Our Travel Adventures

Because our daughter, Jodee Adams-Moore, had been invited to participate in the Red Hot 55K trail race in Moab, Utah on February 15, 2014, Abby and Rusty decided to drive out there to join her and cheer her on.

We set off on Monday, February 10 with a plan to visit as many national and state parks as we could while driving out and back, planning to return home on February 20.

Here is our photographic travelog of that wonderful meandering road trip to Moab:

Joshua Tree 1

At California’s Mohave National Monument, the ranger told us that this valley has the greatest concentration of Joshua trees.

Joshua Tree  Abby

Joshua Tree  Moon

Valley of Fire sign

Valley of Fire State Park is the oldest state park in Nevada, dedicated in 1935. You’ll find it 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 at exit 75.


And these fiery red rocks are the reason for its dramatic name.



This formation is known as “The Beehive.”

Valley of Fire Rusty

Valley of Fire  sitting Abby


Valley of Fire petroglyphs

Valley of Fire petroglyphs 3


Zion Snowy ridge

After entering Utah, we headed to Zion National Park, providing time for both afternoon and morning drives & hiking.


Zion canyon with road 1

We hiked to a viewpoint that gave us this panorama of Zion’s canyon and the Virgin River.

Zion canyon with road 2

We took this road that winds up to the cliffs and then pierces through them with a two-and-a-half-mile tunnel.

Zion canyon with Abby


Zion bighorn sheep

We had to make a sudden stop when this big-horned sheep dashed across the road.

Zion mule deer 1

Fearless mule deer grazed along the trails. This buck was larger than our California white-tailed deer.

Zion Virgin River hike

The Virgin River is given credit for cutting this colorful canyon.


Abby was able to capture a portrait of this pair of Common Merganser ducks.

Zion Rock tower

Zion canyon ridges

For early February, the weather was surprisingly mild and sunny.

Zion wall with Ruby


Bryce overview

Our next stop was up onto the high plateau that is dissolving into Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce Steller s Jay

This Steller’s jay kept a careful eye on us as we surveyed the scenic overview.

Bryce Raven 1

Big, beautiful ravens frequented the trailheads, hoping for handouts.

Bryce Raven with Abby 2

Abby loved her close approach to this fearless fellow.

Bryce hoodoo vista

One of the highest parks we visited, Bryce still showed its recent dusting of snow. But temps were now in the mid 50s.

Bryce Rainbow Point Raven

Bryce canyon wide view


Bryce hoodoos  Abby

These human-scaled hoodoos are why we loved exploring the muddy trails through the Queen’s Gardens.

Bryce The Queen s Gardens

Bryce The Queen s Gardens  Abby


Bryce colorful hoodoos

Bryce Tree Monster with Abby

But watch out for this tourist-eating octo-tree!

Kodachrome Basin pinnacle with Abby and Ruby

The next morning we drove to Kodachrome Basin State Park where we were the only visitors!


Although we encountered wet trails of sticky red clay, we hiked up to see into this beautifully bizarre basin.

Kodachrome Basin arch 2

Kodachrome Basin hoodoo 1

Kodachrome Basin hoodoo 3

Kodachrome Basin sandcastle

Kodachrome Basin cliff face

Kodachrome Basin landscape


Kodachrome Basin tower

Kodachrome Basin cabin

Escalante vista

Although too big to explore this trip, we passed through the edge of Grand Escalante Staircase National Monument.



In the tiny town of Boulder, Utah, this place caught Abby’s attention.


Another huge national park that we only caught an edge of was Capitol Reef. We did check out its Goosenecks Point trail.


Capitol Reef


The Fluted Wall Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef vista

Capitol Reef school house 2

Abby imagined the lessons taught at this historic, one-room Mormon school house in Fruita.


Alien-looking petroglyphs on a Capitol Reef cliff.


At Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park, we just had to see what those goblins looked like. Was this the goblin king’s castle?

Goblin Valley 3

The road past the Goblins’ Castle took us through these sculpted landscapes to…

Goblin Valley 5

Goblin Valley 2

Goblin Valley ridge view

Goblin Valley 1


Goblin Valley details

the Valley of the Goblins! Goblins here, goblins there, goblins, goblins everywhere!

Goblin Valley goblin  Abby

Is this the Queen of the Goblins?

A  R in Goblin Valley


Little Wild Horse Canyon  R

Here’s our special and surreal slot-canyon discovery: Little Wild Horse Canyon State Park.

Little Wild Horse Canyon


Little Wild Horse Canyon  Abby climbing

Could we climb out quickly if a flash flood came? Luckily, no rain in the forecast.


Little Wild Horse Canyon Abby  holey walls

Little Wild Horse Canyon R 2

Little Wild Horse tight slot


Little Wild Horse tight slot

Little Wild Horse Canyon end

Cold Moab morning race start

Saturday, February 15, dawned cloudy and cold. But in Moab, Utah, world-class runners were arriving for their race. Jodee had flown from Seattle to Salt Lake City, then driven south in a rental car.


