Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

January 02, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Well 2011 was a year for the record books as far as adventures and photo opportunities.  Is it even possible that 2012 would be better?  I suppose it is possible... but I will let you be the judge.  In 2012, I had the pleasure of visiting 9 unique and special places, and it started off with a trip to Moab Utah and visits to nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.  Much like the previous year, I was out and about and travelling on the first day of 2012 and I couldn't have been happier getting out of town and enjoying the peace and quiet Mother Nature had to offer amidst the hustle and bustle of the Holidays and the craziness of living in Phoenix.

On the drive up to Moab, you go right through Monument Valley and you can't help but to stop at nearly every pull off to take shots.  One such was at Sentinel Mesa.  What was so cool about this shot was the fact that I captured a crescent moon, and the moon really popped when I converted the image to black and white.  So here it is...

Sentinel Mesa in Monument ValleySentinel Mesa in Monument Valley

Then it was on up to Moab.  Arches National Park was the first stop and we arrived well before sunrise in order to hike up to Delicate Arch.  This was a moderately strenuous 3.2 mile round trip hike with about a 500 foot elevation gain.  For much of the hike, you scramble up solid rock along a route marked with rock cairns.  There was also a bit of snow and ice on the trail.  The payoff was an amazing backlit photo at sunrise and endless views of the surrounding area.  Plus, we had the place to ourselves!  Here are a few pictures...

Delicate Arch at SunriseDelicate Arch at Sunrise Delicate ArchDelicate Arch

While in Arches, we hiked out and back through the trail at Park Avenue, hiked to Landscape Arch, and spend the evening and sunset at Turret Arch.  Those hikes yielded some great exercise and some fantastic photos.

Park AvenuePark Avenue Landscape ArchLandscape Arch La Salle Mountains in Arches NPLa Salle Mountains in Arches NP Turret Arch at SunsetTurret Arch at Sunset

The next couple of days were spent in Canyonlands National Park which is adjacent to Arches NP.  What was cool about Canyonlands was that it was practically vacant.  The crowds usually come in the spring, summer, and fall, not the middle of winter.  The park was so quiet it was spooky and I was grateful to have a friend with me to chat with and to enjoy the views.  While in Canyonlands, we hiked to several viewpoints and also hiked a couple of trails, like Mesa Arch and Upheaval Dome.  Both were outstanding hikes, but Upheaval Dome is probably better appreciated from an aerial view (which you can find at this Wikipedia site).  It is debated as to what caused this unusual rock formation, but the most widely accepted theory is that it is actually a crater left over by a meteorite about 1/3rd of a mile in diameter!  The lighter colored rock you see in the photo is actually salt from an ancient lakebed that once blanketed the area.  Pretty amazing stuff!

We also drove to the even lesser visited Needles District, where we spent 70 miles on the road in and out, and 4 miles in our boots and NEVER saw another car or human being the whole time!!  Again, spooky desolation.

Here are a few pictures from the Canyonlands leg of the trip...

  Shafer CanyonShafer Canyon Upheaval DomeUpheaval Dome Mesa ArchMesa Arch

Another View of Mesa ArchAnother View of Mesa Arch

The last picture (of Mesa Arch) may look familiar to you.  It is actually one of the default Windows 7 wallpapers.

That's all for now.  Hope you enjoyed reading about my adventures in Utah and more importantly, I hope you are inspired to get out and enjoy some of these beautiful places yourself.  The pictures really do not do the proper justice...  one has to see these sights in person and experience nature's ability to take your breath away!  Enjoy.


Comments

No comments posted.
Loading...

Archive
January February March April May June July August September October November (1) December
January February March April May June July August September (1) October November December
January February March April (2) May June (1) July August September October November December
January February March (1) April May (1) June July August September (1) October November December
January February March April May June July (1) August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September (1) October November December
January February March April (1) May (1) June July (1) August September (2) October (1) November December (1)
January (2) February March April (1) May (2) June (1) July August September (2) October November December
January (1) February March (4) April May (1) June July August September (2) October November December
January (1) February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December (2)
January February March April May June (1) July (1) August September October (1) November (1) December (1)
January February March April May June July (2) August September October (1) November December
January February (1) March (1) April May June (1) July August September October (1) November December
January (1) February (1) March (1) April May (1) June (1) July August September October (1) November December
January February March April May June July August September (1) October November December