Back into Deserts and Canyons

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

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What I did
Arches National Park
LaSal National Forest

Flag of United States  , Utah
Thursday, May 31, 2012

It was another cool night for sleeping and despite our rising what we thought was early, by the time we were packed up and driving out, the majority of the campground was already empty?!?!? It was only a couple hours drive to Canyonlands National Park and we were there by lunchtime, having driven straight there in an attempt to secure a coveted campsite within the Park. However, to our dismay, they were all booked out and the only sites that were left were 5 miles outside the border of the Park, had no sun shelter, were on ant-ridden and dusty ground and the air was filled with biting gnats. So, we had a nice lunch overlooking one of the many canyons and headed into the town of Moab. This town reminded us a bit of Queenstown, an outdoor adventure mecca with lots of good-looking places to eat, lots of shops promising rafting, canoeing and various outdoor adventures. This looks like a brew-pub mecca and it is unlikely Tim will resist consuming here! 
We stopped at the Information Center and found out some information about camping in the nearby LaSal National Forest. The information was: head out of Moab and after 10 miles turn left onto a "loop road". Well, it was over an hour's drive straight up into the mountains, the last 25 minutes on a dusty gravel road. We did, eventually, find a fantastic campground amongst the tall aspen and birch trees and were severely tempted to stay. But, with the campground being so far out of Moab and our desire to spend a couple of days exploring the wee town and the two National Parks, we headed back to Moab and set up camp in an RV/tent camp near to the main road. Our tent is (finally) pitched on a little section of grass underneath a large tree providing shade, we have a picnic table under a sun shelter and the bugs are few and far between. We had another dinner of hot dogs and baked beans, and then decided to go for an evening drive in Arches National Park.
On the way to the park we stopped at one of those, do-it-yourself power washes and blasted Odie clean again, the dust had been so thick you couldn't open a door or grab a bag without a fine layer of red dust coating yourself. Then we stopped for a few cool and refreshing ice creams and headed up into the bright setting sun and into Arches. What a fantastic choice of an evening's drive. We drove down to the famous Delicate Arch which is depicted on the Utah license plate and, amongst surprisingly about 100 people at each walkway to view the arch, stopped, took some photos and enjoyed the evening sun as it changed the colors on the rocks. Then we drove through other sections of the Park enjoying such features as "the balanced rock", "the parade of elephants" (something Tim remembered from when he was last in the park in 1995), "double arch" and others. The evening sun and the cooling temperatures (this on top of big ice creams) made the drive a great way to unwind from the day's adventures. We are planning on staying put on our little patch of grass for another day or two and throughly exploring Canyonlands and the town of Moab.
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