Posts Tagged ‘Island in the Sky’

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


“What is the feeling when you’re driving away from people, and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? It’s the too huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” — Jack Kerouac.

Travels With Maggie

Good-byes and hellos with months between hugs from loved family members have long been a part of my life. It began when I left home at 16, continued when my children left home and is still a way of life today.

My five children are not among those who settled down in the same town in which they grew up, the kind of place where your best friend is that freckled-face boy or curly-haired redhead girl who sat behind you in kindergarten.

For people who need roots – and a part of me envies them – it’s a great life. But my children must have had too much of my wander lust in their genes to take this route.

They scattered to the four winds, almost before the ink on their high school diplomas was dry. At one time, I had a daughter in Canada, a son in Korea, a son in Japan, a son in Hawaii and a daughter in Utah. A few years later and they were all scattered elsewhere.

For this mom, who had long dreamed of living on the road as William Least Heat Moon did in “Blue Highways,” this wasn’t a bad thing. When I sold or gave away most of my possessions and took to the road in a 22-foot RV with my dog, Maggie, I wasn’t leaving any child behind.

My living on the road has meant I probably get to see my children more than I would if Maggie and I had stayed put – but certainly not as often as the mom whose children live next door, or even just across town. It means my hugs have to be squeezed into limited visits.

I’ve come to think of my life as one of those bitter-sweet oxymorons. While I love the hugs and hellos I also treasure the good-byes. There’s still way too much of the world out there I still haven’t seen.

I’m always hearing people say they want my life. I usually believe a few of them.

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