Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands

We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.  For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.    ~Wallace Stegner~

On our last full day in Moab we ventured out to visit the Canyonlands, the second national park on our list.  We opted to go in the afternoon to allow us time to run errands in Moab and to hopefully miss out the on the rain that was again forecasted for the day.  I think the pictures will show that we weren’t exactly successful in accomplishing that, but we were lucky enough to see some great views without getting wet and like our time in Arches, the clouds provided a dramatic backdrop for an equally dramatic landscape.

Our drive to Canyonlands was an easy 25 miles from the campground but before heading there we couldn’t resist stopping at Dead Horse Point State Park that we passed along the way.  This canyon looms 2000′ above the Colorado River where it bows around the sculpted rocks and buttes.  Its rather unusual name stems from a legend that dates back to the late 1800’s.  Evidently, there is a natural corral that cowboys used to herd wild mustangs on the mesa top.  Unfortunately for one group of horses the cowboys for some unknown reason forgot about them and they evidently died of thirst.  Thus the very literal name!

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From Dead Horse we drove approximately 5 more miles to Canyonlands, Utah’s largest national park. Split into three districts by the Colorado and Green rivers that wind their way through the canyons, we entered through the Island in the Sky gate which is located in the northeast corner of the park.  This location sits upon a mesa 1000′ feet above the surrounding area and offers exceptional long range views of the canyons below. As always, I offer this disclaimer:  pictures just don’t do these places justice but maybe they will inspire you to add them to your bucket list – trust me, you won’t regret it!

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