After moving here in late November and vising twice, January and August, I have finally had a chance to get out and explore more of the area. We did go down to Bryce Canyon in August last year, but it was quite hot. Not really the right time to go to the desert. We went hiking in January but it was too much snow to get up in the canyons, so again not really the right time. This time it was a bit early for backpacking in Canyonlands, but that meant the chances of finding water would be better. Mostly this translated into cooler nights while the days were still more then tolerable. Our trip was supposed to be 4 days and 3 nights but after arriving at the park and discovering that not only was the park camping filled but most of the backcountry sites were filled as well, we had to change our trip on the fly. So we camped out at another spot the first night (outside the park) then we grabbed two spots that seemed reasonable to hike to and spend 3 days and 2 night backpacking. We definitely had some slim pickin's on the campsites. We ended up doing about 8 miles the first 2 days and about 3 to get back to the car. Still it was lots of fun in spite of the blisters. That rock is hard on the body and the gear. I had blisters and some wear on the lid of my pack after dragging it past a really tight spot in the rocks.
Canyonlands is quite amazing. The entire park is centered where the Green and Colorado Rivers meet. This meeting point divides the park up into three very distinct regions. Island in the Sky to the north, the Maze district to the west, and Needles district to the east. We explored the Needles district on this trip. The needles are spires of rock that wind, water and time have eroded around leaving spires, and lots of them. We did see some Puebloan ruins across from the trail, as well as some pictographs on the wall. Mostly we way mother nature's sculptures. It was quite interesting and amazing to walk round buttes, across mesa, and through keyholes and slots. Okay, amazing and a little scary too. I know some of these have been up for more thousands then I can think of, but a few still looked like they were about to give way at any moment. still this is an amazing place and I can't wait to explore the other districts in the park.
Labels: backpacking, Utah