Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Utah Road Trip, Part 2

Here is a picture looking out the "front yard" of our campsite near Moab.

We headed south from Moab towards the southern entrance of Canyonlands National Park. I was thinking Canyonlands would be a step down from Arches, but the scenery began its buildup soon after entering the park.

We then got recommendations at the visitor's center for hikes and chose one from Elephant Hill Trailhead, which we reached after driving a while on a gravel road. The hike was through varied terrain in the Needles area, and about 4 or 5 miles in length. Temperature was about 80 with a little wind, so very pleasant. In fact, the combination of outstanding scenery and interesting trail made me think this hike was about as good as it gets. It inspired a blog post I will write soon on my top ten hikes (this one makes the list, and ranks right up with Yosemite hikes).

Here is a photo of a very narrow canyon we hiked through.

More photos of needles and canyons.

We continued on driving through Monticello (pleasant, high altitude town in a green setting) and Blanding before turning east and driving through Natural Bridges National Monument. I have to say the outstanding scenery was unrelenting the entire drive today. Even outside the parks on the normal highway the views and colors were interesting and remarkable.

This picture is after crossing the Colorado River/Lake Powell at the end of the day.

We drove on to Hanksville to get some elevation and cooler temperatures for our camp (it was 90's near Lake Powell), arriving before dark around 8:00 or 8:30. We quickly set up our tent, checked the internet, read for a while, and then early to bed.

Next stop Capitol Reef National Park, some hiking trail misadventures, and scenic Highway 12.

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