Monday, June 4, 2012

Betty in the National Parks, part 3

After Natural Bridges National Monument, we, along with Gemma and Ross (A Gem of a Girl), made our way to Canyonlands National Park.  It is a wild, rugged place.  The park is split into four districts, and we visited the Needles area and primarily the Island in the Sky area.  Most visitors to Canyonlands go hiking and backpacking, mountain biking, or four-wheeled driving.  My PRT and I took the older, flatlander tourist tour.  In other words, we drove the scenic drives and stopped at viewpoints.  We did do the shorter, easier hikes.  Gemma and Ross are posing at the Needles Overlook.  I wish you could have seen me.  The wind was blowing SO HARD.  I'm leaning against the guard fence, being whipped by sand, facing a 1600 foot sheer drop, holding my cap on with one hand.  The other hand has a death grip on poor Gemma and Ross.

Next we made our way to Arches NP!  I cannot express to you how beautiful it is at Arches.  I loved every second of our days there. We hiked and hiked, and I feel so lucky to have seen most of the famous arches.  Gemma and Ross are posing at Landscape Arch, the longest natural arch in the world.  The opening is longer than a football field!  It is very thin and ribbonlike, and I am so glad I got to see it before nature wears it away.  Already three slabs of rock have fallen from underneath since 1991.  Delicate Arch is so beautiful too.  It's just stunning country.  We lucked out and were at Arches during the solar eclipse.  Rangers set up several viewing spots and handed out solar viewers.

After leaving Arches and Utah, we made our way into Colorado.  We spent a day at Colorado National Monument.  More rocks, more canyons, but very pretty.  We did  the rim rock drive and stopped at the viewpoints.  We did get to watch (with binoculars) rock climbers on Independence Monument, which is 450 feet tall.  Gemma and Ross posed at what I believe is Cold Shivers Point.  I didn't write it down and can't remember for sure.