Thursday, November 5, 2015

Canyonlands NP Is COOL!

Here We Go! Canyonlands National Park!
Hi Kids! We sure miss you already. Dad told me to quit whining and being a weanie, he's worried I won't travel much, especially after the new granddaughter arrives. Hmmmm.  A good question, I admit.  We know why he is really worried, as you know, he only knows how to make pancakes. I am the chief chuck wagon chef.

We weren't sure what to expect at Canyonlands National Park.  If I had to sum it up, I would say: It's like a smaller version of the Grand Canyon, but it's much more than that.  Certainly worth the effort, and I am really glad we were able to include it in this trip.  You must go see it.

I told Dad, you can only take a photo if there is one of us IN IT.
The Utah National Parks have that surreal, prehistoric feel that elevates the whole experience into something really special.  I will not even attempt to describe it to you, I don't think it's possible.  We often feel as if we are playing inside of an episode of "The Flintstones".  It's amazing. Huge, colorful slickrock hills and canyons and red sand with the sagebrush and juniper growing where it can manage to.  Just beautiful, and so hostile.

The weather app on my phone told us that our unseasonably beautiful weather was not going to last, so inevitably our thoughts were turning to trying to maximize our hiking opportunities and planning accordingly.  The National Parks system has done an outstanding job of making most of the most stunning highlights of the parks accessible by car and only a short to moderate hike.  This was a blessing this trip as we were trying to cover a lot of ground while the sun was shining. The weather is usually great here, but the winters are not to be trifled with.  Powerful wind storms with rain and snow threatening kept us thinking of being efficient.

Yes, he really is standing on the edge of infinity... It was hair-raising
One of the standout features that will remain with me about Canyonlands (not in small part due to my uneasiness with heights) was the "Rim Trail" that is accessed from the "Grand View Overlook".  Absolutely stunning as you stroll, with NO guardrails, along the edge of a enormous precipice into eternity.  It was exciting, and scary and awe inspiring.  I shudder to think of anyone bringing small children or pets (pets are prohibited) because you are literally steps from certain death.  On this particular day, as foul weather was on it's way, the wind was gusting mightily.  It was scary to even be near the edge with the wind enticing you to fall over the edge. I have all kinds of demons inside of me, pulling me toward the edge, beckoning me to infinity.

Beautiful sites, but small, no hookups of any kind.
We continued to tour the park with an eye on the sky, ever thankful that we were afforded the good weather we have enjoyed so far.  We knew we were on borrowed time.  Our Lance camper has been performing flawlessly, keeping us fed, comfortable and clean while we played in this giant, wild playground.  There are a few very small campgrounds, but no hookups, not even water to be had.  It's strictly dry-camping and we know that we were some of the most comfortable people there.  We watched one poor campers tent flapping from the one brave remaining tent stake like a flag in the wind as we played "Farkle" and sipped our wine at our cozy dining table. The sites are all extremely small, not intended for much more than a vehicle, and not many can accommodate more than that.

Tomorrow we hit Arches National Park!

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