The motivation behind this post can be summed up very succinctly: I love the desert. Really, that’s all I have to say. But since that doesn’t make for very compelling reading--however authentic and pure the sentiment is--let me elaborate. After a fairly mild and dry winter during which I got outside climbing and running often, I hadn’t realized how much I needed the wide open spaces, unmatched colors, and warm sun the desert offers until we ventured to Moab for the first trip of the year. As soon as we turned off pavement onto the dirt road in Long Canyon, I could feel myself--everything, really--lifting. When we got out of the car and started hiking up the loose sand and rock gully to the cliff, I felt it even more.
I spent most of my life through college living on the New England coast, and I’ve always loved the ocean. Moving to Utah over ten years ago, the desert became my local “ocean,” holding the same capacity to fulfill my mind and body that the ocean always had.
And on the other side of that rejuvenation is the exhaustion that always comes from desert climbing, but perhaps never quite so strongly as the first trip after a long time away. Somehow I always manage to forget just how worked my entire body gets, how physical the climbing is. We only got in two days--spending the first day in Long Canyon and finishing it off at the horizontal crack mecca that is the Crackhouse, followed by a day at Indian Creek with fewer people than I’ve ever seen there. As we drove away from Moab, I wondered I was going to recover enough in the the five days I had before my first spring half marathon.
Fortunately, that race was also in the desert--running the loop road at Red Rocks outside Vegas--and I was able to count on the gorgeous scenery and desert spirit to get me through the initial six mile climb and then beyond to the finish line. I ran comfortably faster than I expected on a tough course, buoyed on by the red and green landscape, the sun, and the incredible spirit and camaraderie of the nicest race crowd I’ve even been part of. Maybe it’s just impossible not to tbe happy on those warm glorious early spring days. It was tough to be down there and not get to climb, but the quarter-sized blister on the bottom of my foot squashed any thoughts of pulling on climbing shoes, so Rick and I did something we’d hardly ever done on many previous Red Rocks trips...hit up the strip for a day of people-watching, overpriced drinks, wondering what the heck the “religious nightclub” at the Venetian is all about, and marveling at the fact that you can play War at the tables in at least three different casinos (seriously...War??? that game that involves absolutely nothing more than flipping over two cards and seeing which one is higher???).
Desert season is here, so after a weekend of being teased by the rock in Red Rocks, it’s back to Moab this time around!