From the moment we arrived in Moab it seemed we were always busy. We did spend a good part of our first day catching up on some relaxation but late that afternoon we headed out to get together with some friends we met while we were at Bryce Canyon. We enjoyed dinner out, drinks at a local pub and then went to watch some good old cowboy music at a park in Moab. We enjoyed getting together and hope to meet up with them again sometime. On the following day, a Sunday, we decided to avoid the National Parks and took a ride over to the Moab Motion Picture Museum to see some of the memorabilia from many of the movies that have been filmed there. Hundreds of old westerns as well as some new movies have been filmed there and the tour was interesting. In order to get to the museum, we traveled through the Colorado Riverway Recreation Area where we saw some beautiful scenery. Many of the areas we traveled through were used in some of those old westerns we learned about. Finally, on Monday we decided to begin our visit to Arches National Park. And what a beautiful park it was. Over the next few days we hiked over a dozen miles and viewed a hundred or so arches. The most famous arches, Landscape Arch, the Window Arches, the Turret Arch and Delicate Arch, just to name a few, required some serious hiking if we wanted to get close. Because of this we’ve hiked to some pretty remote areas of the park. One of our hikes took us through an area of the park called Park Avenue, not necessary famous for its arches but for its beautiful sculptures of towering rock. On our final day at Arches National Park we waited until midafternoon to begin our visit. We traveled the entire scenic drive one last time, stopping at many of the overlooks for photo ops and a look at the landscape with the afternoon sun setting. We also took one last hike that evening in order to see Broken Arch and Sand Dune Arch which we hadn’t seen yet. Even late in the afternoon the temps were near 100 degrees so this final 2 mile hike was quite exhausting but totally worth it. Finally, as we were making our way out of the park, the drive was quite beautiful as the sun began to set. We’ll be left with great memories of a beautiful park. The next day it was time to see something new so off we went to Canyonlands National Park about an hour away. As I mentioned to Claudia along the way, we had to rein in our expectations. After all, Arches would be a hard act to follow for any place. The fact is Canyonlands was nothing at all like Arches. This place was beautiful in its own way. Canyonlands is a huge, expansive area where you can look across open areas for miles and miles and see nothing but wilderness. You’re sitting on top of everything and looking across vast areas of canyons, rivers and desert. We took several hikes while we were there even though the temps were near 100 degrees. The first took us to an area known as Upheaval Dome which looks down into a mysterious area that may have been created by a meteorite impact but no one knows for sure. After this hike we traveled along the scenic drive overlooking some of those vast areas I mentioned. Our second hike was our big hike for the day. It was about 4 miles round trip and took us out along the top of a mesa to an area named Murphy Point. From this point we could look out for what seemed like hundreds of miles in almost every direction. The views were breathtaking. We were pretty much exhausted following this hike and the weather remained hot so the rest of our day was spent mostly just stopping at overlooks and taking a couple of short hikes. This was definitely a one stop park for us but we’re very glad we took the time to see it. With the temperatures topping 100 degrees we decided to end our visit to the Moab area by taking care of some housekeeping in the air conditioned motor home although we did head to downtown Moab a couple of times to enjoy some shopping as well a couple of meals out. We also didn’t completely waste our days away since we ended up giving the motor home a complete wash and wax, something that was overdue. With our final day in Moab being the hottest and most oppressive day of all at 105 degrees, we stuck to doing some grocery shopping and preparing for our trip to Colorado. We loved it here in Moab and we’ll be back someday. We’ve decided that when we do return, we’ll have a 4 wheel drive vehicle in order to explore some of the more remote areas.
Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park was much more than we expected. It’s probably due to the fact that it’s overshadowed by Bryce, Zion and Arches National Parks which seem to be much more popular. We decided to take a trip to the Capitol Reef National Park visitor center immediately after we set up camp. That turned out to be a great decision since the day was gorgeous and we had a deep blue cloudless sky for a background as we took many pictures of the park with the sun shining from a perfect direction. The pictures turned out beautiful but as always, they still can’t do the area justice. The following day was also very nice, although a bit cloudy which turned out perfect for our hike along the Fremont Trail. This was a 4 mile trail that had an elevation change of 770 feet which allowed us some fantastic panoramic views. The trail was winding, rocky and narrow and it dipped up and down with some very steep grades. For me, this is the most enjoyable of all types of trails. Before we took the hike, we drove down an 18 mile paved scenic road through the park where we stopped at several outlooks for more spectacular views. Unfortunately, we couldn’t continue down the unpaved portion of the road as we had planned due to flash flooding from recent rains and more rain that was in the forecast. The following day was rainy at times and cloudy most of the day but we still took a ride down to an area of the park we hadn’t seen yet. Along the way we stopped to see some petroglyphs that were hundreds, possibly thousands of years old as well as an old farmhouse, schoolhouse and blacksmith shop left behind by the early settlers. Unfortunately, due to the rainy weather that arrived, our planned trip down scenic route 12 to Escalante needed to be cancelled and will have to wait until another visit. We’ve come to realize that no matter how much time we allow at any one place, we just can’t see everything we want to. This is a beautiful area and we’re sure we’ll get back here someday.
