Saturday, October 3, 2015

Moab Day 7 Sand Flats Recreation Area

Hiking in the Sand Flats Recreation Area on the day before departure was on our agenda right from the start.  With just a 15 minute drive to the trail head, I could relax a little longer in the morning and have more time in the evening to lounge around. The forecast was for perfect, the mid 20's.  I did not have the best sleep and I felt very tired as we headed out.  That all changed though and I felt at my strongest today, maybe it took all this time to get use to hot weather hiking.  The temperature did rise above the forecasted digit and hit the 30 mark.  As with all vacations I take, the day before departure, I make an extra effort to absorb in as much scenery and spice of the area as possible.  I live in the moment, and try not to let my mind wander back to reality quite fully yet. I take a little more time to remember to breathe and to be appreciative and thankful that I am even here.  I think back to the birth of the idea to come here and the work involved to make it happen and then to be grateful everything fell into place and here I am.  No matter what, given hot or not, and wanting to end on a high note, like every other vacation time, upbeat high-spirited and happy are my forefront features for this day!

                                                  we pass through our gate at home
                                     we pass through the gate at the Sand Flats playground
I had no idea what we would be in for today, but I loved the lay of the land right out of the gate. 
                                     looking deep down into the canyon
We started at the trail head with a few mountain bikers but then they were long gone.  Then we had our first mingling with the 4X4 folks.  They had their own trail and we shared ours with the bikers.  The trail markings were fun to follow.  I was impressed how the different sporting activities could occur at the same time in the same place without interference of each other.
I would guess that 98% of our trail was slick rock, the balance was sand.   The bikers pretty much needed to follow the white dotted line whereas we could go wherever we safely pleased.  We had a wonderful view of the La Sal Mountains.  
                                                     along the way
Seeing the morning glory flowers was a pleasant surprise.  We were high above yet very close to the Morning Glory Bridge we hiked to two days ago.  
                                   formations in the center of this playground 
We saw mountain bikers, runners, 4X4ers, and now dirt bikers.  As you can see from the top of his helmet, he too wants to record his adventure.   I enjoyed watching others having fun.  
                                   What a view we had of the Colorado River.  
                          the Colorado River, the La Sal Mountains, the slick rock
                                                  mountain bikers 
                                     another view of the Colorado River
                                                      cloud coverage
                                                       mountain biker
The views were vast in all directions.  In the far off distance you can see Arches National Park from one end to the other.  We could pick out an arch but I was not sure which one it was.  
By early afternoon, we found a slick rock formation to climb up onto for a second longer break and to polish off what was left for lunch.  We were in a prime position to witness the enjoyment others were having.  Four 4X4s waiting their turn to descend the step slick rock slope.
Then, there they go, probably to the same place we would now be heading.  As it was nearing the end of the hike, it was time to aim for the trail head and parking lot and then to our home away from home.
We covered 17 kms and the total elevation gain was roughly around 600 m give or take a few.  What a most enjoyable day & way to cap of six days straight of hiking. I appreciated and was grateful
for every  second along today's way.  For me this playground represents what Moab itself is all about.

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