Our roadtrip ended in typically anticlimactic fashion with one of those decisions that seemed at the time to be largely out of our hands. As a few days of rain (or snow depending on the altitude) began in Utah, the mental and physical impacts of about ten weeks on the road were making themselves known in a big way. Checking the forecast, we realized that a significant storm front was moving westwards towards us, looming for days over our most direct route home. This meant a trying drive at best, and chain laws and closed mountain passes at worst. After two amazing days exploring Canyonlands, and a brief, wet morning in Arches, we were ready to begin the drive east, hoping to get through the mountains before the storm hit and avoid being stuck for a few extra days in Utah.
I realize ‘stuck’ might seem somewhat dramatic, or even ungrateful. The Moab area is one of the most outstandingly beautiful places that we have encountered and we would be lucky to be there, even in less-than-ideal weather. In hindsight, we possibly could have stuck it out, but likely at the cost of souring the experience. Being wet and cold is different when you share your sleeping and eating quarters with all your wet, cold, and profoundly smelly gear. Having both succeeded in mildly hurting ourselves by the end of our time in Joe’s Valley, sticking around for climbing was also unlikely*. We chose to end our trip slightly early on a high note and carry those good feelings through the long drive ahead.
This long drive (from Moab, UT to Owen Sound, ON, almost three thousand kilometres) ended up taking us roughly two and a half days and might be compared to the agonizingly long coda at the end of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Having sacrificed some part of ourselves to the fires of moderately difficult bouldering, we now had to return home, not sure what the end of the journey would bring, but plodding along all the same.
One thing I will note about this mostly uneventful grind was that we learned the state of Nebraska is apparently the same ‘age’ as Canada. Both celebrate their one-hundred-fiftieths this year. What a coincidence. Also, Iowa has some of the best interstate rest stops we have so far encountered.
After spending some time in Owen Sound with our folks, and reuniting with our Special Kitty, we have returned to our apartment in Ottawa. Ontario has already gone to the trouble of reminding us why we wanted to leave so badly in the first place, with consistently bad weather and a particularly buggy spring. We tried to boulder at Halfway Log Dump while in Owen Sound, but the rain, humidity, and bugs made it less than enjoyable. Nevertheless, it is good to be home. Now it’s time to pull on some plastic, plant a garden, and enjoy summer in Ottawa. Cheers!
-K and M
*Merissa somehow damaged and possibly broke her big toe; I fell off-pad onto my left hip while trying Planet of the Apes on my own. Whoops. Also, remember, sandstone is friable when wet and so we would not only have to wait out the rain, but also wait for the rock to dry afterwards.