We would love a raft trip down the Colorado River, rushing through the rapids. It isn’t going to happen. I can’t get my hearing aids wet and can’t hear the guide without them. Nor could Alie’s arthritic joints stand the strain.
So we count our blessings and opt for a more sedate boat ride from Moab to the edge of the Grand Canyon. It was beautiful. Scenic thrills are good too.
Moab offers almost every imaginable outdoor adventure from hiking and climbing, to biking, four-wheeling and rafting. There are several companies that offer jet boat rides. These jet boats, however, are not designed for speedy thrill rides. They are designed to take one through ebbs and flows of the river, shallow water and high.
In 2009, we took one from Moab’s edge. This year, we went with a company that took us on a bus to where the boat was moored. On the way, we stopped to see some First American graffiti, otherwise known as petroglyphs, etched into the desert varnish. [See Not all the Fire is in Las Vegas for more about desert varnish.]
Our bus driver/guide had been in the area a long time and had his own theories about what the petroglyphs meant. His theories seemed as reasonable to me as those offered by professional archaeologists.
At the boat, we were met by two young men. One piloted the boat. The other was a guide with extensive knowledge about the geology of the area.
The river was wonderfully quiet. We met only one small boat.
An early storage bin built into the rocks indicated the long-ago presence of Puebloan people. Did those First Americans enjoy the solitude? Or were they too busy just trying to survive?
Wildlife sightings were limited to a goose and some great blue egrets. Great blues are common in Florida, but on our travels we have seen them as far north as Victoria in British Columbia. We were interested to find them now in a desert environment.
The river was low and the embankments fairly high, so Alie remained in the boat when we made two stops. One was at a place where some petrified logs are found which she had seen in 2009. The other was at a large high grotto amphitheater carved by water into the side of the canyon near the entrance to Canyonlands National Park. It has exceptional acoustics.
Our young guide said he helps transport musical instruments to the grotto each year. They even take in a grand piano. Three classical music concerts are held there as part of the Moab Music Festival. Seating is limited, the setting is unusual and spectacular, and tickets sell out quickly. This year’s festival was in September.
Click on photos to enlarge.
To take a road-trip that includes this area, look at our six-part An Itinerary for the Southwest U.S. based on our 18-day 2009 trip out of Las Vegas.