Posts Tagged ‘canyonlands national park’

Pothole Trail: A page from my journal

            I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. — Henry David Thoreau       

Road Trip: June 21 – July 6, 2002

I was recently looking through my bins of journals hoping to find some specific details. I knew was in one of them. I didn’t find it, but I did come across a journal I kept during a 16-day trip from Ogden, Utah, to Texas back in 2002.

Saw my first pinyon jay at a rest area up Spanish Fork Canyon, then another one in Canyonlands National Park.

This was the first time I had looked at this particular journal since completing it nearly 19 years ago.  Perusing it brought back many good memories, including those of my former canine companion Maggie* who later traveled with me in my RV for eight years.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to retake the journey on my blog.

The journal contains more photos and brochures of places I visited than words, but with them to guide me, I think I can fill in the blanks. The one thing I did note carefully were the birds I saw each day, since I had only recently taken up bird watching.

I drove from Ogden, Utah, to Cortez, Colorado, the first day, just slightly less than 400 miles. I started before dawn to get past Salt Lake City and Provo before traffic, looking forward to my turnoff from heavily-trafficked Interstate 10 to Highway 6 that would take me through Spanish Fork Canyon. My first stop of the day was at the Spanish Fork rest area where Maggie and I took a short walk around the area, and where I saw a pinyon jay, a new bird for my life list.

Pothole Trail landscape. — Photo by Pat Bean

Then it was up and over Soldier Summit, almost always a scenic drive – unless it’s during a winter storm – like the one I once drove through to get to Price for a newspaper story. It also wouldn’t be a good drive through the canyon this week as snows are predicted. But that June day in 2002, as I recall, was sunny, with a wildflower-filled meadow near the 7,477-foot summit.

After Price, the highway followed the Book Cliffs, a line of desert mountains east of Highway 6, to Green River, where after a jog on Interstate 79, it joined Highway 191. Just before Moab, I took a detour to the Islands in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park, where I hiked the half-mile Pothole Trail before continuing on my journey.

I had hiked, and enjoyed, this short trail before, and knew it would be a great way to break up the long drive and enjoy a bit of spectacular scenery as well. I wasn’t disappointed. – To be continued….

Bean Pat: Texas Tweeties https://bobzeller.wordpress.com/2019/03/03/post-number-1000-yee-haw/?wref=pil 1,000th post.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet community pathfinder, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

*Maggie, is the same canine companion featured in Bean’s book Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon. 

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         ” May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” — Edward Abbey

The view through Mesa Arch shows off a rich, red-rock background. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The view through Mesa Arch shows off a rich, red-rock background. — Photo by Pat Bean

Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background

I always find Canyonlands National Park, located in Southern Utah where four other awesome national parks vie for attention, surprising. One visit it is the deep blue, cloud-dotted sky above a red-rock landscape that captures my awe. On another visit, it is the emerald green of the Colorado or Green rivers off in the distance as seen from a high viewpoint. The confluence of the two rivers takes place within the park.

A more distant view of the arch shows off the La Salle Mountains in the Background. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A more distant view of the arch shows off the La Salle Mountains in the Background. — Photo by Pat Bean

I’ve visited Canyonlands’ Island in the Sky section many times, as it is located on the shortest route from Utah to Texas, the one I took many times when I worked and lived in Utah and visited family members in Texas.

This week’s photo challenge gave me an opportunity to show off its Mesa Arch, perhaps one of the most photographed scenic sites in North America. Reached by an easy half-mile round-trip hike  just off the park’s main road, I never visited the park without walking out to see it.

And then there is always the emerald green of the river in the background as seen from one of the park's many viewpoints. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And then there is always the emerald green of the river in the background as seen from one of the park’s many viewpoints. — Photo by Pat Bean

The season, time of day and weather made each viewing a one-of-a-kind experience, not to mention the varying wildflowers and dry or wet potholes scattered along the hike that gave a different mood to the trail.

Bean’s Pat: The Road Ahead http://tinyurl.com/p6jzvvu This blog describes perfectly how I feel the first day of a road trip. I see more, write more in my journal and am awed more by the landscape than any other day on a trip. But of course that’s not to say I don’t also enjoy all my traveling days.

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“I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” –Lillian Smith

Looking down from the Island at the Green River -- or is it the Colorado. The Green joins the Colorado near here. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Canyonlands: Island in the Sky

This park, located near Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point Utah State Park and Moab — all fantastic things on any bucket list — is a great escape from our chaotic lives. I try never to miss it when I’m in the area.

I’ve never been there when it felt crowded. It has a  tiny campground, in which I’ve both tent and RV-camped, spectacular aerial views of the Green and Colorado rivers and a fairy land of rock formations.

