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Canyonlands Trilogy 2009 PART DEUX

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The Snake Charmer

Joined: 21 Sep 2003
Posts: 2530
Location: Apache Jct, AZ

PostPosted: 5/28/2009, 10:02 pm    Post subject: Canyonlands Trilogy 2009 PART DEUX Reply to topic Reply with quote

Islands in the Sky District

May 12, 2009

The forecast for the Needles District calls for record heat and 95+ degree temps. No hiking for us in Needles today….it’d be too darn hot. We decided to take a road trip from the Needles District to the Islands in The Sky which is 45 miles northwest of Moab and of course 200+ miles from where we were camped. But it is at 6,000 feet which will be a bit cooler than the 4,000 feet we were now at. Another ROAD trip for the cousins. So we set off and arrived at Island in the Sky around 10:30 AM. This is so different from the Needles District….Island in the Sky is set up on a high plateau so your view of Canyonlands from way far above. This is an amazing landscape and you can see where the Green and Colorado Rivers have carved their way through creating the canyons.

We stopped at the Visitors Center first to get a map and the skinny on the area. Temps were forecast to be in the low 80’s with “lotsa wind” gusting to 40-50 mph! We drove to Grandview Point stopping at Buck Canyon along the way and did some short jaunts to the points. Stopped and had lunch at a nice little covered picnic area where we watched the ravens and hawks soar over the canyon on the winds… raven was watching us with particular fascination, probably waiting for something to blow off our picnic table for HIS lunch. We also hit the Green River Overlook area which was just awesome but terrible to photograph in the mid day light. Met some really cool people along the Grandview Trail and was asked many times to take someone’s photograph with the view in the background.

We did several small hikes along the way, hiked a ˝ mile here and a mile there and they all looked down into the canyonlands below. Grandview Point and Schafer Canyon were by far the best and we loved the views from both these vantage points. The wind was whipping around pretty well with many gusts that blew our hats off and Carol almost lost her hat over the edge a few times. There seem to be many more miles of 4X4 roads here than hiking trails (most of the hiking trails are 2 miles RT or less)…I saw a red jeep on one of these 4 X 4 roads and immediately thought of Letty. I’m sure her jeep had been down some of these roads. You can see the Green River AND the Colorado River from some areas up here. We checked out the campground at Willow Flat and is seems somewhat exposed. Since we only here for the day, we scoped it out for future trips and there are a couple of trails and roads I’d be interested in doing...maybe next year?

While we were up here we also visited Dead Horse Point State Park which gives you a 360 panoramic view of Canyonlands and the Colorado River. It’s pretty spectacular and well worth the side trip. Picture taking was tricky seeing that we were here in the not so great light of mid-afternoon but it still was a real sight to behold. Dead Horse Point State park seems to have a well-maintained campground as I have found most of the state parks in Utah to be.

We drove the 100 miles back to the Needles where our camp was and Carol got the full idea of what open grazing really means. We rounded a hairpin turn and there were about 8 cows in the middle of the road, something you don't see everyday on the East coast. I blew my horn a few times and they just looked at me as if to say "what?". They finally moved off the road after Carol got a few shots of them. OK..we do have cows on the East coast but just not in the middle of the road! When we got back to camp our tents were completely blown over by the winds that day. Someone hiking on the trail near our campsite or one of the rangers must have found the Tyvek we were using as a footprint for our tents either up the road or somewhere nearby because they stuck it under a rock at our campsite. THANK YOU! The wind died down and we lit a great fire and had martinis sitting by it watching the stars come out. of course, our resident chipmunk came by looking for dinner....or maybe he wanted a martini? Wink

Today turned out to be a kind of light hiking/touristy type of day for us but that was welcomed after hiking in all the sand on Sunday and all the driving we did yesterday. We had a blast meeting all the people we did on the short trails we did and getting lots of photos.

"Eastward the dawn rose, ridge behind ridge into the morning, and vanished out of eyesight into guess; it was no more than a glimmer blending with the hem of the sky, but it spoke to them, out of the memory and old tales, of the high and distant mountains." — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of The Rings.
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Joined: 19 Jul 2004
Posts: 2285
Location: Gilbert AZ

PostPosted: 5/30/2009, 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

Sounds like a fine trip so far and you've been seeing many places you've never seen before. Smiling faces in your pics tell me you were enjoying it. Cool!
Wanderingsoul (Michelle)

Positive Thinking Is the Spark that Makes Dreams Happen~~~Unknown
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