~Monday, April 18, 2022~
Anything would be a far cry from the horrible night’s sleep from a few days ago. I really can’t believe that we let snatching a simple campsite get the better of us. All the worry and anticipation of getting the perfect spot in Moab can be put to rest. With the limited turnover today, it only validated that we made the right decision in coming here Easter Sunday. Tuesday may have given us something perhaps, but not the variety we had yesterday. One thing we’ve learned is that even if you think that a site might come available by the date posted, people change their minds in extending their stay. Between Moab, Canyonlands (the Island in the Sky portion), and Arches National Park, there’s just so much to see. So, we totally get why people would extend their time here.
Now that we know our French friends have done exactly that, extending their stay through Wednesday, we immediately changed our dates as well, that is until we move to their site on Wednesday. We wouldn’t want to give anyone false hope in getting our site tomorrow.
Since Sadie hadn’t been on a hike in a few days, we thought it time for the three of us to take a dog-friendly trail. We’ve really lucked out with the last few hikes in terms of convenience. The Grandstaff Trailhead is just a few miles east of our campsite and in the end, is one of our top 10 hikes of the trip. We love trails that combine amazing scenery, water, and canyons all in one. And for Sadie, it couldn’t have been better with unlimited sticks to chew on, a steady flow of water right next to the trail, holes deep enough for swimming and soft sand to prance in.
But who was William Grandstaff? Evidently Grandstaff, a cowboy who was half black and half Native American, was drawn to the area and was one of Moab’s first settlers around 1877. Living a simple life, he became a homesteader, farmer, rancher, and prospector. In this particular canyon where the trail is, he settled into the area, building two ice houses and a cabin; that is until an Indian uprising in 1881. Just like that, he abandoned his home and his 40-head of cattle, eventually settling in Colorado until his death in 1901.
This beautiful trail is a “Garden of Eden'' or a much larger version of Indian Gardens at the Grand Canyon.
There were many spots where we could have just sat next to the creek and read a book all day. There was a steady flow of hikers, but nothing too crazy, except for the “Kujo” German Shepard, collarless, off leash and somewhat aggressive. Jeff had a tight rein on Sadie putting her behind him, then used his dad voice, pointing a finger in the opposite direction, showing it who was boss! It worked! The owner…..a meager “sorry about that”.
What a place this would have been to call home either for Puebloans, settlers or anyone for that matter. With its lushness and access to water it would seem an area of abundance. For us, it was the perfect time of year to witness the Springtime flowers and fresh budding trees. The trail itself is mostly compacted sand with occasional hop ups to slick rock. The slick rock was not quite as grippy as we encountered the other day, due to the amount of sand on it. So on the descents, you really had to watch your footing. Making it even more adventurous were the 9 river crossings, all easily doable; just had to be mindful of the slippery moss. We even saw a few fish, and remnants of trees gnawed away by beavers. One tree had some netting around the base of it to deter further nibbling. I’m sure those critters' attempts in building a dam are continually squashed by the BLM workers on a daily basis so as not to dam up the creek.
But what makes this trail even more special is the “gift” at the end; a most magnificent natural structure similar to the arches you’d see in Arches National Park (right next to where we’re staying).
It was nice having the whole place to ourselves when we arrived at the end; that is until we met our new friend, Katie. Katie, in her early 60’s I’d say, was visiting from Taos, New Mexico, and like us, was in complete awe of what we were all surrounded by. Katie had the privilege of taking a little time off of work to tour the Southwest, so it was fun exchanging our experiences in the echo of the canyon. Hiking back in the late afternoon was perfect; temps in the low 80’s, a very light breeze and the background music of cool running water all around. Loved it!
With a tuckered out Sadie, we eased into our evening with some light horderves and a dinner of Balsamic Glazed Rockfish, smashed potatoes and roasted broccoli (my night to cook). All turned out yummy! And an added treat…..the Canyon Lightshow. Seemingly out of nowhere, a truck came slowly driving down the road with its 60,000 watt bulbs, illuminating the gorgeous canyon walls that are right above the Colorado River. Things certainly look even more dramatic at night.
Can’t say we’ve ever experienced anything quite like it on the trip so far. Moab just keeps getting better and better!