Published: May 20th 2012May 20th 2012
Tuesday, May 8th
It is 66 degrees this morning at 10:30 with mostly blue skies. Starting mileage is 25205 from Wind Whistle BLM campground.
I am going to cover this huge area briefly as my verbal descriptions of these lands, created by upheavals of multiple layers of sandstone, once a gigantic seabed, and then carved and shaped by wind, water, and gravity, cannot do them justice. These flat [with thousands] of layers of sedimentary rock have been cut into hundreds and hundreds of canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches, and spires.
Five National Parks can be found in Southern Utah, an additional 6 parks are National Monuments, 9 million acres are National Forests, and lastly, 23 million acres are managed by the Bureau of Land Management [42% of Utah’s land]. Obviously we had a lot to see and do in this region of Southern Utah. The best way to find places to camp is to use the BLM maps. We got ours in Monticello at a regional office, since the campgrounds are not shown on standard maps from AAA.
We drove back on the BLM road to the highway, seeing the antelope in about the
same area as the day before and then turned left to continue up highway 191. If you ever “saw/made” animal or other figures out of cloud formations, then this is the land for you! Valerie and I named all kinds of rock formations—lions, camels, people, dogs, you name it, we probably saw it. The first “major” formation alongside the road was Wilson’s arch. It is really a nicely formed arch that could be seen without leaving the car.
Drove through the town of Moab which sits in a valley right on the Colorado River and was surprised at ALL THE PEOPLE. This town sits 5-10 miles from the entrance roads to The Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and the Colorado River Scenic byway. The entrance roads to the two National Parks sit virtually across the highway from one another. Bikers both on motorcycles, and dirt bikes, ATV’ers, people with 4 wheel drive, campers, hikers, river runners, etc. were all out and about. A significant number of roads and trails are available in the parks for hiking and off road exploration and they were certainly being used.
By the time, mid-afternoon, that we got to the Dead Horse Point
State Park on the road just outside of the Canyonlands National Park, it was full. We continued on into the park, and signs said that the only very small campground inside the park was full. However, we lucked out, and found a spot open at Willow Flat. It was a nice campground with a terrific view; we ignored the swarms of flying gnats as best we could. Marked our spot with the fee ticket-stub attached to the campsite post and our neon cone and then went exploring.
Our first stop was near the campground: Green River Overlook. Then we drove 5 miles out to the end of the road at Whale Rock and Upheaval dome. Drove back to our campsite and settled in for the evening.
Wednesday, May 9th
Willow Flat Campground in Canyonlands National Park. 62 degrees and blue sky at 9:30. Mileage this morning is 25,308
We drove out along a 6 mile stretch of the mesa top and stopped at a couple of overlooks ending the drive at the aptly named Grand View Point Overlook. We then drove back the park road and went to the visitor’s center, which seems to now
be mostly a store for postcards, books, maps, puzzles, and other related park items.
We drove out of the park through the open range lands with about 50 head of cattle and calves and back into the town of Moab to see if Valerie’s new driver’s license was at the Post Office. Wendell had mailed it to her general delivery as it hadn’t arrived before we left home. Not in yet. Purchased $50 worth of gas at the City Market Grocery store as can’t run too low in the gas tank or the generator won’t run.
There are more photos below