Author: Michele Hill
Date of Trip: January 2009
Day 1 Rolling into Moab from the North. Stopped at the Lower Monitor and the Merrimac Loop Trail that affords access to the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Fossil hike. There is a wet creek here in warm months.
Today it is frozen, slippery and Fantastic! Kids are wearing snow boots, ski bibs, gloves and hats. The waterproof wear is important as belly slides are the activity of choice. These surprising discoveries truly make the trip everlasting in memory. While we invented ice hockey with ice chunk pucks, a twosome from Carbondale, Colorado pedaled along.
They had done the loop. Found this January day, that they were the first to negotiate one section of the trail, which had 2ft of snow. The had been in Moab for 4 days riding and commented they come annually to escape the significant snow in their own home place.
A local Moab Outfitter rents a hut up in the La Sal Mountains. A small snow cat will ferry our supplies the 5.5 miles and we will ski. The fact that this hut has propane heat, light and cook burners, attracted our family.
Day 2 We do not have to go to bed at “dark:thirty”, but can play our favorite (compact/travel) board game and there is no fire to stoke, or find it has extinguished in the freezing predawn hours. The children can get wet playing in the snow and have a warm shelter to recuperate the zeal of winter fun. Two night minimum is recommended to make the experience best escape the computer games, television shows, telephones and other notable daily doses of home and enable the time a family is likely to need traveling this distance.
Day 3 Going in you enjoy the packed track of the snow cat. The ski out is a little tougher, as parents carry the bulk of the supplies. On the way out, we met with another outing. They had a jogger stroller, retrofitted with sled runners, upon which they hauled bulky things. If it were to snow, this could be tiring. There is room in the hut for 8-10, so 2 -3 families, would better break trail, if it came to that.
On the way out of town, you could swing into the Arches Visitor Center, the entrance has life size bronze statuary of Big Horn Sheep, Raven, Lizards. The kids go nuts. (But remember these are works of art, not playground equipment. The statues are not to be climbed, even for a picture.)