Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Saturday, June 14, 2008

June 13 - Canyonlands and Natural Bridges

June 13 - Canyonlands National Park to Hanksville, UT

No bad luck today on a Friday the 13th. Clear, sunny, about 75F degrees most of the day with only a bit of low 80s. Sure can tell the difference in dry climate in the west as we went through a lot of water and iced tea today, much more than in New England at the same temps. No wonder all the warning signs at trailheads say to take a gallon of water a person per day.

From Moab we went north to Canyonlands National Park and glad we did. I figured you seen one canyon you seen them all. Not! This is a wild, unforgiving land and reading the information signs on how the early ranchers survived was interesting. The Indians colonized and abandoned this land many times over thousands of years as the climate changed. We almost had this park to ourselves as most people go over to Arches and never see Canyonlands. We hiked some of the trails around Shafer Canyon Viewpoint and Buck Canyon overlook. From Shafer you could see part of a 110 mile jeep trail that our truck camper friends who Jeep must live for.

We also listened to a Ranger at the Green River overlook talk about how the canyons were formed and why they are still eroding. You know, when you don't have to learn this stuff for tests, it's pretty interesting.

Backtracked through Moab to dump the tanks and take on a bit of water. Then south from Moab headed down Route 191 again, a scenic byway in Utah. Towns are very few and very far between on 191 so decided to diesel up. $5.09 a gallon in Blanding, UT but they do have to get it there and it really is the middle of just about nowhere. Near Blanding we cut over onto Route 95, again a scenic byway and went to Natural
Bridges National Monument. This is a very small park and showcases three rock Bridges carved out by river activity. I skipped going down to the one where you had to climb down ladders at three different levels. Just about got run over by an 82 year old woman hiking along - you go girl! Made it to the other two and one of them was a painful hike but worth it.

Unfortunately both the campground for Natural Bridges and the BLM site nearby were full. We tried to talk the ranger into just letting us park but he said no as the BLM site was being harmed with too many people. So on we went north, through miles and miles of incredible bright red rock canyons in Glen Canyon. Every time you turned a corner the landscape changed and looked just like all those western movies we watched as kids.

This is open stock range land but never saw any cattle, only a lot of jackrabbits. We crossed the Dirty Devil River right where it and the Colorado River empty into Lake Powell. Got passed a lot by pickups hauling Skidoos and pulling huge power boats headed for the lake.

Sort of dumb not to just stop somewhere on open range land for the night but if you haven't been out west, it's hard to explain the feeling of being alone on the range. We're used to forests and trees and a more closed in feeling. Decided to come up to Hanksville, UT closer to Capital Reef National Park which we are going to tour
tomorrow. There are a lot of petroglyphs there, plus more info on geology and early man in this part of the west. $10 campground with clean hot showers next to a restaurant where Joe had a really good broiled trout for supper.

Tomorrow - on to Capital Reef and towards Bryce.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anne, I'm loving your travelogue and am green with envy - now do you see why we want to retire to Utah? To me the West is God's own country. Looking forward to your opinion of the Grand Canyon. IMHO the North Rim is much nicer than the South.