Will the views ever get boring?

Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
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43
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Trip End Sep 01, 2012


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Eddie McStiff's Brewpub

Flag of United States  , Utah
Friday, June 1, 2012

Today was all about taking the time to explore Canyonlands National Park. We tried to get up and get going this morning before the heat got too oppressive. On the road by 8am we drove only about 45 minutes to get into Canyonlands and the Island in the Sky District. Our first stop was the Shafer Canyon Overlook, just by "The Neck". We walked for about 10 minutes to this amazing overlook and viewpoint that looked down into one of the many canyons in the area. It was here that KaMate once again claimed his right of challenge and the echoes of his haka filtered through the canyon and, no doubt, caused fear and panic to ripple through the people and animals in the vicinity. It was also at this spot that we learned why this section of the park was called Island in the Sky and why the section we had stopped at was called "The Neck". This one spot which was only about 30 feet wide is the only access to about 43 square miles of flat tops and grasslands. Apparently, Native Americans used to drive over and trap on the tops, Bighorn sheep and various other prey animals and then build a brush hedge across the neck in order to keep the animals there. As well, more recently, ranchers and cowboys would do the same thing in the summer after they drove the cattle and sheep up from their winter grazing in the canyon bottoms. 
Also, at this stop and lookout we began to understand why there are so many jeep and 4-wheel drive rentals in the town of Moab. Large sections of this park and surrounding land was explored and mined for uranium and when the search petered out, there remained an extensive network of roads that could  then be put to use for the tourist 4-wheel drive and mountain bike market. From here we went on one of Tim's favorite walks yet, to the Mesa Arch. This family photo may be the image that will typify our experience in the Southwest!!!! It was a wonderful walk, and the view through the arch was simply breathtaking. We stopped at a couple more overlooks, but by now the heat was getting oppressive, our energy waning and the need for cool air and hydration overwhelming. So, back to the Visitor Center to watch the informative video, a purchase of badges and back to our campsite for lunch, a catch up on emails and an afternoon of relaxing. The kids played in the sprinkler that the RV Camp manager set up just for them and then played on the playground and relaxed in the tent with Lego. Tim took a true siesta and Jess wrote postcards and organised us for the next day. We spent a little time making bookings for campgrounds in the next 6 days and then it was time to head into Moab for dinner and a wander around town.
We stopped at a wonderful outdoor shop called "Gear Heads" and resisted the urge to buy anything other than some heavy duty tent stakes. Then, we had a lovely meal at Eddie McStiff's; corn dogs for the kids, veggie burger for Jess and a Mushroom and Swiss Buffalo Burger for TIm (oh yeah, and a couple of pints of beer). Tim couldn't resist trying the well-named Polygamist Porter, "why settle for one" (after all we are in Utah now) and was forced to admit that the name was better than the brew. Then we walked around town, got some ice creams and found the Moab Coffee Roastery where the latest batch of beans was just cooling down. TIm bought some fresh-ground coffee for his morning brew and it was back to the tent for showers and bedtime. Tomorrow we are on the move again!!!
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