Saturday, September 22, 2012

Day 2....Canyonlands Nat'l Park


Now that we have a few extra days, we can revisit Canyonlands NP, though a day is not nearly enough time to see this beautiful area.  We pack up and leave the OK RV Park in Moab, and drive back to Arches NP where we leave the motorhome at the Visitor's Center, taking the jeep for the drive to Canyonlands, maybe 25 miles north on Hwy. 191.  It is too early to check into our campsite.


Arches Visitor Center


     This northern part of Canyonlands NP is known as the Island in the Sky.  A scenic drive follows the rim of this sheer-walled mesa with pull-outs and vistas where you get amazing views out over the surrounding country, including rugged canyons that have been carved by the Colorado and Green Rivers.  In many places the surrounding country is virtually 1,000' straight down from the top of the mesa.  Sadly, with the air quality so hazy and quite unpleasant (even the ranger by the rim was wiping tears from smoke-filled eyes), combined with the hot temps, hiking any distance was not an option.


View from Grand Point

Hikers along the rim trail


    From the Visitor's Center to the Grand Point View Overlook is 12 miles.  At mile 6 a road branches off to Upheaval Dome, probably the oddest geologic feature in the park.  At 1500' deep it looks more like a crater than a dome.  Recent theory suggests it was caused by a meteor hit.  Check out the link for photos.


Candlestick Rock


     We did not have time to take any of the numerous jeep roads that travel precariously down into the canyon, such as the Shafer Trail Road pictured here...Or visit magnificent Dead Horse Point State Park, featured in our Trip Journal 2007 .


Shafer Trail Road


     Heading back to Arches we retrieved the motorhome from the parking lot and made our way down to claim our campsite for two nights.  We have a lovely, large, level site and sit out barbecuing steaks as the sun fades and lights up the surrounding red rock landscape.  There were even several constellations and the Milky Way visible in the dark night sky, even through the haze.
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