At 7 a.m., Rusty drove Jodee to the race’s starting area where she went out for a warm-up run.


At 7:59 a.m., hundreds of trail runners from around the country lined up to start this 55-kilometer (34-mile) race. Some of the men wondered what this petite woman was doing up with the big guys.



Jodee told us she expected her race to last more than four hours, so Abby and Rusty went for a hike in nearby Arches.


The Windows Trail at Arches National Park, just north of Moab, Utah.

Arches 2

Arches 3

Moab race finish with Jodee

We returned at 11:45 a.m. to wait for the first 55K runners to descend from the red-rock canyons; at 12:31 came Jodee!


Moab race finish with Jodee 3

Moab race with Jodee s smile



After a leg massage and hot shower, Jodee returned for the awards ceremony.


Moab Race with R J and A

Moab Race Results

Only a few men ran faster. Jodee was the first woman across the finish line.

Arches Landscape Arch

The next day, a rested Jodee joined us in a hike to Landscape Arch back within Arches National Park.






Arches balancing rock


Arches J  A daydreams

Dreaming in the crevices…


Arches Navajo Arch w J  A

Arches Abby on ridge


Arches primitive trail

Moab Sky

Back at Moab, we said our goodbyes to Jodee, who was headed back north to Salt Lake City’s airport to fly home.

Dead Horse Point Colorado R

At sunset, we drove to Utah’s Dead Horse Point State Park that overlooks the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park.

Dead Horse Point Solar

We think these silver areas are a solar power site.

Dead Horse Point Colorado R

Natural Bridges

The next morning, southbound on Scenic Byway 95, we came to Natural Bridges National Park and set out on another hike.

Abby s Rusty  lightning sign

Natural Bridges pueblo ruins

These ancient Pueblo ruins are tucked deep within a rock cleft.

Natural Bridges pueblo ruins 2

Natural Bridges 2

Natural Bridges sky bridge 1


Natural Bridges sky bridge 4

Muley Point Overlook 1

Crossing the mesa of the Grand Gulch Primitive Area, we stopped to take in the magnificent Muley Point Overlook.

Moki Dugway switchbacks

Descending from this mesa involved slowly driving down these 3 miles of switchbacks, known as the Moki Dugway.

Goosenecks State Park 1

Again on the plateau, we rested and marveled at the San Juan River’s sinuous curves from Goosenecks State Park.

Goosenecks State Park 2

Valley of the Gods

Ahead stretched the Valley of the Gods.

Valley of the Gods 1

Valley of the Gods 2

Mexican Hat

And Mexican Hat, Utah, named after this fantastic rock formation.


That afternoon, we pulled into Monument Valley in the Navajo Nation, just in time for sunset exploring.


Monument Valley sunset 1


Monument Valley sunset 3

Goulding s Lodge stage coach with R  A

We spent the night at the historic Goulding’s Lodge, where John Ford’s many classic western movies were shot.

Goulding s Lodge The Duke and Abby




Sunrise was also exquisite!

Navajo National Monument 1

Continuing south, we crossed into Arizona and explored Navajo National Monument. Due to the snow, only one trail was open.

Navajo National Monument 2


Navajo National Monument pueblo ruins closeup

Devil Dog Road sign

On our way to Flagstaff, we passed Devil Dog Road, where one of our favorite local wines, Devil Dog Red, got its name. After a sleep-over in that fun little city, we went onward into California’s deserts.

Cholla cactus gardens

We made a brief stop in Joshua Tree National Park and toured the Cholla Cactus Gardens.

Cholla cactus attacks Abby

Abby learned a painful lesson: never bump a Cholla Cactus—those barbed spines held on tight!

Cholla cactus skeleton

Remember: the only safe Cholla is a dead Cholla!

Our last evening we visited with Bellevue, WA friend, Kathy Judkins in Indio, CA. We loved our visit to the red rock country at this time of year, with so few folks on the trails. We were lucky with the weather, as with the off-season rates that we got at many hotels. The disadvantage was that many of the recommended restaurants were closed for the winter season. Nevertheless, we ate well and found some delightful local beer —when in Utah, be sure to try the Polygamy Porter!


Comments on: "To Red Rocks and a Trail Race Moab, Utah in Feb. 2014" (3)

  1. Nice shots, got us inspired, we’ll be there for our desert hikes. The mule deer is actually a buck, look at the top of his head, see where antlers used to be, came off probably a few weeks ago.

  2. Anonymous said:

    Beautiful landscapes and wonderful pictures of the geologic wonders. Thanks for sending. And congratulations to Jodee, great finish.
    Susie Hughes

  3. Anonymous said:

    Hey Guys,
    Another great travelogue! I loved all the pics! California is treating you well . . . .
    Hugs, Morley

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