Starting in Canyonlands this morning, the sun seemed to creep up faster than it did in Badlands. Instead of a slow and gentle rise, lulling ones eyelids to part, this morning was a louder luminous alarm for which there was no snooze.
We decided a later start was deserved since our average drive time was much shorter than in days previous. We checked out, went to the ranger station for a commemorative pin (of which I’ve gotten quite the collection), and scooted out towards Moab by 8am local time.
We enjoyed breakfast at the Jailhouse Cafe in central Moab for one of the first “real” meals of the past couple days.
It’s worth mentioning at this juncture that anyone that travels by car in the U.S. will have a difficult time maintaining a healthy balance of foods. All the prime real estate lying just off convenient rest stops and exits has been purchased by the big players. McDonalds, Wendy’s, and Subway to name a few. While providing a meal for two at usually less than $15, its left us craving thinks like, you know, lettuce. Or, ANYTHING green for that matter. It’s the reason why I devoured a chicken Caesar salad in the Badlands like a complete animal. But I digress…
Suffice it to say that chorizo Benedict for myself and a chorizo scramble for Nicky was a welcome oasis before we made our way to Arches National Park.
It seems as though this park gets more love than Canyonlands. Though I preferred Canyonlands’ serene tranquility and haunting obelisks those of Arches. The park itself houses some 2000 stone arches shaped by a millennia of weathering and chemical tarnishing due to the climate. The result is a spectacular array of arching gateways in all areas of the park.
The most notable and photographed of these is delicate arch, about 12 miles in from the park’s main entrance. One can hike about a mile across the rocky sandstone mounds and get an incredible, up close view of this massive arch. Unfortunately, our time constraints and preparedness regarding water prevented us from making such a hike. We settled for the lower overlook, where you can still see delicate arch, but a smaller one from this vantage point.
Zion was about 5 hours from Arches so we made tracks in that direction by about 11:30am. Along the way, I sort of got sick of red rocks. The truth is they’re everywhere out here. Don’t get me wrong, some of the views are beyond incredible. For instance “hog backs” the name given for a certain rock formation, looks much like what might happen if you left your grilled cheese resting at the edge of your soup bowl and it fell in.
But by the time we arrived at Zion, my awe for these massive structures was rekindled. Our campsite left little to be desired. Much like many of our recent sites, the view combined with great weather allowed for us to keep the fly off our tent and sit inside as the stars crept in.
The sun sets, we brush our teeth, we settle in. It’s strange to think this trip is coming to a close. As one wants nothing more than to have these experiences go on forever, our new lives are waiting on the nearby coast. There’s still a little time left to party though, because tomorrow…ITS VEGAS BABY!