High Desert Utah & Arches National Park – Photos Posted

When I stepped off the train in Green River, Utah in the middle of April, the train conductor expressed surprise – “I didn’t think anyone would get off here.” I can understand her doubt; the town has a dusty, back-of-beyond feel of slowly being reclaimed by the high desert and withering away to ghost town status. I walked past crumbling, abandoned old beer and pizza joints, their sepia-weathered neon signs clinging to their sides, to reach my old-school, tired motel. When I stepped out to explore, a huge piece of tumbleweed lazily rolled across the highway bisecting town. I felt like I’d stepped into a cliché.

But there’s more to Eastern Utah than just wide, empty high desert spaces and ghost towns. In Green River I found pockets of vibrant life tucked back from the main road – an oasis of green and recreation around the wide, lazy river the town is named after, locals who came back to live in town and raise their kids, and a taco truck that set up at the Shell station at twilight, serving a steady stream of highway traffic and dog-walkers.

I was only in Green River one night, a necessity to catch the local bus service south to Moab. The next afternoon I boarded the recently commenced bus line, Elevated Transit, to Moab, a burgeoning center of adventure sports. Many come here for the off-roading and mountain biking, but I was here for the hiking in nearby Arches National Park.

I’ve already blogged about my adventures in Arches – being adopted by a local family of outdoors men and women, hiking to Delicate Arch and off-roading to a forgotten patch of dinosaur footprints baked into stone along the old and abandoned original road into the park. It was a fantastic day. Some advice for those visiting Arches – go in the spring or fall when daytime desert temperatures are bearable, carry 4 liters of water, and if you must bike the 18 mile road through the park (many do), make sure you rent a light-weight road bike, not the monster of a mountain bike I did. It was so heavy that pedalling up hills felt like my knees and lungs would fall off. I also recommend pacing yourself if you’re not adjusted to the high altitude.

Below is my photo slide show of this often overlooked corner of the West:

Eastern Utah & Arches National Park

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About chronictraveler

Chronic Traveler starts as a dream, one that I thought I had lost, but that has slowly changed into a mission to realize and live that dream every day. In December 2007 I became seriously ill and the doctors did not know what was causing my illness. I had to stop teaching as my life tumbled into a never-ending nightmare of doctors, hospitals and tests. Finally, in May 2008 I was diagnosed with a chronic condition - fibromyalgia. I was only 26 years old at the time. I have had to give up teaching, and now work part-time at a performing arts center as I learn how to manage my condition and improve my quality of life. What helped me through the months of uncertainty and sickness, and continues to inspire me, was a new focus on what truly mattered to me: family, friends, gardening, the arts, and especially travel. I have always fed my soul by traveling, ever since I first stepped off the plane at age 16 in Kathmandu, Nepal to help with an orphanage's building project. Meeting new people and experiencing how they live and how they view the world infuses my life with a richness I was so afraid I would lose when the doctor first said, "You have fibromyalgia". This blog is my story, as I begin to forge a new path. I am embracing my life as it is, with the fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and learning to do what I love regardless. It may mean I have to go slower and take more naps or breaks! But I am determined to learn how to travel and experience the world, and hopefully what I learn will help others like me who believe their medical condition stands in the way of their travel dreams.
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