Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Utah part 1

This past weekend Ron and I took a long weekend trip to Utah. We've been there so much that it's always hard to decide which areas to revisit. We have our favorites with Bryce Canyon being top, followed by Zion but since we weren't taking DS with us we promised to not go to Bryce. We had visited Arches about 2 1/2 years ago but didn't see the whole park, so we decided to go there and to go to Canyonlands since we've never been to that park. We arrived in Utah late Friday night and so we drove from Salt Lake City to Moab Saturday morning. We arrived at Arches National Park about 1 p.m. We knew it was the weekend and we expected crowds but we didn't know it was Free Public Lands Use weekend which meant that none of the National Parks were charging their admission price. So, as you can imagine Arches was very crowded. We drove up to the first trailhead that we hadn't done on our last trip which was to Broken Arch and Sand Dune Arch. We decided to do Broken Arch first since it was a longer hike, it was out in the full sun, and there were a lot less people headed that way. It was a hot hike but we did enjoy seeing this arch which isn't really broken, it just has a large crack in it! After we walked around the arch and enjoyed the scenery, we headed back to the trailhead to go to Sand Dune Arch. You had to walk through a really narrow slot to get to the area which was kind of cool. What was not cool was the amount of sand I had to trudge through because I really do not like sand. I don't like the feel of it and I hate the way it gets in everything! But, I trudged on and we got to the arch which was teaming with people. We were finally able to get a shot without people in front of it. Ron walked a little further in and took some other pictures and then we walked out and back to the car. We headed for the next trailhead and when we arrived there was no parking at all. We looked at each other and decided it just wasn't worth it and decided to drive over to Canyonlands which is about 25 miles away. On the way over there we saw some lightening and it sprinkled on us quite a bit. We got to the visitor's center and got out of the car and we couldn't believe that it was at least 20 degrees but probably closer to 30 degrees cooler than it had been at Arches. It was also quite windy as you'll see from one of the photos. Across from the visitor's center was Shafer Canyon Overlook which was just beautiful because not only did you feel like you were immersed into this canyon but you could see the Rockies in the background. It truly was a great view. We met a couple who had just relocated to Colorado but had lived in our area for many years. We had a nice chat with them and exchanged info on our favorite places to visit! Here's a great view of the canyon. After we left there we proceeded up and decided to go all the way to the top and work our way down. The furthest overlook was Grand View Point and it really was a grand view. We did about a mile hike along the rim which was really nice. The air was cool and the crowds minimal so just a really nice hike. You can tell from my hair in this picture that the wind was whipping up pretty good by this time. By the way you'll notice that Ron and I don't mind getting close to the edge and we always take pictures because it really freaks out our friend Sandy! After we left there we went to Buck Canyon Overlook and then we decided to head over to Green River Overlook since it was starting to get close to sunset and we were told this was one of the best sunset locations in the park. We knew it was going to be kind of iffy on sunset pictures because of the clouds but decided to try it anyway. While we didn't get the great sunset pictures we love. We did get a few that we though were interesting.

We then headed back to Moab for a late dinner and to check into the hotel for the night. It was a long day but a good one. We turned in fairly early because we planned on spending the morning and part of the afternoon back at Canyonlands before heading back to Salt Lake City.

After breakfast, we headed back out to Canyonlands on Sunday morning and it was a nice day. We knew it was going to be warmer than the day before but we had packed a lot of water. We decided our first stop would be Mesa Arch as we figured it would only get more crowded as the day went on. The trail to Mesa is a loop and since most people seemed to be going on the right hand trail, we chose to go on the left hand trail. We were glad we did because we didn't see the arch until we go right up to it. We discovered on the way back on the other trail that you can see it for quite a while before you actually get to it. What I loved about this arch was what you could see on the other side. There was just a great view through the arch! After climbing around it, I decided that it looked wide enough to walk on so I climbed up and stood on top of the arch! It was really quite thrilling! Ron wasn't too thrilled with me being on top of the arch but he took my picture anyway. After that we took photos for several other people and then had someone take ours together.

After the fun of Mesa Arch we proceeded on to Upheaval Dome which was an interesting site. They aren't sure what caused it some think an asteroid others think it was a salt pit but whatever it was it was cool. A nice couple offered to take our picture so here we are!We then headed to Orange Cliffs overlook which was pretty awesome. Even more so when we discovered we could hike over to one of the cliffs which we did. It was a very interesting area and we enjoyed the usual formations. Before we could go though, I had to take one more foot dangling picture of Ron. You see, we have a whole series of pictures of him dangling his feet over different cliffs at different National Parks. I'm not sure how it all started but it's become quite a tradition with us. I have to admit though, this was a really, really high cliff and I held my breath until he was far enough back that I felt he was safe!

It was late afternoon by the time we got back to the car so, we headed on to Salt Lake City. Tomorrow I'll post about our trip to Big Cottonwood Canyon to see the fall colors!


Louise said...

I'm so jealous. Arches is my favorite park. (Bryce is for next summer on the way to Convention.) And we haven't been to Canyondlands. Have you been to Cedar Breaks? It's probably my favorite place on the planet.

Kathy said...

What a great travelogue and beautiful pictures. Makes me so homesick!
(SCS stampin8mom)

Sandra Smart said...

Wow, I have never been there, and had no idea it was so beautiful! Thanks for sharing the pictures...now I hope to get there someday!