Moab and Arches

Next, it was time to undertake the drive to eastern Utah.  The Colorado Plateau, we learned, is the geological feature which gives the four corners region of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico its unforgettable features of mountains, caverns, and canyons. We learned on this trip that one doesn’t even need to get out of one’s car or off the expressway to see one of the West’s most incredible views.

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On the way over on Interstate 70, we passed through Spotted Wolf Canyon. We had gotten used to seeing one fabulous, awe-inspiring, rapturous vista after another as we drove through the West. Steve would laugh every time we came around a curve and I gasped and exclaimed “Woooooowwww!” But Spotted Wolf Canyon was superlative, ecstatic, transcendent! Steve was driving, but he didn’t laugh when I said wow this time. In fact, he tapped the brake and slowed down. Fortunately, they have a turn-off to an overlook. My guess (seriously!) is that there was a safety problem with too many people stopping dead on the shoulder to gawp at the astonishing view.

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A view that’s just impossible to capture on camera. Spotted Wolf was the most spectacular vista yet!

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We finally tore our eyes away and got back on the road to Moab. We were hitting peak outdoor-sports season, but we managed to find a spot that had a site for a few days. We wouldn’t normally stay at a place with no wi-fi or cellular signal, but were we glad we did! Kane Springs is on the outskirts of town. The trip to the campground was a little bit anxiety-producing in the motorhome, with a narrow road that takes some right-angle blind curves, but it was much safer than it felt! And the beauty of the site made it well worth it!

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The drive to Kane Springs Campground.

The campground is nestled near the water by red stone cliffs, riddled with caves, which drop into the river.

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View from the campsite.

We went for a bike ride to explore, and found a patch of petroglyphs on the wall by the road, marked only by a small sign.

 

I am fascinated by archaeology and the historical movement of different tribes and races of people around this magnificent planet of ours. Seeing petroglyphs was definitely a high point for me!
Next on the list was a trip to Arches National Park. Arches is a vast, spread-out park with many miles of two-lane roads to be traversed across desolate plains to reach the rocky sights. At this time, they are working on the roads, and many trails were closed, including the ones to the most famous arches. UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_182fThey also work on the roads at night, so they began shooing folks out of the park around 6:30 pm and closed completely at 7:00. Many of the most majestic arches are only accessible by long hikes on strenuous trails.
But that’s okay! We were just stopping in to see the petroglyphs. We made the short hike from the parking lot, past Wolfe Ranch, a primitive pioneer homestead which gives you pause to think about the primitive ways of life people can tolerate.

And there were the petroglyphs! For some reason, I found it super amusing that the petroglyphs are marked by an informational sign with a photograph–of the petroglyphs!

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We drove to the limited number of sites that were open and saw the Fiery Furnace, a hellish rockscape which people inexplicably wait in queue to get a chance to hike, and saw a small arch, and many balancing rocks, bristlecone pines, and some plants and animals.

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Blooming cactus
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A smaller arch

 

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