If you go, don’t miss taking the Mesa Arch Trail. It’s only a short half-mile hike but the view at the end is awesome. Have Fun.

Bean’s Pat: A Year on the Road http://tinyurl.com/79ba6la Al’s a full-time RV-er like me. This column is simply full of trivia, but check out some of his back columns.  While I write more about Mother Nature’s landscapes, he focuses more on the people who inhabit the landscape.

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Travels With Maggie

I am in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, where I have an extremely busy day ahead of me in preparation for getting on the road tomorrow. So I’m simply going to share my very favorite poem in the whole universe with you.  Have a great day!

My earth-bound legs can only dream of soaring free in a sky like this that one day overlooked Canyonlands National Park. -- Photo by Pat Bean

High Flight

“Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

And Danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence, Hov’ring there,

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air …

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue

I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.

Where never lark, or even eagle flew —

And while with silent lifting mind I have trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

— John Gillespie Magee Jr.

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“At the entrance, my bare feet on the dirt floor, here, gusts of heat; at my back, white clouds. I stare and stare. It seems I was called for this: to glorify things just because they are.” – Czeslaw Milosz


There could be no better place than Canyonlands National Park's Island in the Sky for cloud watching. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I love taking landscape photos with my Canon digital  pocket camera And I find that sometimes the focus of my photos have more to do with the clouds above than the land below. Here are two photos, taken during visit to Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky that fit this category. Wouldn’t you agree. 


A sky full of clouds above Whale Rock in Canyonlands National Park. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 “Nature is a mutable cloud that is always and never the same.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


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Canyonlands National Park, Islands in the Sky -- Photo by Pat Bean

“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.”
Marcus Aurelius

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Perhaps a quiet walk beneath a blue sky filled with fast-moving clouds, such as here in Utah's Canyonland National Park, will invigorate the will of politicians to do what is right for the American people. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“America is a tune. It must be sung together.” — Gerald Stanley Lee

Just for Today

Talk these past few days about the government shutting down has been disturbing to me, and I’m sure to many other Americans. But I didn’t feel any relief this morning when I read that the shutdown had been averted.

Instead I felt angry with all the games too many of our politicians have been playing to booster their own parties, their own images, their personal agendas and their personal vendettas. I watch as we, the American people, try to elect leaders who will go against the current political grain, only to see the newly elected join it.

I don’t have all the answers on how we can change this ever-worsening situation, but I do have a few suggestions:

One-term limit of four to six years for all politicians so they can spend their days working for the people instead of working for re-election.

Salary and benefit packages of elected officials that are in line with those of the average wage earner of their constituents so they will be more in touch with those they were elected to serve.

Everyone, not just politicians, could benefit from taking time to smell the flowers, such as these in Maine's Scarborough Marsh. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Politicians who are more concerned with what is right then in staying loyal to their parties.

And, most importantly, a mandatory day once a month for politicians to walk a scenic landscape with Mother Nature to restore their souls.

These suggestions, in case you’re interested, come from an old broad who is proud to be a tree-hugger who yearns for world peace.

Perhaps, dear blog readers, you have other suggestions for changing the status quo in our nation’s capital. If you do, hopefully you’ll share. Change has to have a beginning.

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The view through Mesa Arch -- Photo by Pat Bean

A close up view through Mesa Arch -- Photo by Pat Bean

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Travels With Maggie

The trail to Mesa Arch seems too short and too gentle for the magnificent reward it gives hikers. Midway in the half-mile loop is a window to the La Salle Mountains 35 miles away, and a view of the Colorado River 1,000 feet below.

Although you may have never hiked the trail, you’ve probably unknowingly seen the arch, which stands on a ridge edge in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park. It is a favorite subject for photographers and is a common image found in outdoor magazines, like National Geographic Adventure, and on post cards and T-shirts.

A view of the La Salle Mountains over the top of Mesa Arch. -- Photo by Pat Bean

All the guide books say the best time to hike this half-mile trail is sunrise, and photos I’ve seen of it in this light are magnificent. Sadly, I’ve never seen it at this time of day, and my photographs lack the brilliance of the morning sunrise. Even so, it was a view I would not have wanted to miss.

Actually, there were many other views I wouldn’t have wanted to miss in this Southern Utah Park, especially the Island in the Sky section, which is so aptly named. Sticking up over 1,000 feet from the terrain below, this sandstone mesa offers 360-degree views of the terrain below.

In addition to the Mesa Arch Trail, there are plenty of  not-so-short and not-so-gentle hikes for the more adventurous. I’ve done a few, all with scenic beauty around every turn. I hope you have, or will, walk some of those paths. You should have plenty of energy left to do so after you visit Mesa Arch.

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