Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Needles, Canyonland- September 23, 2012

Canyonlands is a large National Park composed of 3 areas that are separated by the Green and Colorado Rivers- Island in the Sky, The Needles and The Maze.  The Maze area is visited only with 4-wheel drive vehicles so is not accessible to most people.  Today we visited The Needles area which is about 90 to 100 miles via the roadways from the Island in the Sky area- Moab is about halfway between the 2 areas.  Island in the Sky had overlooks that looked down into the canyons.  The Needles was like being in the canyon looking up at the rock structures-  two very different areas. Enroute to the Park we passed Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument that has one of the largest displays of petroglyphs of any place.  In the Park at the Roadside Ruin we hiked a short distance to a  granary of stone built by very early inhabitants of this area under the overhang of a large boulder.  A stone structure resembling a wooden shoe was seen on a rocky cliff.  A second short hike to pothole point necessitated a climb onto rocks that had  dried potholes.  Big Spring Canyon was just a quick walk to an overlook of the area. There were flowering desert plants throughout the area.  We took a gravel road with blind curves to Elephant Hill where we ate our picnic lunch.  Cave Spring trail was around a huge boulder that had been used by early inhabitants and later as a cowboy camp.  The trail circles the boulder and then climbing up ladders we got on the top of the boulder.  The weather today was in the mid 80's but cloudy.  On our return to Moab we had a shower of rain which was different as we have seen little rain this trip.  The smoke from the northern fires has lessened but a good rain would really be beneficial in cleaning up the air.

After returning to the motorhome, we drove into Moab for dinner at the Blue Pig- a barbeque restaurant.  The food was good especially since I didn't have to cook!