Every year there’s one day, maybe in late February or early March, when I feel the sun shining twice as bright, I see the snow melting away into the budding grasses, and I even hear a few birds chirping the songs of spring. Of course, by next day the winds have shifted, the snow has come back, and I’ve been reminded that winter will bluster on for another month or two.
But that one day is still enough to get me dreaming of all the adventures that I will take in warmer weather.
If you are anything like me, then planning your outdoor escapades is an exciting activity. In fact, the bounty that this world has to offer can be overwhelming to me at times. Should I go to my favorite old alpine lake, or try out a new one? Should I head down to Moab before all the crowds come, or try to sneak a trip to the hot springs before it’s too warm to enjoy them? There seem to be no right answers.
But I’m here to help you narrow down your options. In fact, I’m going to try to convince you why an early season river or bike trip on the Colorado Plateau is the perfect adventure to kick off the warmer seasons!
5 Reasons You Should Join Us for an Early Season Rafting or Biking Trip
- The Wildflowers!
Maybe you’ve heard about the ‘Superbloom’ in Death Valley? It’s the rare time of year when the matte greys and tans of the Mojave desert burst out into a song of purples, yellows, and oranges. It’s a magnificent example of how quickly and drastically a desert ecology can change with just a touch of water and the right temperature.
Well, the western Mojave isn’t the only desert that gets a spring bloom. The Colorado Plateau, through which our many biking and river trips cross, has its own ‘Superbloom’.
Desert blooms come in short bursts, and when they’re gone, you have to wait another year before you’ll see that particular flower again. So, come get it while the gettin’ is good!
- Warm Days and Cool Nights
There’s something sort of transcendental about sitting under the July sun all day on a river raft, drinking beer, and melting into the surrounding red rock. But, let’s be honest, it’s more fun to be cruising down a river or biking up a hill on a more mild day.
These spring months are when the desert weather is that delicious mixture of 75-85 degree days and 50-55 degree nights. You can work up a sweat, get your tan on, and enjoy all of the sunny views without overheating. By the time you set up your camp, it’s the perfect temperature for a light sleeping bag and a heavy, satisfying slumber.
Oh, and it’s also the perfect temperature for our next springtime treat…
- …S’mores by the Campfire (No Fire Bans)
By July 1st of last year most of Utah was under some sort of fire restriction due to warm, dry weather and a bad fire season. This is often the case in our low-precipitation and an arid desert state.
But, come early in the spring and there’s still enough water around to tamp down the fire danger, meaning that evening fires by the trail are a-go. What better way to end a long day than with some marshmallow and chocolate fuel? One of our guides might even pull out a guitar for some river songs, if you’re lucky.
- Catch the Spring Migrations
The wildflowers are not the only season-specific sight to see in Utah. We are situated right along the migratory route for a number of amazing birds, from the black-chinned hummingbird to the Swainson’s Hawk, to an occasional early season sighting of the American White Pelican.
After wintering in warmer climates, these birds flock north to join our more permanent residents, like the great horned owl and peregrine falcon. Bring your binoculars along with you on the boat or on your bike and keep an eye out for these elegant critters! Also, if you come soon you might just be able to catch the Migratory Bird Day celebration in Moab!
- Hit the Outdoors Before Life Catches Up!
I know that right now we are getting knee deep in our adventure plans for the summer, but I also know that life has a tendency to catch up with us. How many times have you had to back out of a September trip that you planned back in March?
So, perhaps the best reason to go on your trip early in the season is to make sure that it happens in the first place. There are few feelings worse than realizing that, when the chill of winter starts approaching, you didn’t get every drop of fun you could have out of the warmer weather.
Go ahead, call in sick, use those vacation days, or maybe even just quit your job. It’s spring, and the Colorado Plateau is calling your name!
Easton Smith is a Local Wasatch Front resident and writer. He spends his time community organizing, rock-climbing and playin’ some mean banjo. For more writing from Easton, check out his organizing collective’s blog “Brine Waves” here or stay tuned for future loggings in River Currents.