Canyonlands: Islands in the Sky

I probably shouldn’t have tried to fit Arches AND Canyonlands into one trip. That is way too much southern Utah beauty to pack into a two day camping trip, but to the dismay of many past travel companions I am a “Type A” vacationer. Sometimes this motivation to cover everything in a very short amount of time has the side effects of exaustion, burn out, and lack of relaxation, which some people actually WANT when the go on a vacation. Go figure. I wish I could transfer this quality to other areas of my life…I would be a much more productive person if that were the case.

Anyway, because of my over planing, we were only able to fit in a small taste of the park. In the evening we hit Mesa arch and some scenic views of the sunset and the next day we hiked whale rock. Even though our time in the park was short, we experienced so many breathtaking views that a trip to the needles (another area of the park) is in order for our next southern Utah road trip. Here are some photos.


Arches National Park

Today I was pulled over and given my first ticket by a very grumpy police woman (why was she so grouchy? She wasn’t the one getting a ticket!) It was a really traumatic experience, made more awful by the fact that I had left my wallet at home (whoops, no license!) and the pregnancy hormones were raging something fierce today, which resulted in a humiliating bawl-fest and once the flood gates were opened nothing could stop the barrage of tears, not even an early morning bowl of rocky road ice cream I might have eaten to calm myself.  I decided I would cheer myself up by blogging about one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. Arches National Park is amazing! It’s actually embarrassing how long I lived in Utah before I planned a visit. The pictures I had seen of this place, no matter how beautiful, did not do it justice. There is something about being there and getting the whole 360 degree experience. Not only are there arches and massive, red rock formations, but also contrasting green rock, flat desert, and snow capped mountains off in the distance.

Arches ViewArchesAfter we found a place to set up camp, we headed to the park for an evening hike to delicate arch. My photography teacher had warned me that it would be next to impossible to get a good picture of the landmark because there are constantly tourists posing in front of it. He was absolutely correct, but it didn’t bother me! Being one of about…a billion amateur photographers, I’m pretty sure I can’t produce a picture of this landscape that someone else hasn’t already done better, so I just relaxed and enjoyed the view.

Delicate ArchThe highlight of the trip was the Devil’s Garden hike. There are 8 arches along the trail and some really unique scenery.

Devil's Garden HikeDevil's Garden Hike 2Devil's Garden Hike 4One of the arches along the trail is Double O arch. It is a massive arch and there were people climbing on top of it (yikes!) We climbed up to eat lunch with a view, but my intense fear of heights prevented me from climbing over the arch.

Double O ArchDouble O Arch 2Devil's Garden Hike 3Double O Arch 3We also saw Landscape arch on the hike, which to me looks more delicate than delicate arch. Apparently, a few big pieces of it have fallen off so the trail no longer goes underneath it. We saw a bunch of hikers bypass the fence and explore the underside. Not this girl! I admired it from a safe distance. I mean…look how thin it looks on that one side.

Landscape ArchThere are plenty of other opportunities for climbing around along the trail. Notice how none of these pictures are of me. It might have something to do with the whole heights thing.

Arches 3Arches 4Arches 5Arches 6We headed back to our campsite at Big Bend campground (just outside of Moab, on the Colorado river), DEVOURED some tin foil dinners, and got some rest before our next adventure in…Canyonlands.

Big Bend CampgroundBig Bend Campground 2Big Bend Campground 3