HAPPENINGS - March 2001
by Janet Lowe
Camelot Adventure Lodge
Where Pavement Ends, The Adventure Begins!
The view from the porch is that of the wild Colorado River as it
winds through Canyonlands. Saddlehorn and Pyramid buttes stand silhouetted
against a turquoise sky. Surrounding you is Shafer Basin with hidden
slot canyons, petroglyphs and sand dunes. So majestic are the dunes
near the lodge that any moment you expect a camel to rise above
the dune like a ship. No, you think, camels dont live in America,
they live in Saudi Arabia. And just at that moment, Clyde lifts
his proud camel head high into the air, the red rock canyons and
drifting sand as a backdrop. Soon Guineviere wanders over toward
him, then Bill and Raji and Quasimodo join him. Curly shows up last,
curious about what might be going on that
not on a movie set, but at Camelot Adventure Lodge near Moab, Utah.
Owners Terry and Marcee Moore put the emphasis on
adventure in their unique lodging experience. And with
a corral full of camels and miles of slickrock canyons to explore,
its hard not to be adventurous.
We like to ask our guests, whats your adventure?
Is canoeing your idea of an adventure? 4-wheeling? Kayaking? Mountain
biking? Camel riding? Whatever people love to do in the canyonlands
are, we can weave that into their stay at Camelot Adventure Lodge,
says Terry. Terry and Marcee came to Moab three years ago from a
very different kind of wilderness. They worked at lodges in and
around Anchorage, Alaska, including a bear-viewing and fly-fishing
lodge near Lake Clark Pass, Alaska. The Moores discovered they were
really good at being inn-keepers and sharing a disappearing way
of life with people. They decided to strike out on their own, but
in a warmer climate.
Terry is a native of Utah, so when they started looking for the
place that would house their camel trekking and adventure lodge,
the red rock wilderness of southern Utah came to mind. After looking
all over southwestern Utah and not finding anything appropriate,
their last stop was Moab. Its as if the land had been waiting
for Terry and Marcee to find it. Their realtor took them right to
what is now Camelot. Terry was so sure this was going
to be home, he made the offer before he actually saw the property.
three years they hauled materials 18 miles from town over Hurrah
Pass to build their five room lodge and home. The camels didnt
have to travel too far to find their home in Moab. A veterinarian
from Park City owned five of them. She said they werent happy
camels in the mountains and didnt often get outings. Its
clear the camels are happy in their new home in the desert of southeastern
Utah. Quasimodo greets visitors with a burbling sound that mimics
a boat engine bubbling underwater. All the leggy animals lift their
long necks and lope over to see whos new at Camelot.
Camelot Adventure Lodge offers the only camel treks of this type
in North America. There are places where camels are tied together
and walk along in a fine, but nowhere else can you travel deep into
the desert by camel. The bad press that camels often get seems mostly
undeserved. These ships of the desert, who do roll much
like a ship when riding them are intelligent and curious. They dont
buck or spook easily. They seem to possess a great sense of humor
and a lot of patience with their human burden. Before riding, Terry
and Marcee give a brief orientation and lesson riding and teach
some basic camel commands such as Hush, which means
to kneel down.
Anyone can ride a camel, says Marcee. Our oldest
couple has been 81 and 86 years old. Weve had people with
physical disabilities and debilitating illnesses come out and ride
the camels. Children are often part of the mix at Camelot,
but the Moores seldom take children younger than 11 on the canyon
treks. Most little ones dont enjoy the ride after about
20 minutes, and we stay out between two and three hours most days.
While camels are indisputably the center of attention at Camelot
Lodge, they are only part of the adventure. As a matter of fact,
part of the total adventure package is getting to the remote Shafer
The adventure starts the minute you leave town, says
Terry. You can customize your trip depending on what you like
to do, whether youre a cyclist, 4- wheeler, paddler .... you
could even parachute in, I guess!
The available routes to Camelot Adventure Lodge are many; its
hard to chose the most beautiful and exciting. If youre planning
on doing some 4-wheeling, youll want to drive your vehicle
in on Kane Creek Road over the top of Hurrah Pass. Once it drops
to the back side, it gets rocky and definitely requires good driving
skills. Some precipitous drop-offs make it a heart-thumping ride!
If youre more of a river rat, you can rent a canoe and paddle
up river from Moab or from the Potash Road ramp. If youd like
to see the river, but dont want to do your own paddling, you
can arrive at Camelot via jetboat. As part of the ride, youll
float past the lodge to enjoy a long, calm stretch of the Colorado
before your guide drops you off at Camelots beach. If you
are a mountain biker, you can bike all the way to the lodge.
Terry will pick up your luggage and extra gear in town and bring
it out to the lodge. Finally, for a beautiful drive through the
canyons on a mostly two-wheel drive road, you can visit some of
Moabs most famous Indian rock art before parking your car
at Hurrah Pass where Terry will pick you up and drive the last two
and a half miles. Whatever your choice of transportation, its
all part of the exciting Camelot experience.
Once youre at the lodge, youll enjoy a solitude you
thought was gone from modern life. While Camelot Adventure Lodge
is technically a B&B, because of its backcountry location, it
is actually a full-service lodge serving all three meals. Marcee
loves cooking lots of homemade fare and always has fresh-baked cookies
and pies on hand. The rooms are beautifully decorated, each with
its own toilet, shower and sink. All rooms have
a view and a great sitting porch stretches around the building.
A short path leads down to the Colorado River
where you can read, play volleyball, or swim when the river is warm
and calm. There are miles and miles of canyons to hike and Terry
will happily be your guide. As a Utah native, he is well-versed
in the flora and fauna and loves to tell you the historic uses of
the shrubs and flowers youll see. He can instruct you in geology,
American Indian history and cultural history as you travel across
sand and rock. And of course, he has some adventurous routes
that take you through slot canyons, cracks and quiet places seldom
visited by man.
The story of Camelot Adventure Lodge is just beginning. Terry and
Marcee admit that their particular kind of B&B is not for everyone.
What we are offering is to share our home, to share our way
of life. We want to give people a chance to experience the desert
in a remote setting. For those who want to really experience the
desert, Camelot is the place to do that. Its not the place
to come if you want to shop or people watch. Its more like
where you come to watch lizards and get your T-shirt dirty following
bugs around on your hands and knees, says Terry.
Marcee echoes his philosophy: People who come and stay with
us find out quickly that they dont just come out and move
into their rooms. They are guests in our home. We eat together,
talk in the shared living room, we play games and read together.
We hope to let people return to a simpler way of life if only for
a few days.
You can reach Terry and Marcee Moore at Camelot Adventure Lodge
by calling 260-1783 or at www.camelotlodge.com.
Inquiries may be mailed to Camelot Adventure Lodge, P.O. Box 621,
Moab, UT 84532.
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