Canyonlands is far from a misnomer, truly a majestic land from an era long past when giants carved the land, each trying to outdo each other creating landscapes more majestic and mind boggling than what we’d seen the day before.  Its sheer depth and vastness seems a trick of the eye, threatening to spill out of your minds’ cup as you try to relax your gaze and drink it all in.  But forgive my babbling.

We were jacked as we drove north for Canyonlands.  Maybe I was a still a little under the weather, but the professional tour guide promised it was better than Arches, so he had a lot to deliver.

The first overlook we got to in Canyonlands
The first overlook we got to in Canyonlands

It’s not far from Moab at all, maybe 60 miles, or that might be leaving Arches.  We took the 191N, then the 313W towards island in the sky.  It’s a calm ride, shame we didn’t have time to see dead horse point state park which looked awesome, but we finally get to the good area of the park and it is drop dead gorgeous.

Red cliffs, with white tips at the top
Red cliffs, with white tips at the top

They have really accessible overlooks checking out the green river on the west side, and after some time there we went to the grand overlook which is on the colorado river side, the grand view overlook.  But man it was fantastic, mountains in the background, miles and miles of rustic canyons, monuments, rock totems which stand like mini skyscrapers, abandoned by all their support and friends they once had.  To me the vista somewhat looked like a giant alien hand print as seen in the photo above, maybe you agree?

It’s a fantastic sight seeing millions of years worth of rock etchings, different patterns emerging over time from different sediments, erosion, and the layering of the rock itself.  Check it out if you can.  But as the sun was setting, I read my book for a bit over this alien world as Marelise hiked the ridge for thirty minutes.

-K

We could see the La Sal mountains from almost anywhere in Moab, Arches and Canyonlands
We could see the La Sal mountains from almost anywhere in Moab, Arches and Canyonlands

I did two little walking trails, the first one Aztec Buttes, at the southern side of Island in the Sky. At first it looks like a developed trail through the rock and grass, but pretty soon it’s just sand and huge rocky hills, so they had piles of cairn stones to follow. By that time of the afternoon most of the heat was gone, so it was a pleasant walk, then a nice climb up the last little bit to a spot on the highest rocky summit that looks out over the Island…
Kiernan sat down to read at the Grand View Overlook trailhead, where the trail runs all along the rim of the Canyon for a mile before you have to turn back. We got there just as the sun was setting, so I had a wonderful view of the red cliffs, bathed in more red light. The tops of the canyon walls look like they’ve been bleached, so you get a mushroom effect (the tall stalky kind of mushrooms). It was the best way to wind down the day 🙂

-M

Hiking up the Aztec Butte trail in Canyonlands, the trail is marked by little piles of cairn stones.
Hiking up the Aztec Butte trail in Canyonlands, the trail is marked by little piles of cairn stones.
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