Bryce Canyon National Park
We arrived at Bryce Canyon Pines RV Park with a less than pleasant beginning. We were given a site that was very uneven and we had to use every tool at our disposal in order to park level. Even after we were able to level off, we hated the site. It was in the back of the park and surrounded by maintenance trailers. We also had literally no yard and our door opened over the fire pit. I decided to check at the office to see if there were any other sites available, especially since we were going to be there for a week. They were very friendly about it but said they were booked solid and there was just nothing they could do. I reluctantly accepted this and headed back to the site. Very soon afterwards, the manager arrived, agreed that our motor home was too big and not a proper fit for the site and moved us to another site. The new site was much more level and we loved our front yard. We spent our first full day with a drive into the park. Our first stop was at the visitor center where we looked over maps and enjoyed the 20 minute movie. From there we drove to the southernmost point in the park, about 18 miles away from the entrance before turning around and stopping at each of the overlooks along the way. We saw some incredible views and as we inched our way north, each view just kept getting better. Once we returned to the “main” section of the park, about 5 miles from the gate, we skipped the remaining viewpoints and headed home for the day. First thing the following morning we headed off and enjoyed a nice breakfast at a local restaurant. Following breakfast we returned to the park and got on one of the shuttle busses which took us back to Bryce Point, the last stop we made the day before. From there, we hiked up and down along the rim trail for about 4 miles to the final vista, Sunrise Point. The hike gave us the chance to really enjoy all those spectacular views close up. The following day we once again got an early start in order to arrive for our reservation at the Bryce Canyon Horse Corral by 7:30. From there, we took a horseback ride down into the heart of Bryce Canyon where we saw such magnificent views as the Wall of Windows, The Chessmen, Silent City, and the Bristle Cone Pine Trees, said to be the oldest trees on the planet. That horseback ride was everything we hoped for. I was assigned Tin Man, a steady, reliable, experienced mule who clearly knew the trails better than I did. He liked to hug the edge of the trails at times (yikes) and did like to bend over and eat flowers whenever we stopped but he was an easy ride. Claudia was assigned Strawberry, a pokey horse who didn’t seem thrilled with her passenger. She was right behind Tin Man but when she got too close, Tin Man liked to give her a kick so she kept her distance. The ride took us from the top of the canyon and all the way to the bottom. Some of the trails were easy while others were steep narrow switch backs. All around us we saw beautiful landscape with thousands of hoodoos, sculptures carved in the sandstone by wind and rain. We traveled through natural bridges and across dry river banks. Many times we felt like the horses would fall off the steep winding cliffs but we were assured that the horses were not suicidal. That wasn’t all that reassuring at the time. We were so glad we did take the ride however since we couldn’t have seen the canyon like we did if we hadn’t. We certainly wouldn’t have been able to hike through as much area as we did by horseback. The down side of the trip became more apparent as the day went on and even more so the following days. The pains began on our backsides but continued to our knees, calves, thighs and stomachs. It was of course, still one of the best things we’ve done. Before leaving the area we took a ride into Red Canyon, just outside Bryce where we took a short hike on the Hoodoo Trail to get some nice close-up views of more Hoodoos. On our final day we returned to Red Canyon with Stella and enjoyed a great 3 mile hike along some fairly rustic trails, occasionally with nice steep grades and all with gorgeous views. I think it’s safe to say that our visit to Bryce was everything, if not more than we expected.
Glen Canyon/Lake Powell
We really didn’t know too much about the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area other than it contained Lake Powell, a manmade lake created with the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam. It turns out that this place is perfect for anyone wanting to hike, bike, boat, swim or pretty much do anything outdoors. And the best part for us was that we arrived with perfect weather, bright sunshine and temps in the 80’s and 90’s. This weather continued through our entire visit. We started off with a trip over to the dam where we took some pictures looking down into the Colorado River on one side and across the dam to Lake Powell on the other. We also took a short trip over to a scenic overlook that gave us some more great views. Next, it was time for some tours. Our first tour put us on rubber rafts and took us down the Colorado River about 8 miles. This trip actually started with a bus ride through a 2 mile long tunnel built through the sandstone mountain from the top of the dam and down to the river. Once at the river, we boarded our rafts and began the float down the Colorado. We were surrounded by 2000 foot cliffs all around us and the views were breathtaking. We made one stop along the way where we were able to hike into a remote area to see some petroglyphs that were thousands of years old. After that we continued our trip downriver until we arrived at an area known as Horseshoe Bend. At that point we began an enjoyable return trip upriver at a much greater speed using the engines on board. The sun was hot but the spray was cool. The next day started with a tour through Upper Antelope Canyon. This place is a sacred canyon that exists on Navajo land and the tours were run by the Navajo Indians. The canyon is a dry slot canyon, very narrow at times and only about a quarter of a mile long. It was a beautiful canyon and certainly worth a visit but there were so many people there that it took away some of the beauty. Our guide was very helpful in getting us some great pictures however. You’ll see what I mean once you see them in our photo album. Later that day, we took still another tour. This time is was out of the Antelope Point Marina where we boarded a very comfortable tour boat that took us out into Lake Powell and over to Antelope Canyon, a gorgeous canyon where the tour boat maneuvered its way through a series of tight turns and stunning views before returning to the marina. This portion of Antelope Canyon is actually a continuation of the Upper Antelope Canyon we saw earlier today. All in all, we enjoyed all three tours very much. Between the three we were able to experience the Colorado River, the Navajo Desert and Lake Powell, all totally different environments, all breathtaking. On the way back from the marina, we made one last stop in order to view Horseshoe Bend, our turnaround point on the Colorado River Tour from 1600 feet above the river. It turned out to be a lot more of a hike than we thought it would be but the view was spectacular and it was great to see where we had been just a couple of days earlier from a much different perspective. On our last day in the area, we decided to go to the beach with Stella. We had an absolutely beautiful beach day and found a great spot over at a place called Lone Rock. The three of us had a wonderful time running and splashing through the water before it was time to return to the campsite and get ready for the next day of traveling. This really is a wonderful area. Next time we return, we’re thinking about renting a houseboat for a few days. Who wants to join us?
Ed and Claudia always dreamed of retiring and travelling the country in their motorhome. They retired in 2013 and this is the continuing story of their adventures on the road.