Arches & Canyonlands

Today was a full day of touring, but we did not have to drive. We got two half-day tours from Tag-A-Long Tours out of Moab. We spent the morning in Arches National Park and the afternoon in Canyonlands.

Wow! Both of these parks are spectacular. Canyonlands is not really doable except in a 4-wheel drive vehicle and once we were on the road, I can see why that is. Some of the roads wash out frequently when it rains, and fortunately it does not rain that often.

Our trip to Arches started off with a one mile walk from Park View down into the canyon. The cool thing about having a guide is that the car just magically appeared on the other side of the trail for us to get back in. The walk was all downhill and would have been very easy except for a few short steep parts. It was definitely not strenuous by any means. And it was a cool morning, so we got to enjoy that as well. Oh, and did I mention that we never saw anyone else on the trail while we were down there? Sweet!

We visited the Windows area of Arches and then headed out of the park on a back road where 4-wheel drive was “recommended”. This was a joke because I don’t think it would have been too wise to take any passenger car there. We made another stop at what our guide dubbed “Cowboy plop rocks”. John and Sarah (the guide) went for a closer look and saw some inscriptions made in the 1940s by cowboys. Pretty cool. I got to see the photos.

We made one final stop in Arches to look at some dinosaur tracks. These were cool too, but they may only come out as “dents” in the photos.

We did Canyonlands National Park in the afternoon. Whereas John and I were the sole people on the Arches tour, we actually had five people excluding our guide Sarah on the Canyonlands tour. It took a bit longer to get everyone in and out of the Excursion, and we ended up taking an extra 45 minutes longer than the advertised time. Oh darn - more time to look at the beauty!

I enjoyed the Canyonlands tour more than Arches, mostly because it was all 4-wheel drive stuff that we could not have done without the right car. The scenery was really spectacular. We even got to see “Thelma and Louise Point”, which is the location where they drove off the cliff in the movie. The site was renamed after the movie was a success.

Other than some absolutely spectacular scenery, which we hope to put on the web site soon, we also got to touch and see some real dinosaur bones. Sarah told us that these came from an animal the size of a bus. One prominent bone is believed to be the femur of the animal. Because the find was not deemed “significant”, the bones remain in the park for visitors who know about them (there were no signs) to look at and touch them. Sarah was especially stoked about this, since the rock apparently fell and exposed itself only four years ago.

We were all quite tired by the time we got back to the hotel, and we spent the evening relaxing and winding down.

No Prius sightings today, but that’s really unfair, since a Prius could not even attempt to traverse the roads we traveled today.

Tomorrow we will probably go back to Arches in the morning to take in a couple of the sights we missed in the tour, like Delicate Arch and possibly Landscape Arch. Then we plan to go to Torrey and possibly do Capitol Reef on Friday.

The trip is really a lot of fun, but it is winding down. We both absolutely must be back in town by Tuesday evening for a prior commitment.

© Karen Bell 2012