Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Moab, Utah

Sunday, May 20, 2007
We were up and on the road at 8:00 this morning. We had two destinations today, the Needles Overlook and the southern entrance to Canyonlands NP. We kept thinking that we had seen the best until we got to the next destination and declared it to be the best. This land is just so gorgeous I cannot do justice describing it. It would be a string of superlatives. At one overlook, Don said “Don’t need to go to Grand Canyon after seeing this”. It wasn’t three minutes later when a couple walked up and the man made the same the comment.

We were surprised there were no crowds on a Sunday, but as we left in late afternoon, the traffic was picking up. Our plans are to return to Moab after we pick up the Lazy Daze. There is so much to see. This place has it all, except a seashore.

One interesting thing today was a very large rock that we kept seeing and thinking that it looked like homes were built into the rocks. Finally we found the dirt road (of course) and drove to the rock. Sure enough, houses were being built into the rock. It’s Rocklands Ranch, home to a polygamist excommunicated Mormon family who has four wives and 38 children. There are several homes there and they are digging more home sites for another group of excommunicated Mormons that will be joining them. If you are interested in seeing it: http://www.ericandsylvia.com/pictures/2001/Utah/part5/

Don writes: There has been a slight haze over the SW the last month. Today, there were thunderstorms in the area. [We actually felt three or four drops on us in two different locations!] The combination of haze and clouds made taking pictures beyond my capabilities. With perfect weather, I still don’t know how to take a picture of such vast landscapes. The canyon area is 10 to 30 miles wide in every direction, with features from the fore ground into the distance. We just looked with slacked jaws and said Oh Wow all day.

Monday, May 21, 2007
It is overcast and windy this morning. 8am. A front came through during the night. The weather is supposed to cool off for a few days.

By 10:30 all of the gray clouds were gone, an hour later only a few high level wispy clouds remained.

The plan for the day was to drive Hwy 128 to Fisher Towers. We got as far as Negro Bill’s Canyon and started hiking the two miles to the worlds 6th largest arch. The canyon reminded us Capital Reef, which is not that far away to the west. It’s an unusual canyon in that the stream flows year around. We got about a mile up the canyon when the path narrowed so that poison ivy was going to touch you some place to pass. Given Dorothy’s reaction to being near the plant, we bailed out.

Our next stop was Red Cliffs Lodge where several movies were made. We toured their museum of movie memorabilia rather fast, as they did not feel that a/c for that part of the lodge was worthwhile. We had thought about eating lunch there, but they do not serve on Mondays’.

Our next adventure was up the La Sal Mountain Loop Road, which is not a loop this year, as the Mill Creek bridge is out. The road starts out at the Colorado River at 4,000 feet and climbs to 8,000 and has a view to the west of Castle Valley, the river and Arches NP. At the road closure, we parked and napped in the cool air. We discovered one unnamed and nearly unmarked forest service CG and some great sites overlooking the canyons.

We made it back to the CG by 4:30, three hours after our planned return time. There is so much to see here.

At 9pm, it is a delightful 77 with a light breeze, perfect for sitting outside.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I was wrong about the front moving through last night or maybe it was a pre-front. Anywho, we had more wind last night and three very light sprinkles.. Last night, I rinsed some of the dust off the van. The trace rain wet the van and the wind borne red dirt affixed to the van. And the mountains got fresh snow above 11,000 feet. This morning it is 56, so we put on our long hiking pants.

We went to Arches NP this morning. Our plan is to spend 3 to 4 days exploring it so as to not exhaust ourselves. Today, we spent some time in the VC and did the one mile hike through Park Avenue – tall monoliths that some think look like NYC buildings. The trail leads down a canyon and we took our time, about 40 minutes. I talked Dorothy into saving her energy and she waited for me to hike back up the canyon, get the van and pick her up at the end of the trail. I fast walked it in 15 minutes and got my heart rate up. The steps up to the parking lot were the most strenuous.

After a sandwich, we did the short hike to Double Arch. It’s a beauty. See pictures. Dorothy was running low on energy, so we called it a day and went back to the CG and had a short nap.

Moab is the best!

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