and you never really leave a place like this.