Our Southwest Travel Adventure, Part Three
Two Paradise Valley Estates residents took a two-week driving tour of several national and state parks in October 2020. They covered Utah, Arizona and California on their trip. In this series, they share some of their pictures, relate impressions of each park, observations about traveling in the age of COVID and some of the interesting people they met along the way. Read their first article and second article. This is their third article.
The saga continues. We checked out of our hotel in Moab at 5 a.m. only to find again, when we got to Mesa Arch, that those pesky tourists had arrived much earlier. However, we had a wonderful experience of watching the sunlight warm the sandstone colors of the arch and the solitude of the wide-open spaces.
Our next stop was Canyonlands National Park, a 30-minute drive from Mesa Arch. When we got there, can you believe, there were huge canyons where: “Rainwater seeps into thirsty sandstone and collects in razor-thin cracks. In the chill of winter, water freezes and widens these cracks, splintering the rock into great slabs that tumble into the canyons.” “A stair- step shape emerges as water carves alternating layers of harder and softer rock.” (Remember, we are stopping to read the informational signs.)
A young woman on a bicycle waved us down while we were on our way back to Moab for lunch (banana splits). Needless to say, we stopped to help a damsel in distress. She asked if we had any spare water. A quick inventory discovered a gallon of water in the back seat of the car. After filling her water reservoir, it left us with a pint of water. She thanked us and we were all on our way. Interestingly, we met three bicyclists on our trip. One group was already mentioned at Kings Canyon and the other was a young man on Highway 50 near the telegraph and pony express stop. The latter guy was on a trip from Pennsylvania to California. He had a body fat mass of about 2%, was a “Tech Guy,” and had very little on his bike: no saddle bags or bed roll. Very interesting!
Our next destination was Needles Overlook, a part of the U.S. Department of the Interior. It is about an hour’s drive south from Moab and well worth the stop. This is a lovely location for solitude and expansive vistas and was the least crowded place on the trip.
The last part of this month’s article has us arriving at Dead Horse Point State Park. Legend says it was “…named because of its use as a natural corral by cowboys in the 19th century, where horses often died of exposure.” It is also where the final scene of the movie Thelma and Louise was made. We stayed at the park for two nights in a yurt. Oh yes, the yurt was heated and had air conditioning. We are NOT hardy.