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Published: September 10th 2019
Woke up early to another gorgeous day. Mornings have been in the low 60's for the past few days, then warming up to the mid 80's. There is almost 0% humidity in these parts, and were usually above 5000' above sea level, so everyone is drinking water like a camel. We're signed up for a private tour of both parks today, Aches and Canyon Land, and we arrived at Nav-Tec tours at 8:00. After meeting our guide for the day, Yancey, we took off in a Toyota Land Rover that felt like a tank. As we discovered later, it was good that it was built like a tank. Instead of heading into Arches NP through the main entrance, Yancey took us north, and entered the park via a dirt road. This quickly turned into a "technical" 4 wheel drive pathway that he stated was a back entrance to the park. Along the way, we stopped in an area of slick rock that was covered in dinosaur footprints. Very interesting area. For the next hour, we proceeded down dirt roads and rock strewn tracks to view numerous arches. The geological conditions that created these arches was completely different from the conditions just
down the highway that created Canyonlands NP. It's all about earth's upliftings, rain and erosion, and the effects of the inland sea's regression over the years, leaving vast amounts of salt that eventually collapse under the weight of the sediment above. Okay, enough with the technical. Yancey then proceeded down a vast depression known as Salt Valley, and began up the steepest, roughest, bumpiest trail I've ever seen. It was incredible that this vehicle could go where he was taking it. Diane was most pleased with this section of the ride (Not). Reaching the end of this trail, we arrived at a spectacular scenic area with a pair of arches. Great photo opportunity. After a light snack of fruit, chips and tons of water, we headed back the way we came. Even more interesting going down. Yancey then headed over, via the back entrance naturally, to Canyonland NP. He told us this was his favorite park. To say that Canyonlands is spectacular would be an understatement. Pictures could never provide the enormity of this place. While most visitors to the park would be traveling on the paved roads at the top of the many canyons, and looking down into them,
we traveled miles upon miles in the canyon bottoms, along the Colorado river, looking up at the immense cliffs and geological formations. The tracks took us up numerous climbs to the tops of Canyons, along old mining roads. At one high point, overlooking the Colorado River, we stopped at the location where they filmed the car scene in the movie "Thelma and Louise". It took two cars being launched over the cliff to get the shot, as the first one had the manequins head come off as it left the cliff. These roads were barely wide enough for our vehicle, with shear cliff on one side, and shear drop off to the valley on the other side. These drop offs were hundreds of feet, and they really got your heart going. Diane was catatonic by this time. On one of these climbs, we spotted 2 longhorn sheep on the cliff side about 100 yards away. A female and her lamb were just standing there looking at us. Great sight to see. At around 5 pm we started back, and headed down our last canyon road. Many geological formations, including one that looked like the NE Patriots logo. Finally got back
after 10 hours on the road, exhausted. Had a quick wine, and headed out for a wonderful dinner. Hit the sack as soon as we returned, and plan on sleeping in tomorrow.
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