Thursday, April 20, 2017

Part the Last: Canyonlands

While Arches is about natural stone formations, some quite large, they are on a scale that humans can at least relate to.  Canyonlands is about landscape on the macro scale.  The canyons of the name were carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers, and they rival the Grand Canyon for sheer multi-level vastness.

We only visited one section of the enormous park, and were conscious of giving it short shrift.  It was the tradeoff for having taken scenic route 12 instead of a faster route, and spending a day and a half in Arches.  The above photo was taken from the Grand View lookout on the Islands in the Sky mesa. There were three other major sections of the park we didn't see at all.

We took a short hike out to see Upheaval Dome.   It's a crater-like feature whose origin has been hotly debated by geologists- the two leading theories are an uplifted salt dome, or an impact crater from a meteorite strike.  The meteorite theory is currently ascendant.

The day was beautiful and we cruised around the park with the top down on the convertible as we drove from point to point.   We hiked out to Murphy Point.  The trail led through grassland, quite unlike anything else we'd seen in the area.  And thin and tough as it was, you could see why cattle were grazed there (and still are- we passed a number of them, and had to let them cross the road ahead of us at one point).

As we approached the rim, the grassland suddenly stopped and the land turned into desert again.

The views were staggering.
Here's the Green River canyon seen from Murphy's Point.
In the far distance we could see the La Sal mountains (the name dates back to the Spanish and means 'salt').  We sadly left the park as the sun was going down.

And that was the trip- we drove back through the Rocky Mountains to Denver, with a stop in Vail for lunch (it was very posh, and I had to take a photo of the ski slope for a ski-obsessed coworker).   We walked around and had dinner in Denver and then flew home the next morning.   Which was blessedly on time and uneventful.  There was a blizzard predicted in Boston for the next day so I wound up stopping by my office for my work computer so I wouldn't have to go in the next day.  And then the day after *that* my office didn't have power (kind of a pity we hadn't just stayed and seen more West for a couple of days).  But it all worked out.

And- since I know you're wondering- I took a pair of socks with me on the trip, and they still aren't done!  (It has been a busy few weeks, and crafting time has been at a premium.)  But I'll show you various things-in-progress Real Soon Now.

And- the last slideshow:

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