Sunday, October 2, 2011

Canyon Lands National Park — Remote and desolate

As you drive into the park, there are several signs alerting you to the fact that there is no food or services in the park. For that mater, aside from the taps at the Information Centre, there is no water. In Marc's notes for the day here, he has bullet points to remind himself to gas up and have supplies for the day before entering the Park.

We have just left the Days Inn and are imagining that we are covered in bites (see Moab post for details) and that the sand flies we found in our room are in our suitcases copulating, laying eggs and feeling quite at home. Even with this on our minds, we do gas up and prepare for a day in this remote badlands of Canyon Lands.

This description from Wikipedia (along with it's links) will help explain the photos:

Canyonlands National Park is a U.S. National Park located in southeastern Utah near the town of Moab and preserves a colorful landscape eroded into countless canyons, mesas and buttes by the Colorado River, the Green River, and their respective tributaries. The park is divided into four districts: the Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the rivers themselves. While these areas share a primitive desert atmosphere, each retains its own character. The park covers 527.5 square miles (1,366 km2). Canyons are carved into the Colorado Plateau by the Colorado River and Green River.[3] Author Edward Abbey, a frequent visitor, described the Canyonlands as "the most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth—there is nothing else like it anywhere."

We manage to take in a Ranger talk, once again amazed at these young men and women, who are so knowledgeable about the Parks they are working in. She described the history of Uranium mining here, and the soil and water reclamation underway to clean up the mess left behind in the tailing ponds. The story of the Uranium, gave her a creative way to explain the geology of the area and was very informative.

I personally found the landscape unappealing and harsh, but the way the Colorado and Green Rivers have carved this landscape is quite a sight to see. I was looking forward to the next day at Arches National Park, where the geology is much more uplifting. More on that later!

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