All of the stars aligned to end up in one of the most mind blowing, magical places on the planet during the Centennial celebration of the National Parks Service. Moab holds a dear place in my heart and soul as is true for almost anyone who has visited. This particular time was different however, for this time I was there with a more artistic eye. Knowing that with a real camera the experience would be far different than with just my GoPro or iPhone.
We started our journey in Arches, a land of absolutely unreal geology and history which is sure to leave you feeling bewildered in every sense. Having just procured a hardtop shell for my boyfriend’s truck, which he decked out inside with an insanely comfortable bed, storage, and shelving, we took it for its maiden voyage from Oregon all the way to Southern Utah. Our first night arriving in the park we ended up at the Double Arch (most people call this spot the Window Arches) but we found the Double Arch slightly more enticing than the crowded Window Arches at the top of the parking area. In my opinion this is one the most spectacular places in the whole park, the Double Arch in is an astounding work of erosion, and the sheer size of it can make even the biggest person feel small.
Before we could begin cooking and relaxing waiting for the sun to go down, we accidentally locked ourselves out of the back of the truck, where of course, the keys were sitting atop the bed. Luckily I am a gadget geek and had a NoShow extension pole from PolarPro lurking in the backseat of the truck which we finagled through the back window of the truck through the camper to open the one window in there which didn't yet have a screen. After a couple minutes of struggling to catch the end of the pole on the lever for the window finally we triumphed and got the back door of the camper open. What a way to start the trip we thought, luckily our amateur move was quickly forgotten by the unwavering beauty of the night sky.
That night the sky was spectacular, with very little light pollution and more stars than the brain can comprehend, we both felt the very spiritual vibe that is resonating through all of Moab. The feeling of being a little part of this broad, big world and that we are not the first fortunate souls to have laid eyes upon this magnificent landscape. The unspoken words between us of how truly wonderful it must have been for the natives who once ran this land, and authentically cherished it in every way. The following day was spent taking our time at every single pull off in sight, trying to beat the heat, while still getting the photos we wanted, and taking in the reality that we were there, encompassed by so much history, and hundreds of thousands of years of geological development.
Canyonlands is aptly named for the deep canyons carved by the Colorado river along the valley floor. The Island in the Sky provides unbelievable panoramas of the fascinating landscape in every direction. It’s hard to describe the undeniable spirituality of the place. It awakens a wandering sense of the "simpler life" that the natives once lived. Having covered the areas we wanted to see and photograph in the North end of Moab we decided to head South to the other entrance for Canyonlands. The Needles area is named for the bewildering rock pinnacles that are so famously captivating about this area. On your way into the south entrance there is an area to your right called Newspaper rock, depicting some of the most amazing Petroglyphs I have seen in one concentrated region. To stand where someone stood 2,000 years ago, lived off the land, and had no concept of the material things we treasure today, was an unimaginable experience.
Every direction you gaze in, your mind is absolutely blown. We drove about for a few hours, took walks to some of the more popular attractions, and were pleasantly surprised to find that there were far less people in this region of the park. You could actually take in what you were looking at without a hundred other people trying to take a photo with their phone and then move on. However, we were ready to get far out there, away from everyone. We found what we were told was a pretty aggressive 4-wheel drive only road that leads to one marvelous overlook of the Colorado River. A 7 mile stretch of dirt road, with big drops, and flash flooding paths apparent in every direction. Fortunately, we had a capable vehicle and a competent driver (Drew.) I was not about to drive his truck over some of this hairy terrain, that tested not only the trucks limit, but our limits as well. Six miles in, the terrain got too rough despite his skill set behind the wheel. We decided to walk/run the last mile to the overlook, as the sun was setting quickly and we were losing light, fast. To say it was worth it is an understatement. Sheer rock walls leading straight down to the valley floor with the brownish steady stream that is the magnificent Colorado River weaving its way through the canyons with ease.