Arches: Pretty enough, but it was the massive juts of solitary stone, like the Courthouse, that impressed me more than the arches. We made the mistake on our first day of trying to get to a "good" spot for sunset photos, rushing through the park without taking time to soak up the beauty. We headed back to town (Moab) after sundown because the campground was full. Slept in the car on a side street. Turning into quite the bums, it seems, but ouch, the pocketbook, it is a-aching. Spent the next morning hiking out to Landscape Arch, which I did enjoy and appreciate more fully. Lesson learned; no more rushing.
Canyonlands: Wonderful. We spent two days there, including Julien's birthday, and had a really good time. My only regret is that we did not have a 4X4 and had to stay on the Island in the Sky. I'm sure the formations would have been even more impressive if we had been down among them. Sadly, Julien had a pain in his heel, and we didn't go on any long hikes. Still, we hiked the Aztec Butte to see the granaries, and that was cool.
We drove through Capitol Reef, only taking time to see the petroglyphs and watch a short documentary at the visitor's center. We got a motel room for showers and laundry in Torrey, Utah, a cute little town.
The next day, in the Escalante-Grand Staircase park, we hiked the Lower Calf Creek trail to the falls. Very beautiful and worth the slog through the deep sands of the path. Afterwards, we drove through a spectacular sunset to reach Bryce Canyon...
...which is not what we were expecting! Throughout the years, Julien and I have both seen several erroneously named photos that sparked our desire to visit Bryce. What we were seeing were slot canyons, not hoodoos. I wasn't totally surprised to see the hoodoos because there have been lots of postcards, etc. showing them, but no pictures of lovely, wavy, worn and warm-colored sandstone walls curving apart and dipping together.
We took a hike on the Navajo Loop this morning, and after lunch, we're going to head off to the Bureau of Land Management to get some info on nearby canyons in the Escalante region. We know we'll have one or two in Zion and of course in Page, Arizona, but we don't want to bypass something spectacular while we're in the area.
Julien and Miquela on Holiday, a Study in Red.
For some pics of Arches and Canyonlands, go here.