Day Eight: Arches, Canyons, and Thelma & Louise

Today went much more smoothly than yesterday. Our 300 mile dash across Utah last night put us in a great position to see a lot of incredible sights today. We spent the night in Moab, which I gather by the signage as we drove through town, is mostly famous for being close to Arches National Park, which is just five miles north.

So, about Arches… several people had told me that Arches wasn’t really “all that.” Well, to us, it was “all that” and a lot more. It was our favorite experience in a National Park so far. We spent most of our day in Arches, because we wanted to see as much of it as we could. We even took several hikes without Dawn accusing me of trying to kill her. Well, maybe one time.

Seeing Crater Lake in Oregon was awe-inspiring and an incredible experience. However, once you’ve seen it and drive around the park, you’re essentially seeing the same thing from different angles. In Arches, it felt like we were constantly being exposed to something new. I took several hundred pictures inside the park, so I’ll share a few of my favorites here.

 

This is The Balanced Rock, with the following shot taken from underneath it, looking up.

IMG_0546

IMG_0554

Just in case you think they named the park “Arches,” when all that’s there is big piles of rocks, here’s a few arches, starting with Delicate Arch, which is also where we had our picnic today:

IMG_0566

I think this one is called the South Window:

IMG_0559

This is my favorite shot of the day. It’s Dawn, who is terribly afraid of heights and suffers from bouts of vertigo, celebrating standing on a rock overlooking a massive drop off.

IMG_0571

There was a huge drop off behind her. I couldn’t believe she wanted to climb up there.

I have about a million other pictures of Arches that I want to share, but this hotel’s wifi system hasn’t fed the chipmunks in a long time and it is taking about twenty minutes to load each picture. I think I will do a bonus blog over the next few days (when I get better wifi) that is mostly pictures I haven’t found room for yet.

Next, we headed up to Dead Horse Point State Park. Here’s a good tip for you if you are traveling in Utah. When you pay to get into one State Park, your receipt will get you into any other park for the next three days. That saved us $10 getting into Dead Horse today.

The name of the park comes from a legend that cowboys used to drive wild horses into this canyon, which had high rock walls on three sides, then fence off the front trapping them. Legend holds that at one point, they took the horses they wanted and left the culls behind, where they died of thirst within a few thousand feet of the Colorado River.

This is also the location where the famous ending of Thelma and Louise was shot. If you don’t want the ending of T & L spoiled, don’t click that link. There is no marker that I could find that shows where that shot occurred, but in talking to people, this is my best guess:

IMG_0594

Finally, at the end of a long day that found us traipsing around parks all over south-central Utah, we made our way to Canyonland.

 

We actually had a lot more terrific shots in both Dead Horse Point and in Canyonland, but my patience with this wifi has worn thin. I will put more shots up soon.

Tomorrow, off to a new state. Colorado? Arizona? I honestly don’t know. I will make a decision when we wake up in the morning.

Safe travels, and cheers!

Shawn

 

 

 

 

 

16 comments

  1. So glad you had fun in those parks! I think if people don’t get out and hike, that they would consider Arches to not be “all that,” but if it’s a first-time visit, it’s wild indeed. Looking forward to seeing what direction you take tomorrow! Sleep well. πŸ™‚

    Like

  2. The arches are beautiful. What a fantastic area to explore. Love the rich, geologic formations. Thanks again for a fun trip!

    Like

  3. So much lovely scenery’s in rock formation .last year when we went to grand canyon took my breath away. Can’t wait to return October next year to see it again and Malibu .

    Like

  4. I can’t imagine anyone not being blown away by Arches – I am thrilled to hear you guys enjoyed it so much! Can’t wait to see more pics … we didn’t have time to make it to Dead Horse or Canyonlands. It’s easy to lose track of time in such a gorgeous place. And yay Dawn! I share her paralyzing fear of heights, but there are places worth conquering that fear to experience. πŸ™‚

    If you head toward CO from there and end up in Grand Junction,the Colorado National Monument is pretty neat (more mind blowing landscapes and rock formations) … but who could pass up heading to the Grand Canyon πŸ™‚

    Like

  5. I was mesmerized by Arches. I absolutely loved it and I’m glad you did as well! The Grand Canyon is spectacular as well and if Dawn has never seen that, it’s a must. But there is so much to see in Colorado as well. Mesa Verde should be on the list for sure. If you want to know a great place for the best fry bread around let me know – I’ll hook you up! πŸ™‚

    Like

  6. Nature sure is something with all those cutouts. Dawn is brave to stand that close to the edge. I’ve got butterflies in my stomach. We are enjoying tagging along with the both of you. Have a fun filled day!

    Like

  7. I am so enjoying your adventures. Thank you for being so generous in sharing it with us all. Fifty years ago, Park Rangers led walks down through the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde. I’m not sure if they still do that, but if they do, I highly recommend it. It’s amazing how this group of Native Americans lived.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s