Still on the way to Canyonlands National Park

I got an 6:00 AM start on my trip to the southern part of Canyonlands National Park, but I stopped so many times to get shots of fascinating rock formations I started worrying I wouldn’t have enough time to spend at the park itself, especially since the campgrounds were full and it was a long way back to where I could camp. Heck, one of the reasons I’ve been so slow publishing these shots is that I have so many shots to go through to select the best ones.

When I saw this huge rock formation right before the turnoff to the park, however,

I just had to stop and get shots of it while the lighting was right. I’m sure it’s just a natural formation, but the “cave” at the base reminded me of ancient pyramids or Mayan Temples. Somehow it was easy to envision Shelley’s “Ozymandias” as I gazed out upon it standing alone in a vast desert.

When I learned that Newspaper Rock was also directly on the way to the park, I couldn’t miss the chance to stop and see the petroglyphs. This is just a small portion of the rock,

petroglyphs

because there was so many petroglyphs it was nearly impossible to get all of them in one shot, even with my wide-angle lens. I was awestruck as I stood there. I visit petroglyphs every chance I get, but I’ve never seen any quite as impressive as this.

If the scenery hadn’t been as awesome as it was, I would have gladly spent three or four hours studying the petroglyphs, but I was also distracted by the fabulous scenery.

Fall color It was the golden trees against the rocks that first drew my attention, but I couldn’t resist stopping for a closer shot later when I got nearer the formation in the background of the shot, and it was even more impressive up close. rocks

Naturally I didn’t have to drive much further down the road to find even more impressive trees and rock formations.

Fall Gold

I had to stop and get another shot of the rock formation from a better angle further down the road.

Mesa

By then I had realized I had to quit stopping so often if I wanted time to explore the park itself. Nevertheless, when I saw these horses grazing something made me stop yet again.

horses grazing

This place resonated with me deeper than almost any place I’ve visited in recent years, but it wasn’t until I got home that I realized that the area reminded me of the John Ford/John Wayne movies (i.e. “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”). It turns out that they weren’t actually filmed here but were filmed in a very similar, nearby area of Utah. As a child this was the archetypal Old West for me, and deep down it must still be.

2 thoughts on “Still on the way to Canyonlands National Park

  1. Southwest Utah, truly one of the most remarkable places on earth. Went back year upon year for a good long while, such a treasure trove it all is. I think Bryce Canyon is still my favorite, but when you’re in any of the others: Zion, Canyonlands, Cedar Breaks, Escalante, you think, “Whoa…” Glad to see you made Mesa Verde too, Loren! Any chance of a side trip on the return to Great Basin? (I know it’s Nevada, but close! And quite a place in its own right.) Nice time of year to be there, too. Getting vicarious pleasure from following your route and your fotos.

    • Unfortunately, we’re both getting vicarious pleasure from this trip because I’m covering it from home where I’m finally getting a chance to process all the photographs.

      Didn’t make it to Great Basin where we went last year, but we dropped into Zion and the north part of Grand Canyon before cutting over to California and spending a couple days in the Fresno area visiting a Wildlife Reguge and King’s Canyon.

      We covered a little over 4,000 miles and felt like we had missed at least half of the places we wanted to see, while discovering places we had never heard of that we’d like to see now. Places like Cedar Breaks, Escalante and Bryce Canyon.

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