9/18/13

Canyonlands National Park

After visiting the quilt shop yesterday, we came back to the trailer, had some lunch, and relaxed for a bit. The afternoon was still young, and so we decided to drive to the visitor's center at Canyonlands to see if we could replace Mike's lost hat. No dice on the hat, but we were quickly taken in by the splendor of the park and ended up taking the drive out to Grand View Overlook.


It is humbling to stand at the edge of these vast canyons, to gaze at their expanse and their depth, and to consider how old everything is. 


From the rim, one can see only segments of the Green River and the Colorado River, which flow together at the heart of the park. Everywhere you look, the water's work, canyon mazes, unbroken scarps, and sandstone pillars can be seen.

The paths of the merging rivers divide the park into three districts. We visited the high mesa known as the Island in the Sky. It rises as a headland 2,000 feet above the confluence of the two rivers. To the south is the area known as The Needles where one can see red and white-banded pinnacles towering 400 feet over the sheer-walled valleys. Finally, there is The Maze, a remote region of pristine solitude.

Regardless of where one stands, on every side, the ground drops in great stairsteps. Flat mesas fall off abruptly in rock walls on one side, and sheer drops on the other. In contrast to the V-shaped canyon one sees while visiting the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Canyonlands is characterized by its sharp drop-offs.

Before even arriving at the park's entrance, the drive is spectacular. We stopped off to view one formation, and I was intrigued by the texture of the rock.


Directly across from the visitor's center, one can stand literally at the edge of the cliff and look into Schafer Canyon. The road you see (the higher road) is the Schafer Canyon Loop we drove when we visited back in 2006. We considered staying another day and driving the road again, but then decided to move on.


This next image was taken standing in the same place, but looking to the right.


My camera has the capacity to take panoramic shots. I've never actually tried posting a panorama, and so I'm hoping you'll be able to see this. The canyon is so vast, that it is impossible to capture its majesty in a single frame. So here you go. I hope this gives you some idea of what we were seeing.


Contrast the panoramic image with the little snippets I was able to get in a single frame.



Before arriving at the end of the line at Grand View Overlook, we came to the Mesa Arch Trailhead. While we were not wanting to do any hiking, we did take the short trail out to see the Arch. Next to the Three Gossips, this is my second favorite rock formation in any national park. The arch itself is beautiful.


As you approach the edge, you can look out into the canyon and see the washer woman.


This is best photographed in the morning, when the contrast makes her more visible. We were there in the afternoon, and so it's a little harder to make her out. If you look to the upper middle part of the image above, you can barely make out two pinnacles. The one on the left is the washer woman. I zoomed in on her to give you a better look in the image below. Do you see her? She appears to be scrubbing clothes on a washboard.


As we left the trailhead, we spied this crow calling out from a tree. There were some very fat crows hanging around looking for handouts.


And after that, we headed back to the trailer for the remainder of the day. 

Today, we are moving on to Capitol Reef National Park and the Grand Staircase Escalante. We haven't yet decided whether to stay in the park or move on to the little town of Escalante. In looking over my literature, there is the possibility of seeing some slot canyons if we take an excursion from Escalante. I've been wanting to see the slot canyons for years, and so this might be an opportunity. On the other hand, Capitol Reef is one of Mike's favorite parks, and there is a very nice campground right inside the park. We visited the park back in 2006 and did quite a bit of hiking. As I write this, I suspect we will simply drive through and continue onto Escalante. 

It is early, and there is much to do to get on our way, so I will end there.

19 comments from clever and witty friends:

Sooli said...

Such spectacular scenery, it would be hard to take a bad photo but your panoramic photo was beautiful and it worked perfectly. Thanks for sharing! I'm in Australia so its lovely to see some of the scenery from the US!

LynCC said...

You got some fantastic pictures! What a gorgeous day for the Canyonlands. Hopefully it'll be that nice for the German kids in a couple weeks. (We're hosting a couple in our home next week - a group is coming to our town for a month, but they'll be traveling for 12 days around Moab, Canyonlands, etc.) Excited for them after seeing your pics!

Little Quilt Shop said...

That is amazing!! ready for a road trip here!!

Mary said...

WOW Your pictures are beautiful. What amazing views.

Jackie Mc Guinness said...

Gorgeous photos of a spectacular part of the world!

WoolenSails said...

The colors of the rocks are stunning, can only imagine what it is like standing there in person.

Debbie

Pattilou said...

Canyonlands was where we took many visitors. It is simply gorgeous with a fine dusting of snow in the winter. Your shots are spectacular! We spent quite a bit of time when our kiddies were littler in the Capital Reef. Before the freeway that was the way from Moab to my home town of Richfield. My mother has roots in Wayne County. Just a spot of home!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I am enjoying all your photos and trip adventures - other than the 'almost' flood-in. What a trip!

Quilting Babcia said...

Simply wow! I hope to see all this one day!

Diane Wild said...

Beautiful and awesome.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I don't think I could drive on those roads! They go right to the edge.

Tami C said...

I've heard the names of these rock formations and places, but I had never seen them before! You pictures are really beautiful and the scenery is spectacular! Thank you for sharing!

quiltzyx said...

Another amazing photo day! The panoramic shot looks terrific when you click to get the larger image. I love all the colors in these too & such great names too.

Thanks again for taking us all along!

Meg said...

Love your photos. Certainly makes me want to go there someday.

Also enjoyed seeing the last quilt shop you visited. I never tired of see fabric or quilt shops.

Glad to hear that things are now going as planned on your trip! Looking forward to some cat pics!

Meg

Patrica said...

Love the photos thanks so much makes me feel as if I'm there right along with you. Glad you're seeing some sun.

Brown Family said...

There is so much to see out there! Beautiful pantograph shot!

Judy1522 said...

Your pictures are so beautiful. It seems like no matter what state you go to in this country there is something to see that you can't find anywhere else. I am definitely adding Utah to the list of places I want to visit.

Lyndsey said...

I love the spectacular scenery. I'm really enjoying your trip and with all your gorgeous photos it is the next best thing to being there. Thank you.

Kate said...

Gorgeous landscape. Moab is definitely going into the vacation bucket list!