I went to Moab this weekend to have dinner with my son.
What I am aware of when I go to Moab, is that I don’t call it going to Utah.
When I “go to Utah” I am going for desert and solitude and nature.
When I go to Moab I’m going for an urban experience, so the two barely feel like the same place.
When I am there, as beautiful as it is, I feel incredibly disconnected from the rocks around me; I’m distracted by cars and people and coffee shops and parking spots and sometimes even schedules.
But my boy is there, so there I go.
Tourists abound – it’s like a monstrous bus opened its doors and dumped out thousands of passengers then went away and came back with another busload.
The people are there for thrills, Arches, and shopping for Red Dirt T-shirts.
We have tourists too – they’re here for ruins and train rides.
The thing I notice the most about the adventure tourists is that they tend to be really uncomfortable in their bodies – these are people who do not spend a lot of time outside connecting with the dirt beneath their feet.
Everything in Moab is about the adventure; boatingbikingclimbing4-wheeling. It’s a scene.
My son loves it – he gets sick of the crowds, but as a river guide, he is right in the thick of the action – he’s part of the energy that creates the scene.
It’s a world that I used to be a part of but no longer am. I am conscious of bringing a little bit of country with me when I sit down at the dinner table at the restaurant owned by the boating company which caters to people in hiking boots and brand new Keens.
I used to feel so cool when I was a guide there. Now I’m totally not cool and totally okay with it.
After dinner, as I was leaving town, I thought about the fact that I no longer fit into that scene and I realized that after close to 23 years in a rural ranching community, I am very much a Colorado gal.
Albeit a Colorado gal from New Jersey.
2 hours away from each other, my town and my son’s town are like night and day – I feel like a hick – unsophisticated, working class, an intimate participant in the landscape of my home.
We work hard and get dirty a lot ’round these parts. W e are comfortable in our bodies because we use them and because we have a connection to the land.
On my way south to my very remote camping destination, I stopped at a used gear store on my son’s recommendation and my observations were proven correct.
In Moab, people buy pearl button shirts and straw cowboy hats at the same place they buy climbing equipment and wetsuits.
Hip, trendy, cool.
Over here, on this side of the border, we buy pearl buttons and hats at ranch stores.