Things to do in Moab … did he say, “admire the flowers?”

Consider this post a recess.

I recently was shopping in the health food store in Sag Harbor on Eastern Long Island and I was wearing my Moab hat. Someone came over and asked:

“What’s a Moab?”

A question like that isn’t that uncommon out here in the salt-soaked forests east of the Hudson River. In fact many people around are likely to assume the name Edward Abbey is an Edward Albee typo.

Me and Moab go back a long ways. It began in August 1978 when I was passing through what was then a town with only two places to eat. We were in one of them ordering breakfast and preparing to head up to nearby Arches National Park.  I was traveling with a close friend and my brother. It was the “salad years” for three of us and thanks to Edward Abbey, we had recently discovered Utah.

At the restaurant, I phoned home and my father informed me that Sagamore Hill National Historic Site had called. My father hated talking on the phone so I considered myself lucky. The three of us fished around for pocket change and I rang them up. The curator needed a staff photographer after Labor Day and I was offered the job.

I took it.

Many years later I returned to Moab with my wife and son and geez… had that place changed. They’d discovered over a thousand more arches inside the park. That made me feel old. Next they invented mountain bikes and all the people showed up. This was a clearly a town that had shifted gears since I first arrived.

You had to hand it to old Ed Abbey. He wrote Desert Solitaire and became the unwitting founding father of both Earth First and the Moab Chamber Of Commerce. Considering some of the pricey developments springing up,  you have to wonder what he’d make of it all.

I don’t know about him but I think that it’s good.

Some in southern Utah won’t agree, but the vacationing eco-tourists and Europeans on holiday are living proof that their state doesn’t require any more roads or mines, or forests full of cows. The good citizens need to remember that green types tend to travel with plenty of the green stuff. If Moab is any indication, more wilderness might actually boost their economy.

Enough with that. Now onto the photographs.

Nowadays there’s lots of good photographers exhibiting in Moab. In fact, the last time I was there, I’d say there were more photographers than gas stations. All of these guys are very good, although in Moab and everywhere else in Utah they tend to be white guys over fifty – something like myself.

And so… where are my arch pictures?

Unfortunately, I’ve got a tendency to withhold pictures that people want to see the most. I can’t help it, it’s my nature. I have photographs of arches but you have to wait. At any rate, Moab is one sweet town to walk around. Remember, that’s coming from a guy whose hometown got some sort of award from National Geographic (I keep forgetting to read the little sign they put up across from our library).

Thus, from Moab, I have flowers. Yarrow, Lantana, Roses and a Sunflower, all of which were photographed around Main Street, some near my favorite restaurants. I don’t know if Moab is overrated for anything but it’s underrated for flowers. My advice to visitors:  admire the flowers.

Some comments:

Yes, the Yarrow is dried up which in my opinion is the way it looks best – the place is a desert after all. The sunflower is complimented by a common garden hose which is the first one I’ve ever photographed. The final image is a fascinating one. I was struck by the way the two tripod legs looked and kept them in the picture. Photographers tend to avoid getting tripods in their photographs for obvious reasons but in this case, I let them be.  It’s a self-portrait, of sorts.

There are good textures in these pictures. People have seen them at different shows and think I took them in Paris.

I didn’t. They’re just from Moab.

Now for some off topic family favorites… and the rest of the photographs:

Favorite Waffle: Jailhouse Cafe ••• Favorite Mexican Food: Miguel’s Baja Grill ••• Best Deal: 99 cent Clif Bars at GearHeads ••• Favorite Thrift Store: Wabisabi (where my hat came from) ••• Favorite Bookstore: Back of Beyond (where my t-shirt came from) ••• Favorite Muffin: Chocolate Peanut Butter Vegan Muffin at Love Muffin Cafe ••• Favorite Shower: Slickrock Campground ••• Favorite Snack: Apricot Suncakes, Moonflower Market, Inc.

Favorite Utah National Park: Capitol Reef (sorry Arches)

Favorite Book About the Area: Park Slayer Pursuit,  a short book which my son wrote in 7th grade (sorry Mr. Abbey)

3 thoughts on “Things to do in Moab … did he say, “admire the flowers?”

  1. Cool. Let’s go! I was reading about William Least Heat Moon and he was out there somewhere in 1978 as well, checking out good places to eat for his “Blue Highways.” Might have been in Moab the same time we were there!


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