Saturday, October 30, 2010

Canyonlands National Park – Day 23, 24, 25

Canyonlands preserves a colorful landscape eroded into countless canyons, mesas and buttes by the Colorado River and its tributaries. The rivers divide the park into four districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze and the rivers themselves. We headed to the Needles section – and it was absolutely amazing.

We did a two night backpacking trip through the canyons – and I think might have been my favorite adventure of the whole trip.  The first day, we climbed over the canyon pictured above (on the right hand side) and camped down on the other end of the canyon.  

It was a lazy morning as we waiting for sun to reach down into our campsite.  When we did finally get started (around 1 o’clock), we headed out of the canyon.  The hike took us longer than normal since we were literally climbing up and down the walls.  We lost the trail once – so we climbed up and unnecessarily steep mound.  We didn’t stay off the trail for long through.

We finally got to the Charlie’s Park, where our campsite was supposedly located.  However, the trails weren’t very well marked and we couldn’t figure out which path to go down to get to our site.  We found a patch of clear sand on the side of the trail and set up camp for the night – just as the sun was going down.  

We were up with the sun in the morning and starting to head out of the canyons.  However, we made a wrong turn (or possibly two) and ended up going about 4 miles out of our original path.  We finally reached a 4-wheel, permit only road and a fork in the trail.  At first, we tried to go down the trail be we climbed up a few extremely high patches – just to realize we weren’t on the trail at all.  It was awesome though.

We walked back the six miles to the truck on a ridiculous road.  It was a really amazing adventure – especially for our last nights away from any sort of civilization.

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