Christian Kemp's USA travelogs

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After a somewhat uncomfortable night (the usual caveat: without air conditioning, it is too hot; and with air conditioning, it is too noisy), we set off for some touring through Canyonlands National Park.

Canyonlands is divided into three sections: Islands in the Sky, The Maze and The Needles. Today, we would be touring the first, the two others requiring too much of a drive to fit into our schedule.

Shafer Trail road descending below the rim in Canyonlands National Park Our first stop was at Shafer Canyon Overlook, seeing Shafer Trail road descent into the canyon and becoming the spectacular White Rim Road that takes multiple days to travel and is definitely on my list for a future trip. Unfortunately, the views were somewhat spoiled by the grey sky and the particular noisiness of the French tourists present. I don't really get it why this particular species has to exclaim their awe of the beauty of it all at the top of their longs, or worse, sing...

Our next stop was Mesa Arch, a 1/2 mile loop that lead us a stone arch overlooking the canyon rim. Once again, photographic opportunities were spoiled by a haze hanging in the canyon (which is normal, considering the many miles of distance that you actually oversee) and a couple of Swiss tourists who absolutely had to deposit their daypacks right in front of the arch, and weren't about to get up and move them even though it was plain to see that I would rather have taken my photographs without them... Well, I guess I'm too much of a nice person, because I didn't even complain; just did the best I could do: move on.

Our next stops were at Candlestick Tower Overlook, Buck Canyon Overlook, Orange Cliffs Overlook, Grand View Point and Green River Overlook. From most of these, one could see the 100-mile White Rim Road, which certainly affords better views. From above, it is impressive, but largely ruined by the haze; at least on that particular August morning.

Figuring that there wasn't much we could do at Canyonlands given the weather, available time, and gear (2WD); we chose instead to return to Arches National Park to visit the sights we had missed the previous day.

The right side of "Park Avenue" in Arches National Park When we arrived at Park Ave, the weather had improved; and I was able to photograph the Courthouse Towers against a mostly blue backdrop.

The Windows Section can be seen from a large distance, but it was so windy that it was difficult to keep myself straight, much less the camera. Strangely enough, once we were closer to the rocks and arches, the winds had ceased.

The first hike was to Balanced Rock, a 128 feet natural sculpture of two different stone types perched one on top of the other. A short 0.2mi leads around the rock and affords pictures from many different perspectives.

A short drive west, the different arches forming Windows Section can be seen. We hiked to most of these, but details are fairly blurry. A distinct memory is that of the crowds spending time just below the arches; ruining photographic opportunities for the rest. Quite why all these children and adults have to scramble up the borders of the arches is beyond me - can't these people just go to Disney, or some other theme park?

Written October 12th 2002 in Luxembourg.

Motel/Hotel Accommodation: Sleep Inn (Moab, UT): $80.33 plus 12.25% tax