Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Utah: Part II

Oops. Another hiatus- things certainly do stay busy...

As I left off Jenny and I were driving from Capitol Reef National Park to the Needles District in Canyonlands National Park across massive Lake Powell and then through beautiful (ahem) Blanding, UT. We arrived in Canyonlands in the mid-afternoon, and we were fortunately able to grab a campsite in the car camping campground in Canyonlands. From here we decided to stay in the camp and then do long day hikes during the day because of the cold and windy weather. That afternoon we did my favorite hike of the trip, a 24-mile loop out to the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers and then back. Definitely some of the best vistas on the whole trip...



We got our first view of the landscape on the hike out to the Confluence, and then we made it to the Confluence Overlook, 1300 feet above the two rivers, where the river that defines the West is born. Notice the very different sediment loads between the Green River (left) and the silty Colorado River (right). On a side note, this is also where my new favorite explorer, John Wesley Powell, ascended the bluffs to view the birth of the mighty Colorado.



After the Confluence we looped south through the Canyon of the Giants. It certainly was aptly named because we did feel very Lilliputian...



After reaching the south end of the Canyon we climbed up and over a ridge and then headed back north in another canyon on the hardest 4x4 drive road in Utah and then back to our camp for the night. Whew- 24 miles in 7 hours!

Wednesday we woke up early for a huge loop through the southern portion of the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The day consisted of hiking through narrow canyons and then up ladders and stairs over ridges into neighboring canyons, all while hiking around the area's namesake, the Needles. Highlights include the massive, secluded, double-arch, Druid Arch, climbing ladders up and over canyons, and looking down into canyons...





And of course, the Needles themselves...




After a late arrival back at camp, we used some spare pallets lying around for a fire, went to bed early, then woke up and headed to Arches...

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