Canyonlands National Park - The Needles

Trip Start Feb 28, 2009
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of United States  , Utah
Sunday, March 29, 2009

    We had been planning to go to Canyonlands on Saturday with a possible stop in Indian Creek- an area that's managed by the BLM on the way to the Needles district of Canyonlands.  One thing that we're quickly learning around here is that you have to be prepared for any possible weather.  Since Monticello is at just over 7,000 feet it's a little colder than the surrounding areas.  So while it might only be in the mid 40s here, it could be almost 60 in Canyonlands- which is exactly what it was like on Saturday.  At first I had laughed at Silas when he said that he was going to bring his sandals with him in case it was warm, but after thinking about it I decided that I'd better pack mine too, and I'm glad I did- it was so nice there!
  On our way we passed through Indian Creek and realized that we didn't know which trails went to what, so we decided to hold off on that until we asked around a little bit.  We did make a quick stop at Newspaper Rock, though.  It's a large petroglyph panel right by the road- it was really amazing.  There are hundreds of figures and shapes etched in the sandstone.  The whole time we were there I just kept thinking about how much my dad would like it- I'll have to take him there when he comes to visit- it's right up his alley.
  Our first stop in Canyonlands was at the visitor center.  When Silas heard that they were going to be starting a video of course we HAD to go watch it.  I have a hard time sitting through those things- I like to know about the places I'm going to be visiting, but once I'm actually there I'm too excited to sit there- I just want to go out and see stuff. 
  Once the video was over our next stop was at Cave Spring- an old camp where cowboys would stay while their cattle were on open range.  There's a .6 mile loop that takes you past the old camp, the spring itself, and some Puebloan pictographs.
  Next we headed to Slickrock Trail- a 2.4 mile loop with really amazing views in all directions.  You can see the La Sal Mountains to the northeast and the Abajo Mountains (Monticello is at the foot of these mts) to the southeast.  There is something about being surrounded by the tans and reds of sandstone, and being able to see snowy mountains in the distance that I find so beautiful. 
  We ended the day with two more quick stops at Pothole Point- a .6 mile loop, and Roadside Ruin- a .3 mile loop.  Our plan for our next visit is to spend the night in the campground and then get an early the next morning and do one of the longer hikes that takes you back into the Needles.  That's one thing that keeps happening every time we go somewhere- we always end up talking about what we want to do on our next visit, or which of our friends and family we think would like to go there when they visit.  I'm so happy we moved here when we did- we have spring, summer, and fall ahead of us to explore!
Allison
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