Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day 15

Sand everywhere. On my cracked lips, in my hair, in my sleeping bag, drifted in the tent. It was a terrible thing to wake up to. After the initial moments of frustration and anger we realized it was best to just suck it up and leave Moab as soon as possible. That's exactly what we did even though it took forever to pack the tent up while trying to rid it of the sand (failed that). We drove to Arches National Park to check out the scenery. It was a little crowded but it was again breathtaking. The pictures speak for themselves.

North Window Arch. It was Big!

Turret Arch

Double Arch (North and South Windows) looks like an elephant's face to me

Just some stones at the park. I like rock towers

The Three Gossips

Another arch after which the park is named

We decided to try and leave Arches to go to Canyonlands National Park. I saw a dirt road on the map that could potentially save us a couple minutes in our commute. Wrong. It was a nasty 4x4 road with potholes as big as our tires and rock drops I'd be scared to hit on a mountain bike. Alex carefully navigated about 3 miles in before we encountered an impassable rock garden. We went back, this time uphill. We made it through, only bottoming out a handful of times. It was pretty out of hand but we were lucky to get away unscathed.
The road at its smooth beginning. I promise it got way worse.

Lunch in the visitor center parking lot revitalized our adventurous spirits and we continued to Canyonlands. Again, the pictures say it all. More panoramic views and tremendous formations than one can absorb in the moments spent there.
I look down at a road to the base of the canyon. Intense switchbacks. I couldn't convince Alex to go for it this time!

Grand View Point

The lower canyon rim

We left the park to travel as far away form Moab as possible, Southwest through Capitol Reef National Park, not as famous but equally as impressive. The landscapes of all central/southern Utah were undescribable.
Capitol Reef National Park's layered sandstone color palette.

It was warm as a witch's teet

More sandstone cliffs in the Reef

We made it to Dixie National Forest before nightfall where we found a wonderful campground. We set up the tent in the surrounding evergreen forest. The remnants of Moab were not forgotten, and it was another slightly sandy slumber. We built a fire from the dried pine needles and dead wood from a past forest fire through the area. Camping without fires makes for a relatively lonely, boring night. Alex and I stayed up and talked politics, economics, social theory, and PSSC prospects. We were back at home in the wooded mountains again!
A view from our campsite

Our tent nestled among the forest, finally.

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