I have been to Moab something like eight times now, but always with company -- geology classes, friends, significant others. Since I enjoy doing things by myself, a solo trip was nothing bad, but it was a long way for me to drive alone. It would also be my first time in a long time going out in the fall; usually when I had visited, it had been springtime. Now that I was quite familiar with the area I was curious to see if it would look very different and if the leaves would be changing.
I left Wednesday night after work. The setting sun eerily lit up the smoke from the forest fires.
I drove through the dark for an hour and a half to the free campground. As when I'd come in five days before, it was filled with campers already asleep. Since the latrine had been quite smelly last time I was there, I chose a site far from it. Then I looked at the latrine, not wanting to walk the distance I'd just created in order to go to the bathroom. And it was dark, after all, so I just squatted next to my car and peed there.
And again, just as when I'd camped here five nights before, my alarm failed to wake me in the morning. I can't think of any reason why. As far as I know, there's no magical interference waves a car creates that jam the circuits of alarm clocks. I still had a four-hour drive back to Denver and I was going to be very late for work.
As I walked to the bathroom I realized that I was very close to another campsite. A campsite where about eight people were sleeping under the stars, no tent to shield them from the view of the sky during the night. Or from me peeing right next to my car seven hours before. I wondered if anyone had seen me. In the end, I was hard-pressed to care. I will probably never see any of those people again in my life.
It was a long, tired drive back home, and then I had a full day of work. But it had been worth it, to see that sky. I was already missing Moab by the time I got home. But it's only seven more months until the warm weather returns, and I can go back.