Day 25-27 Moab, UT   Leave a comment

Our weather got warmer as we drove to Moab, although our evenings were quite cool, but not cold like our last few stops where we needed to run the heater.

It’s almost time for Fall Colors which makes for a prettier drive.

Driving out west is so different for us who live on the East Coast. The land is so flat in places and you can see for miles and miles. It was kind of neat to see this road ahead of us and the train going under the road.

We knew we were close to Arches National Park when we saw people sliding down the hill. They were doing the same thing last year. Maybe next time we’re out here, we’ll make it a point to do so ourselves, then we can probably come away from it with the “forever stained” clothes like we tried to do while in Canada riding the tidal bore.

Moab is well known for off road riding, but it’s usually bikes or ATVs, NOT TRUCKS.

Water and ice, extreme temperatures, and underground salt movement are responsible for the sculptured rock scenery of Arches National Park. There are over 2,000 arches and we only saw about a dozen of them! Today, new arches are being formed and old ones destroyed.

Landscape Arch measures 306 feet base to base. In 1991 a rock slab 60 feet long, 11 feet thick fell from the underside, leaving behind a thinner ribbon of rock 6 feet thick.

Probably the most unique arch is Delicate Arch, but we found out that Landscape Arch was really supposed to be named Delicate Arch, but when the signs were put up, they were put up incorrectly and wasn’t discovered until they had been displayed for quite some time, so they just stuck with the incorrect names. So, really the arch above, called Landscape, is really Delicate.

My favorite was the double arch. They call it the North and South Window.

Once you hike up to it, you can sit under it in the shade & there’s a really nice breeze and a beautiful view.

The Canyonlands Dutch Oven Dinner & boat ride with light and sound show was very good and entertaining. The ride was up the Colorado River and we were surprised to find that it was only waist deep water. At dark the light and sound show was VERY unique. There is a road that runs alongside the river. They run a truck on the road with a huge light system, which shines lights on the rocks while the music and narration is done in the boat. We are all wondering how in the world this guy is allowed to run a truck down this road shining bright lights! He’s been in business since 1965 so I guess he knows the right people. We had a great night with a lot of stars. The Milky Way was clearly visible.

Canyonland National Park is the largest national park in the state of Utah. It is divided into three districts by the Green and Colorado Rivers: the Island in the Sky, the Needles and the Maze. We visited the Island in the Sky area, which sits atop a massive 1500 foot mesa and the Needles. What beautiful

Dead Horse Point was once used as a corral for wild mustangs roaming on the mesa. It was a narrow neck of land surrounded by cliffs, a 2,000 foot drop down to the Colorado River. Cowboys chose the horses they wanted and for some reason left the other horses to die of thirst.

Just beside this area we found a couple of rocks that Marcia and I decided to “ham it up.”

We found a pretty cool arch in Canyonland. We checked it out and found that it had a crack between the cliff and the arch. We were not sure how it was being held up, but somebody actually got up on top of it while we were there!

We took a couple of hikes out to some of the viewpoints and of course Bill had to mark our trails. Check out the dirt road. Now that would be a cool motorcycle ride!

At the Needles Overlook, we could see the Colorado River as it cuts its way through multiple sandstone layers. These layers were deposited from 225 to 195 million years ago. The magnificent landscape has been revealed by the relentless downcutting of the Colorado River over the past 4 or 5 million years. Think about the amount of soil and rock that has been removed by the river. Where do you think it went?????

On the western rim of the river, you can see the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park, above the eastern rim, you see the cliff line of Hatch Point. The sandstone layers match on both sides of the river.

Below is a photo of two buttes called North Sixshooter and South Sixshooter. These spires were named by the early cowboys for their resemblance to pistols. When lightening hit one of these buttes, the name seemed especially suitable as it appeared to fire a shot into the air. The Sixshooters are remnants of Wingate sandstone; their dark red rock pedestals are composed of Organ Rock shale and Cutler sandstone. The surrounding stone has eroded away, leaving the Sixshooters aiming toward the sky.

Newspaper Rock displays figures and symbols of historic Ute Indians as well as Ancestral Puebloans. Some of the rock art is a thousand years old. The petroglyph panel records approximately 2,000 years of early man’s activities. Prehistoric peoples, probably from the Archaic, Basketmaker, Fremont and Pueblo cultures. Etched on the rock from B.C. time to A.D. 1300. In historic times, Utah and Navajo tribesmen, as well as Anglos, left their contributions.

There are no known methods of dating rock art. In interpreting the figures on the rock, scholars are undecided as to their meaning or have yet to decipher them. It is unknown as to whether the figures represent storytelling, doodling, hunting magic, clan symbols, ancient graffiti or something else.

On our way out of town, we saw “Wilson Arch.” Wilson Arch was named after Joe Wilson, a local pioneer who had a cabin nearby in dry valley.

This formation is known as entrada sandstone. Over time the superficial cracks, joints, and folds of these layers were saturated with water. Ice formed in the fissures, melted under extreme desert heat, and winds cleaned out the loose particles. A series of free standing fins remain. Wind and water attacked these fins until the cementing material gave way and chunks of rock tumbled out. Many damaged fins collapsed like the one to the right of Wilson Arch.

A trip to Moab would not be complete without a stop to Hole ‘N The Rock.

This is where you will find a jeep covered in license plates, 2 story outhouse, a message from God, and a jail house rock.


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