It's all too much for me! 10/23 - 10/24/14
I can tell you a few facts up front. Jimmy and I haven't been to Canyonlands National Park before, altho we've visited many of Utah's spectacular parks. Canyonlands is BIG -- 527 square miles! It's separated into three sections by the Green and Colorado rivers. Island in the Sky is reached from Moab. The Maze is remote and pretty inaccessible. And the Needles in the southeast corner can be reached from Monticello, where we're camped at Mt. View RV Park. Canyonlands Visitor Center is 50 miles away from Monticello ... and we planned just one day to explore, tour, and experience this huge park! Whew! Man, we did the best we could! The scenery, both inside and outside the park, is so remarkable, so diverse and colossal, that it's hard to choose the best of the best of the MANY pictures we took
First, as were driving to Canyonlands, we came to Newspaper Rock, a State Historic Monument, at around 9:30am. Talk about fascinating -- this rock panel is covered in hundreds and hundreds of figures! We timed it right, too, as the rising sun would soon make viewing or taking pics of this petroglyph panel impossible. The initial carvings date from 2,000 years ago and continued into this century. Some guy named Gonzales carved his initials and date into the rock in 1954 (upper left). The reason for the large concentration of the petroglyphs is not known. Doodles? Messages? Successful hunt? Art? Spiritual? "I was here?"
From the far right side of the panel.
After this stop, we continued driving, and gawking, and taking pictures, full of wonder, and flabbergasted with everything we were seeing in the entire region.
From afar, Jimmy thought this red sandstone formation looked like jagged teeth. (We couldn't get any closer to it, either.) Canyonlands was named for colorful spires like these.
These next pictures were taken on the Slickrock Foot Trail. Slickrock is a general term for any bare rock surface, and dominates much of the Canyonlands landscape. It's pretty easy to walk on, hopping from rock to rock, as long as it's dry, and it was, despite flooding thunderstorms a few days earlier. We hiked to Viewpoint 1, which offered an expansive panorama of this crazy canyon country: canyons, buttes, mesas, and needles. Giant mounds of rock piled one atop another, all helter-skelter (and reminding one of huge cow floppers), appeared to be the rule here. And the toadstools. So cool-looking! Because we wanted to see as much of Needles as possible, we skipped hiking the entire trail.
I have lots more to share, but decided to space it out into three posts. Remember, I'm on overwhelm here! Catch you tomorrow with the next installment of Canyonlands.