Hey there!

It’s been a looong week. In the best way. I’m writing you from the Grand County library in Moab, Utah, where I’m finally relaxing in some air conditioning after nearly 30 miles of hiking and walking over the long weekend.

I’ll do a writeup of all the stops, but first I’ll do a quick catch up on the ins and outs of getting over here since there were a few fun stops.

I spent some time in the rolling plains of Eastern Colorado, enjoying the unusually warm and temperate weather (80F+) while hearing dreadful reports of snow at home. Magnificent.

I caught up on some work and cooked and explored around the area, revisiting some locales I’d frequented in years prior.

I enjoy driving around Eastern Colorado, while the area is largely plains and cows grazing, it’s alien to me so it feels brand new every time. The sky feels so big and blue over me and I appreciate the gentle straw colors of the landscape.

I drove over to the Paint Mines Interpretive Park, a favorite that’s like a mini Badlands NP with more color and diversity. It also reminds me of the Painted Dunes at Petrified Forest NP too (One can even compare it to Bryce NP although it is no substitute). But its more local, and it’s free, and most often deserted, which I absolutely adore.

I did some work calls and then took a nap in the back of the car with peaceful, gigantic windmills silently turning over me. I can imagine nothing better than travelling in this car, honestly; I often joke that I’m in a monogamous relationship with my car but it’s true — I need nothing else in my life right now and that’s a magnificent feeling.

The Paint Mines are a place of geological activity, having once been a tropical hardwood forest in prehistoric times (55 million years ago) and since facing the test of time as water and wind erode varied sandstone, granite, stone, and clay.

The results are a bunch of formations that look pretty alien to my East coast eyes, in the best way. The most striking formations are the hoodoos, the spires that form in arid badland environments experiencing major erosion.

The Paint Mines have white badlands and hoodoos upon first entrance.

Continuing along the hiking path, more badlands present themselves with varied shades of yellow, red, and orange. There’s even a cave area to explore. Of course I fell in the mud when visiting — don’t recommend that. I had to go back to home base and hose myself off.

I traveled East over I-70 of course in the midst of a mild snowstorm and white knuckled my baby Prius up and over the twists and turns of the Rocky Mountains.

I headed over to Colorado National Monument to watch the sunrise the next morning. It was p h e n o m e n a l. There are so many great viewpoints and trails there, and the sunrise was amazing. I also got to see a bighorn sheep just chilling by the road.

I really enjoyed my time in Grand Junction and Fruita Colorado and found there’s actually a really robust orchard and winery culture there that I would absolutely like to revisit when I’m not trying to roll around in some sand and rocks in Utah.

I love it out here. I’m really looking forward to updating you more in my next post.