Moab, a tourist haven infused with the dusty bizarre, is as strange and startling as the very desert. It was by supreme coincidence that we found Linus and Angela, a pair of nomads living in school buses in a river canyon. Linus has lived in every manner of temporary homes, and has a deep understanding of what living simply really means. We spent some time with the two of them talking story and even attended Angela’s yoga class at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center.
We also spoke with Bill Groff, Moab lifer and founder of Rim Cyclery. We sat with him in his backyard one evening at dusk, enjoying his stories of old Moab and the fist-fighting miners that used to work the land for uranium. Before we left he poured us shots of anejo tequila with salt and lime, sending us away relaxed and happy.
On our last day we decided to ride down to Gemini Bridges, one of Greer’s most favorite places. The road is a smooth and drivable downhill, but as a first-time mountain biker, I found extremes in the wide corners and spits of sand. We indulged in too-fast turns, bouncing giddily on the suspension of our bikes.
Gemini Bridges is iconic Moab, all red dirt and weird form. We sat for a long while on the edge of a bridge, marveling at the how human the desert is – the earth’s skin stretched and baked in the rock, her bones twisted up in the limbs of trees. We left in the early afternoon with story leads and unanswered river-running invitations still sucking at our ankles, but we were ready to move forward. I felt like we’d been there a thousand years.
We hit the road again, headed north. I knew Moab had crept into my heart when every man-made cut in the rock felt like a personal affront. By nightfall we found our next temporary home, Utah’s Maple Canyon. I thought I’d never be cold again after trying to fall asleep in the desert heat, and the tucked-away damp of the canyon is a welcome relief.
We are searching for Spencer McCroskey, dirt bag climber and fellow Durango export. He lives in Las Vegas and is here to indulge his climbing lust, and I can’t wait to ask him about the contrast of living with casinos and crags. There’s a chance we might be driving through Vegas on our way to Ventura, CA – we’ll see how we adjust to the bright lights and asphalt after all this luxurious open space.