Exploring the Canyonlands


I was overnight in Scipio, UT and was up early to get the heck out of there, and on towards my destination for the next few days–Canyonlands Nat’l Park.

There is a long stretch on the 70 that goes for 108 miles with no services (my tank goes for 120). But wow, is it beautiful! The canyon walls were just jaw dropping, I definitely didn’t mind the 108 miles at all.

I finally rolled into the cute town of Moab. It was HOT. Around 98 degrees. I did my usual of getting gas, and checking the map. It looked like I had 75 miles to go to get to Canyonlands with no gas services. Gulp. I called the visitors center and they said there is a privately owned place called Needles Outpost that has a gas pump. $6.00 a gallon. This place is the bomb. They have everything you need (albeit priced at a million dollars but who cares) and it was a blessing.

They also had showers for $6, and this place is just 2 miles outside the park so you can bet I came here for a shower and water. And gas.

I arrived around 2 pm to find my campsite waiting for me. It was, HUGE. And the sites were so far apart I could not even see or hear my neighbors.

View from my campsite

The rest of the day, I relaxed a bit and just got settled. That night I went to a ranger talk about the night sky. Mostly because at this point I kind of wanted to be around other humans. The ranger pointed out a bunch of cool stuff. I didn’t realize that Canyonlands NP is an international dark sky park. Its only one of very few places you can really see all the stars. Probably because it’s 50 miles from anything.

After that, I headed to bed. It had been a long hot day. I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and found this gigantic spider waiting for me. He was about the size of my palm and his eyes glowed when I shined my light on him. EW!

I let out a little girl sound that I did not recognize, then ran. I decided to pee outside.

And now, time for bed. It was still around 78 degrees. I started to drift off and then….heard what sound like a bit cat growl. The kind a cat makes when they are about to pounce. Then I thought…..do they have mountain lions out here? I was really hungry, so I also do not want to rule out my stomach growling. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep very deeply that night.

I woke to a beautiful sunrise on my face. The ranger said it was going to be HOT. But the following day would be cooler. So, I decided to make this day a ride into town day in Moab. I got a few souvenirs and for the first time in a few days, had a real lunch at Eddie McStiff’s.

That night back at camp, I wanted to have a fire. I know, it’s hot–but you can’t camp without a campfire. So I loaded the Bonnie up with supplies from town, and headed 75 miles back to camp.

I spent the evening with a nice fire and laid on the picnic table to look up at all the stars. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many stars in my life. Needless to say, when you look up at the stars like that it makes you feel awfully tiny in this universe. It was so beautiful.

The next morning was my dad’s birthday, so I decided to make my coffee early, and watch the sunrise to wish him happiness on his day. It was much cooler and there were clouds, so the sun got covered, but it was still gorgeous.

Today was my hiking day, so I made sure I had plenty to eat and I was headed on my way.

My first hike was short, only 2.5 miles to Slick Rock. Stunning views.

After this hike, I came back to my bike and realized someone had messed with it. I was surprised, I figured at a Nat’l park that wouldn’t happen but I guess assholes are everywhere.

They went through my tank bag–didn’t take anything but tore my Triumph manual, took out my hand wipes, used one and threw the trash in my helmet. Then they turned my fuel switch to reserve. I think it was just a prank, but it was a bit unsettling. I checked my tire pressure and all was good so it looks like that was all they did.

I didn’t want to let it ruin my day though, I went on to my next hike and this one really amazing.

A ladder needed to get up some of the boulders

How I marked my way so I wouldn’t get lost

I had hiked all the way up to Lost Canyon, so total miles for the day was just shy of 9 miles. I only saw 2 other people the whole time I was hiking. I loved it and got back to camp in time with enough sunlight left to make dinner and another fire.

As I sat and watched the flames from my camp chair, I got to see the most magnificent sunset. The sun was already down, but the rays shining up were kind of heavenly.

I enjoyed the Canyonlands so much. I did have some moments though, that I felt the seclusion a bit too much at times. After a few days of not talking to anyone and being completely out of range, it can get to you. But this area of land is stunning, and so worth it. I said goodbye to all the beautiful formations as I rolled out.

The Needles

Goodbye, Canyonlands, next stop, Mesa Verde NP in Colorado!

Categories: TripsTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 comments

  1. Spectacular!!!
    But ya know…………..even in solitude, the rocks, the formations……….they do have a way of “talking” to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So amazing Denise. However Brian really upset when he read about the intruder, he said they need to get certain orifices stuffed, not sure which ones, but maybe we can figure it out!? The photos are just spectacular. I wish I were there with you to see all the beauty. Love you! Hugs and support from Reno, you are an inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great pics! Brought back memories of when we visited there eight years ago. Yes, assholes are very prevalent on Mother Earth, unfortunately. Fantastic post!

    Liked by 1 person

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