Our family has decided that for me and my siblings’ 30th birthdays, the birthday kid gets to plan a trip. Mine was going to Chincoteague-which was a surprise to me and fulfilled a childhood dream of mine. This year, it was my brother’s turn, and he chose Utah. Both of my siblings have been to Utah in the past 2 years for various reasons. My sister went as a youth group leader on a mission trip. My brother went to see a mutual friend of ours and then last year did a road trip with work buddies to Moab where they did mountain biking, climbing, and white water rafting. So between the two of them we had a little bit of an idea of things we wanted to do. For me, I just knew the scenery was incredible out there, and I wanted to see some of the people we knew in the area. I was pretty content with just getting to see and experience a new place, and let me tell you, Utah didn’t disappoint!
This would be my first time flying and first time seeing mountains! Seeing the mountains as we flew into Salt Lake City was exhilarating! We landed in Salt Lake City for the first leg of our trip, which would be spent with a family from my church that had moved recently before heading to Moab. We took it pretty easy that first day, but made sure we downed a lot of electrolytes and did a decent hike to try and get acclimated to the dry weather and elevation. Salt Lake City sits in a valley, so everywhere are mountains, and because of all the snow they got this winter, they were still really snow-covered, which just made them extra beautiful!
We headed down to Moab a couple of days after landing and spent 3 nights there. Driving there was an adventure in and of itself because the scenery was so incredible. I couldn’t stop saying “Wow!” and just staring out the window. It was so cool watching the scenery transform before your eyes out the window from mountains to flat, plateau plains to red rock canyons, mesas, and cliffs. We ended up getting into Moab fairly late, so we grabbed a bite to eat at Moab Brewery, went grocery shopping and settled down for the night in our Airbnb.
The next day we had mountain biking on the agenda. My sister and I are newbies to mountain biking, but we’ve been riding bikes since we were toddlers, so we have some skill around them. I’d been mountain biking only once before last year at Merrell and did pretty well for myself, so I was excited to try out some more in Moab. We all rented bikes from Poison Spider Bicycles for two days. My sister and I got Trek E-bikes, and my brother got a Pivot full suspension. After getting kitted out, we made our way to Dead Horse Point, one of the few beginner and e-bike friendly trails.
What a crazy time we had out there! It was about 70 degrees and insanely windy. The trail was a lot of rock with some sections being packed down sand. These are multi-directional and multi-use trails that are popular for hiking as well with some amazing vistas. There were a few really fun flow spots on the trails we went on, but most of the time we were slowing down because of some technical, rocky ascents/descents. I ended up falling about twice, but there were a few times I was feeling really good out there. The scenery was just amazing. It was really fun watching my sister gain confidence the longer she rode and started understanding her bike more. We stuck to mostly green trails, but did do some short sections of blue. If you’ve ever mountain biked outside of Michigan you know that their green trails are equivalent to our blue trails, so it was challenging and technical! All of our bikes were great at handling the rocky terrain! We finished up a 2 mile loop, had some snacks, and then headed out again to try a different section. We were maybe a ½ mile in and hit a huge rock section. By this time I was “bonking,” so I decided to turn around (pretty much all of the trails out there are two-way trails). While my brother and sister were finishing up the trail, I enjoyed admiring the scenery from the overlooks near the parking lot. We went and saw more of the beautiful overlooks which were a short drive down the road from the main parking lot. It was just incredible how far you could see! There is camping at this park too, which is really cool, and I can only imagine what it looks like at night! After sweating our butts off, we grabbed some gelato in town at a place we had seen the night before, and it was very yummy. The coffee flavor was amazing!
The next day my brother went and did all he could on the Whole Enchilada trail, which was about 12 miles because there was still snow on much of the upper part of the trail. The day started cold and rainy, but ended up becoming sunny and very pleasant in the early afternoon. This was also the day we were going to Arches National Park, so I was very excited that it turned out to be such a beautiful day. We didn’t make a reservation to get into the park before 4, so we decided to explore downtown Moab while we waited. We spent 4 hours at Arches Park taking in all the sights. It was incredible!
The next morning we hit up breakfast at The Garage after turning our bikes in before heading back to Salt Lake City. The rest of our time in Salt Lake was spent visiting with friends and family as well as exploring some trails, meeting new people, visiting coffee shops and the coolest bookstore! Flying home was a bittersweet goodbye, but it felt good to see the sights and sounds of home. We barely scratched the surface of Utah, and I want to see more!