Negro Bill Canyon & More

Between visiting Arches and Canyonland National Parks, our dog, Ame, hasn’t had much of an opportunity to enjoy our adventure.  She had to sit in the car or stay in the Airstream while we explored the parks.  This morning Andrew and I wanted to give her a chance to stretch her legs and hike.  We heard that Negro Bill Canyon Trail was dog friendly and a good hike.  Overall, it was a 4.5 mile hike along the river.  Some parts of the hike went through lush green trees and grass, other parks brought us up dusty rocks.  Ame’s favorite part of trail was crossing the riverbed.  She really enjoyed wading through the cool moving water.  At the end of the trail, we found Morning Glory Bridge, which was a rock structure that extend across the canyon walls above us.

After lunch and a nap, we decided to visit the other half of Island in the Sky.  On our trip back to Canyonland, we stopped by Grand View Overlook.  The overlook presented a spectacular view of the surrounding area.  It really put things in perspective of how we are such small inhabitants in a large land.  From the overlook, we followed a one mile path out to the another overlook area.  Along our route, we encountered numerous lizards and two chipmunks.

From the Grand View Overlook, we headed back to our final stop in Island in Sky, Mesa Arch.  This trail made a loop around a large rock and out a cliff.  At the end of the cliff, one arch was structured in a way that allowed us to look through at vast landscape below.  The braver souls, like Andrew, chose to climb on top and walk across the arch.

With a quick stop at Visitor’s Center to pick up our collectible park pin, we bid farewell to Canyonland.  Tomorrow, we head back to Colorado for our final visit to Grand Junction.

Distant view of the bridge
Distant view of the bridge
Morning Glory Bridge
Morning Glory Bridge
The two cuties!
The two cuties!
The river
The river
Action Shot!
Action Shot!
The trail
The trail

 

Island in the Sky, Canyonland

Our morning trip to the Island in the Sky part of Canyonland National Park was relaxing.  We brought Ame along for the car ride.  Unfortunately, National Parks don’t allow dogs on the trails, so every time we got out to explore Ame had to stay behind.  The hikes were short and the weather was mild, but we did miss hiking with her.  Canyonland is quite different from Arches.  In Arches, all the canyon, monoliths, arch seem very close together.  Canyonland’s structures are much more spread-out and the landscape seems very vast and open.  Most hikes in Canyonland take at least an hour.

Our first stop, Whale Rock was at one of the few short hiking spots.  It was a ten minute hike out to some large sliprocks that resemble a whale’s back.  We climbed up them to get a nice view of the park.

Near Whale Rock was our second hike.  We were headed to Upheaval Dome, which was a mounds of rock surrounded by a canyon.  Geologist are uncertain to the creation of Upheaval Dome.  Two common speculations were a large meteorite or uplifted salt from beneath the canyon grounds.  The first observation area was a quick and easy walk from the parking lot, but didn’t offer a great view of the site.  The second observation area took a little more effort with about  150’  elevation change.  However, the view was great.  It allowed us to see more of contrasting colors and height of the mounds.  Andrew’s camera batteries were dead so we didn’t get any photos of this interesting site.

We made one more quick stop at Green River Observation deck before heading back to the Airstream for some lunch.  The observation deck presented a view of several buttes and cliffs in the area.  Below, we could see a large section of the Green River.

After lunch, we headed back to Canyonland to do a little 4-wheel-driving.  Andrew has patiently awaiting an opportunity to take our SUV down one of Moab’s famous 4wd roads.  Today, we drove down the winding Shafer Road.  Off of Shafer road, we drove out to see the Musselman Arch.  The first arch I’ve seen that you can walk across.  After the Arch, we stopped by Gooseneck Observation area to take another look at the landscape around.  We had the opportunity to come across three mule deer on the way back to the car.

Back at the Shafer road intersection, we chose to follow the 30-mile Potash road down into the canyon floors and close the river.  A few weeks ago we saw the view from Dead Horse State Park and now we have a different perspective from the ground.  The river and canyon walls take on different look from the bottom.  At the bottom, the colors are more vibrant.  At the end of the drive, we stopped to view several Indian rock carvings.

Being so close to Moab, we decided to stop and celebrate the day over a few drinks and so great pizza at Zax.

 

Mussleman Arch
Mussleman Arch
Green River
Green River
Awesome colors! ;)
Awesome colors! 😉
View from above
View from above
Mesa Arch in Canyonlands NP
Mesa Arch in Canyonlands NP
View from below
View from below

 

Devil's Garden, Arches National Park

Our motivation for waking up early this morning was getting on trail at Devil’s Garden in Arches.   This trail offered a variety of different arches.  The first arch we came across was Tunnel Arch.  When standing in a field between canyon, we could look up and see an arch that isn’t visable from any other angle.  Located very close to Tunnel Arch was Pine Tree Arch, which is a small arch with a few pine trees growing under it.  The view through the Pine Tree Arch offered a look at the grand landscape around Devil’s Garden .

After the short detour to Tunnel and Pine Tree Arches, we followed the path up to Landscape Arch.  This specific arch is quite wide and delicate.  In 1991, hikers report hearing cracking sounds before rock fell from one side of the arch.  Now, sightseer are kept behind a fence, a safe distance away from the arch.

With a little trepidation, we decided to try our luck at Double O trail and arch.  Everything I had read said this was the most difficult trail with steep sliprocks and ledges to hike along.  Nevertheless, I am rejoicing at completing the hike.  It actually was as difficult as I anticipated.  The first part required us to hike up a steep, but short sliprock.  Once up the trail became wide up and easy.

Along the path, we had the opportunity to take another short detour to Partition and Navajo Arches.  We saw Partition Arch from the bottom.  However, from the top, we had a new perspective from the back, which allowed us to look down on the crowds of people.  Next to Partition was another very small arch.  Navajo Arch was one of my favorites of the day.  It was close to the ground with a small pine tree growing near it.  Due to the strong wind and sun light, the pine tree had branches and pine only growing on one side.

After our second detour and more sliprock hiking, we finally came to Double O Arch.  It was very well hidden in the canyons with numerous large boulder surrounding it.  A short distance a way we trekked down to see a large freestanding column called Dark Angel.

Our hike finished with a walk along the primitive trail, which I believe is one of the best features in Arches.  It was a fabulous trek through canyon floors and around slot canyon walls.

Overall, I found Double O to be a great hike with little difficulty.  The most difficult part was the trekking through the sand.

Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch
Guess which arch this is!
Guess which arch this is!
Navajo Arch
Navajo Arch
Dark Angel
Dark Angel