Day 6: Will Wonders Never Cease?

Today I had planned for a leisurely drive from Moab over to Bryce Canyon National Park.  But as mentioned in my last post, the photos from Canyonlands were more or less garbage, so I decided to make a run through the park to at least capture some highlights.  Now I was driving right past the turn-off to the park anyway, but this is about 25 miles from the park plus the additional perhaps 10-15 miles out to the Grand View, so we’re talking about a 70-80 mile side trip plus time for photos – so all in all about 2 and half hours.

Then during this time, I also had the thought that I should run back up highway 128 and film it in real time as opposed to the time lapse I already had.  Besides, you always see different views from the alternate directions.  I had to get back up to I-70 to get to Bryce anyway so what the heck.  So after doing these things it was about 1 o’clock and I still had the original 5 hour drive to go.  Good plan.

Now, while I knew that my route was going to take me near Capitol Reef National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, I did not realize that I would in fact be driving through them.  Bonus!

Of course, this is the down side of simply relying on the GPS and not digging into the routes as I have done on my previous trips.  In hind sight I would have planned to stay a night in Capitol Reef as it is about mid-way on this drive.  But, oh well.

There is a scenic drive of about 10 miles (one way) that I had to take – so that killed another hour.  After this I then entered the Dixie National Forest which offers overlooks of Grand Staircase.  Then I entered the actual monument – simply unbelievable.

DSC_0269

I stopped for a few photos and am hoping that my driving time-lapse will show a little bit, but this is something that I don’t think photos can really convey.  You have to drive this route to believe it.  It is hands down the most amazing drive I’ve ever taken.

After all of these “delays”, my leisurely day ended with my arrival at the campground at about 7:30pm.  I got the tent up despite the wind and then went into “town” because I didn’t want the hassle of cooking in the dark and wind.  There are two restaurants in Cannonville – a pizza place and Clarke’s.  I chose Clarke’s since they were open later – 9pm.  Had a very nice Rainbow Trout dinner.  To top it off they had The Piano Guys playing on their sound system – I love those guys!

I’m here through the weekend now, so no more serious driving ’til the middle of next week.  Now I’ll just enjoy Bryce Canyon!

Day 5 – Canyonlands National Park

After a nearly sleepless night due to crazy blowing winds and sand in my tent I crawled out to a still very windy and decidedly cloudy morning.  After cleaning as much of the sand out of my tent, sleeping back and teeth as possible, the wind was still blowing.  I decided to just grab breakfast at McDonalds, post my blog and head up to the park.  Cooking in camp would have been an exercise in futility…

So I headed up into Canyonlands National Park – Island in the Sky district.  The park is a vast formation of canyons and other amazing formations formed by the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers.  It’s split up into three districts that are each more inaccessible than the last.  The one I visited is generally the most accessible and was the closest to Moab.  The views are beyond any words that I could come up with – nothing short of awe-inspiring.

DSC_0087

Unfortunately, you’ll have to take my word on this for the time being as I had a bit of an operator error with my camera.  At some point getting into and out of the car with the camera it seems I had unknowingly switched it to fully manual mode – which is fine if I had been paying attention.  However, I got lost in the views and was simply snapping away and I never review them until later because in the sun (ok it was cloudy today) you generally can’t see anything on the camera display.  After getting back to camp tonight I discovered that virtually all of my shots from today are uncorrectably overexposed…

So, since I have to drive past the park entrance on my way to Bryce Canyon tomorrow I think I will run into the park and try to capture at least a few images.  It will add a couple hours to my drive but I can’t leave here without some true visual evidence.  Pics to come!