Vacationing with our baby in southeast Utah, page 3

Page 1: Arches National Park
Page 2: Arches, Moab and Canyonlands
Page 3: La Sal Mountains and Glenwood Canyon

Thursday-Friday, September 8-9

Distance: 10.1 miles
Riding time: 1 hour
Average speed: 10.1 mph
Maximum speed: 29.8 mph

The past 2 days have been a little less busy than the others. On Thursday we wanted to see the La Sal Mountains, a mountain range southeast of Moab that is the 2nd highest in Utah. It was raining in the morning so we began driving the La Sal Mountain Loop Road, hoping to hike a trail once the rain stopped. The rain stopped, but we never found a trail to hike. I suppose that we needed a better map. The mountains are much greener than the surrounding red rock canyons and mesas, but they still have very little thick forest. After finishing the loop road we went back to Arches to hike a trail near the entrance called Park Avenue. It has that name because the tall rock formations on either side of the canyon remind people of skyscrapers.


Driving through the La Sal Mountains, where the tallest peaks are more than 12,000 feet high. We didn't see any established trails and I wasn't prepared to hike off-trail on wet ground while carrying a baby.


A view of the surrounding canyonlands from the La Sal Mountains.


The trailhead at Park Avenue.


Views along Park Avenue.


Daniel prefers facing outwards in his carrier, but we face him inwards when he's sleepy.

Today we spent much of our day in transit, leaving Moab and setting up camp in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Just east of Glenwood Springs is a bicycle trail that follows the Colorado River through the steep-walled Glenwood Canyon. We noticed this trail on our way to Moab and decided to ride it on our way home. Camping here also spares Daniel a very long day in the car since our drive home is split over 2 days. We stayed at a private campground just east of Glenwood Springs that cost $25 per night, perhaps the most I've ever paid to camp, but I get the impression that everything is more expensive here. We rode into town along a bike trail and saw the Hot Springs Resort, a fancy historic resort with a large, geothermally heated swimming pool - we would have swam if we had time. The town has resorts (including 1 ski resort,) historic restaurants, and many hiking trails in the mountains surrounding the town. Southeast from Glenwood Springs is Aspen, the most expensive town in Colorado.

We didn't have time to eat in town before dark, so we rode back to camp and Kathy cooked dinner from our dwindling food supply - tonight we had hotdogs and baked beans.


Low clouds in the canyon northeast of Moab.


The Hot Springs Resort in Glenwood Springs, established in 1890.


Riding the Glenwood Springs bicycle trail along the Roaring Fork River.

Saturday, September 10

Distance: 26.9 miles
Riding time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
Average speed: 12.9 mph
Maximum speed: 24.4 mph

Last night when the campground hostess was persuading me to camp here, she told me that the tent sites were roomy, shaded with trees, right by the river, and "the only issue might be a train on the other side of the river that could wake you up at night." She was right about everything, especially the trains. About 8 large trains rolled through last night, their wheels and brakes squealing as they twisted through the canyon and their noise echoing off the canyon walls. Combine that with a windy thunderstorm, and it was difficult to sleep for everyone but Daniel, who was undisturbed by the all the noise and the motion of our tent flapping in the wind. In the morning the weather was clearing up and we enjoyed the river, the shade, and even watching the trains while eating our pancake breakfast. We began riding the Glenwood Canyon bike trail at about 10:30.

The bike trail is built next to highway I-70, but is generally below it since the road had to be elevated to pass through the canyon, and the road noise along the trail is quite low. This section of highway is clearly a showcase for the interstate highway system, with 4 deluxe rest stops within 13 miles and interpretive plaques at each stop describing the highway, local history and native wildlife.

Partway up the trail we stopped to hike to Hanging Lake, a small lake on a steep mountainside. It was created by a geologic fault that pulled part of the cliff face away from the mountain. The trail is a steep 1.2 miles, but felt great because the weather was so much cooler than in Moab. While hiking we drank the cold water that we filled up with at the rest stops, so unlike the lukewarm water from any water tap in Moab. All along the trail hikers looked at Daniel and said, "What a cute baby!" He was happy and smiling for most of the hike, and then he fell asleep.


Riding the Glenwood Canyon bike trail below I-70.


Hiking to Hanging Lake.


Since I couldn't see Daniel's face while hiking with him in the carrier, I took this photo to see how he was doing.


These cliffs are just below Hanging Lake.


Hanging Lake, with a surface of just 1.5 acres


Our family at the lake.


Resting in the shade.

When we came back to the bike trail we rode to its end near Dotsero, then returned to our start near Glenwood Springs. In several places the river had significant rapids, and there we saw kayakers riding over the waves. There were also group rafts floating down the river, fishermen at the river's edge, and people walking the trail with dogs. We saw 2 Amtrak passenger trains today, so it looks like you can travel this canyon by walking, biking, paddling, driving or riding the train. It is a pretty canyon.


Glenwood Canyon


Turning around at the end of trail, near Dotsero.

At the end of our ride Kathy cooked an early dinner and we drove home. We've been surprised at how well Daniel handles camping, hiking and biking, and we're hopeful that our active vacations will continue in future years.

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Page 1: Arches National Park
Page 2: Arches, Moab and Canyonlands
Page 3: La Sal Mountains and Glenwood Canyon