Sunday, August 23, 2015

Visit to Canyonlands

Because Canyonlands National Park is near Arches National Park, and I love Arches, I've never given Canyonlands a second thought. It's sad, really. My friend Rachael even went there on her honeymoon (didn't you, Rach?) and I still assumed it was just one of…the lesser parks. But we had a free day in Southern Utah during our family reunion, and since we had the baby and no baby backpack, we wanted to do something that was less hiking, more driving. The Canyonlands "Island in the Sky" area sounded ideal for that, so off we went!

And it was stunning, of course. I should have known it would be. When we set out it was rainy and the farthest views were obscured by cloud. It was beautiful. And then the sun came out, and that was beautiful too!
We did take the short hike to Mesa Arch, which was totally worth carrying a baby to in one's arms. As we walked along the trail, people kept saying, "Be careful!" to us, which was strange as the trail wasn't steep or dangerous-seeming at all. But the drop-off right by the arch is sudden and vast, so I suppose that's what everyone was warning us about. It was a bit alarming to stand there and look over. Abe and Seb kept Goldie well away from the edge. I could barely get them to let go of her while I took this picture. You can see Abe is sort of poised for action, ready to grab her if she moves.
That heart-stopping drop is partly what makes it so beautiful and awe-inspiring, though. To see that gorgeous, panoramic view through the arch!
We took several other short walks to overlooks. Here's the obligatory Juniper-by-a-Juniper tree shot. They are such lovely, strong, graceful trees. Just like my girl.
Look at all the pretty blue Juniper berries on the ground!
I always like these bare, polished trees too, for contrast.
Ky, standing very…straight.
Abe and Seb are such great helpers, and Abe especially took such good care of the little ones. He was more worried about them falling over the edge than even I was! He always has been a very cautious, responsible person.
I can't imagine what people thought when they first discovered this place. It is so vast and vivid and startling. How could anyone dare set off alone into those canyons?
One of my friends pointed out that this looks like a huge dinosaur footprint, and now I can't see it any other way.
What is most striking about it, to me, is how suddenly the ground drops away on those edges. Like it was cut out with a huge utility knife or something.
Theo had a grand time. (Here, his suit gets an airing after an unfortunate diaper incident.)
The river looks so brown next to the green foliage around it! Good job, EPA! (Just kidding. Different river. This one's always that color…I think.) Still beautiful.
The drive to and from our lodge was amazingly beautiful as well. Everything was so green! I was surprised. I thought it would mostly be brown and dry, in mid-August. I don't know if this year is unusually verdant, or if it's always this way, but we loved the scenery.
Canyonlands! I apologize for underestimating you. Now I would like to return someday, and explore the other areas!

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