Saturday, August 18, 2012

Moab: Meteors, Mesa Arch, Bridges and more

Mesa Arch at sunrise , Canyonlands National Park, Utah

The Perseid Meteor shower seemed like a perfect excuse to pack up Dog and the car at 6 o'clock on a Friday evening and make a 3 hour trek through a rainstorm to Moab.  The plan?  Hmmm ... there is something about 'the best laid plans' going awry so I skipped that part and just drove till I found a nice dark spot on the Islands in the Sky plateau near Canyonlands National Park and stopped.    I had hoped to find the BLM place where RVers stay and 'camp' near them but after adventuring down a few dark, bumpy roads with no signs of life, I just picked a pull off down a dark gravel road and called it our spot.   Since I sold my tent (see my last tenting experience here), this camping trip was just Dog & I and a sleeping bag in the Tracker.  Luckily for me, I forgot my sleeping pad and the bed of the car was way too hard to sleep, so that gave me lots of hours that I should have been sleeping to watch for meteors!  The night sky was fabulous, the milky way so bright that it almost seemed light out.  I had hoped to see several meteors per minute but I saw about 20 - 25 meteors total ... the best laid plans....  I have to say that I didn't see many meteors but the ones that I did see were spectacular, very long and bright.

My 30 new BFF's at Mesa Arch
After trying several different sleeping scenarios and annoying the dog who didn't mind the hard surface, I did catch a couple hours sleep.  By 5:30 am (a miracle) I was headed down the road into Canyonlands to catch the sunrise through Mesa arch.  To my surprise, there were already a half dozen folks with tripod's set up waiting for the sun to rise as well!  By 6 am there were at least 30 people there all lined up in front of the arch with huge cameras!   Armed with my point and shoot and Phone camera I clicked away with the rest of them and then headed out to find a less crowded adventure.

Part of Schaffer Canyon Rd
I did a quick venture down the 4 x 4 Schafer Canyon trial just to see if I could do it in my vehicle.  Satisfied that I could and with the sun rising rapidly and heating the day I turned back to head to Moab for some breakfast. A dirt road off the main road, however, caught my eye and I had to investigate.  It was marked as a 4 wheel drive road but didn't saying anything about high clearance so off we went.    It took us to the Gemini Natural Bridges and then wound its way through a nice red rock canyon, along a rim and then back down to the highway outside of Moab.  It was a great ride with a few places that were a little touch and go for the Tracker's clearance.  Dog had a fabulous time chasing lizards along the way.  The bridges weren't want I expected but interesting as well.

Gemini Bridges

By the time we made it back to the highway, it was way past breakfast time and over 95 degrees.  I took the scenic byway along the Colorado river till I found a nice place for Dog to take a swim and get cooled off then decided to start on the trek back to Colorado via the southern route around the La Sals.   By late afternoon, we were back amongst the aspen on the Uncompaghre Plateau and I was happy to see my bed!    Do it again??  You bet!
 
Gemini Bridges Road .. lots of unstable hanging around but nice views












Tall Canyon walls along the Colorado river

Golda the Adventure Dog taking a dip in the Colorado river

Back to the aspens!

2 comments:

Bhounds said...

A nice story and great photographs ... thanks

Pam and Wayne said...

We were in Moab in September of 2009 and LOVED it! Still think about it all the time and can't wait for the day we can go back and stay as long as we want to. If you're still there and haven't done so yet, make sure to take a trip out to the boulder that has the birthing scene (petroglyph) on it. The directions from the visitor center pamphlet are a bit vague, keep going, you'll see the boulder easily from the road on the right hand side.

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