The gang does Utah

The La Sal Mountains lie about 20 miles ESE from Moab valley, rising around 13,000 ft above sea level. Stillness and wonder accompanied us as we took in the snowcapped background to Moab’s rusted canyons. This stillness would become the principal realization of our stay in Moab. The Colorado river turned and wagged back and forth through the canyons, and provided our introduction into the heart of the desert as we cruised alongside it on a state highway toward our first hike of the stay in Utah.

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Along the drive, we passed Wall St, a name appropriate for the large slabs of stone that lay beside the Colorado and rose from the earth to reach heights well over 400 feet. Nearby, petroglyphs were visible on part of the wall about 30 feet from the ground.

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How can you look at those figures and not believe in aliens!!!!

Corona Arch is situated over a mile from its trailhead. It was a great way to break into the canyonlands and we brought Charley for the walk. There are lots of dog friendly hikes outside the national parks (Arches and Canyonlands), where they aren’t allowed on the trails. For not too much effort, we were rewarded with silence and peace on the route and Corona Arch was waiting patiently at the end, leaning off the side of some slickrock and bathing in the sun. Charley seemed to be digging our new adventure spot, too.

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Corona and Bowtie Arch hike. A short drive on Potash Rd, across the Colorado from Moab and the Dept of Energy’s UMTRA Project for uranium mill tailings disposal (More on UMTRA).

After a quick bite at Eklecticafe (highly recommend!!) on the main strip of Moab, we set out northbound on SR-191 about 10 miles down the road, took a left toward the canyonlands on SR-313, and disappeared upwards as we ascended into the high desert. Dead Horse Point State Park sits on a mesa high above the Colorado River, and is surrounded by canyons and monoliths resembling giant stone gods. We were greeted, surprisingly to us and to it, by a bobcat or mountain lion cub casually trotting up the road away from us. As it grew aware of our presence, it hopped off the road, under a Juniper tree, and stayed there until we were far out of site. We grabbed a map at the visitors center, head down to the southernmost point of the park, Dead Horse Point, and parked. Taking the loop around the rim of the canyon, we again found ourselves in an abundance of peace and quiet, the occasional gust of wind our only company. The views were spectacular, and we took advantage of all of the spur trails leading out to vistas of the distant Sierra La Sal and the canyonlands that seemed to stretch forever in every direction. It was during this time we realized Charley’s horrible fear of heights, eclipsing both mine and Jamie’s. A not-so-subtle whine kept us informed of when things were getting a bit too hairy.

We stayed for a sunset that was well-worth the stiffening chill up on the high desert. It turned out to be a good decision.

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Dead Horse Point State Park. A real gem that seems to get overlooked a bit with Canyonlands around the corner and Arches down the street. About a 45 minute drive from Moab Valley. Make sure to have the car gassed up! Not a good place to run out. 

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