Petroglyphs and Dead Horses

Trip Start May 30, 2011
Trip End Jun 09, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Saturday, June 4, 2011

June 4  Saturday Capitol Reef, Canyonlands National, Dead Horse Point State Parks- Ramada Inn, Moab, UT

We're back in Capitol Reef this morning and stop at Grand Wash for a short walk up a sandy wash to see more petroglyphs. We get to dawdle a bit since John realized he'd left his camera battery charger back at the motel. So Bob drove him back while we do our walk.  It's cool again this morning. I start with 4 layers and get down to one by Dead  Horse.

The wash is mostly a wide sandy trail past rock walls with carved out galleries. The wall of petroglyphs is easy to reach. We use the delay for plenty of photo ops, posing in the carved out galleries. Then back on the bus for the long drive toward Moab. Our first pit stop is in a cave. Interesting idea to use the natural rock walls to set up shop! There is a storage lot across the way with plenty of house boats. Rod explains these belong to folks from SLC who store them here for pickup/drop-off to and from Lake Powell. They look very strange out here in the desert- like a boat mirage.

Late that morning, we stop at Green River to visit the  John Wesley Powell museum and see a movie of their journey down the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1869. I read a novelization of George Bradley's diary some time back so much of the story is familiar, but the movie is very good and well worth the stop.

We have lunch across the highway and reach it via an underpass of the Green River bridge. On a ledge at the bottom of the bridge is a row of cliff swallows mud nests. They're something like wasp's nests. Acrobatic birds are flying into nest openings. They remind me of the weaver birds in East Africa. After lunch, we notice a the motel garden just off the parking lot by the bus. It has quite a few hummingbird feeders. Another photo op as the birds zip in and out. It's interesting that they use the clear nectar here. I wonder why we add the red dye?
Just "a few" miles later, we swing off the main road to visit Dead Horse Pt State Park - Utah's Grand Canyon. The Colorado River meanders have carved a deep gorge. There seem to be different theories on the name; I'm going for the one in which the cap rock looks like a horse. They "mine" potash by pumping up ground water into ponds lined with a blue tarp.  Evaporation leaves potash. The deep turquoise ponds look very out of place in a landscape of earth tones.

We drive on to Canyonlands NP and take a walk around a hill to see Mesa Arch. We can see a deep canyon through the arch and the snow covered La Sal mountains. Some problems with all the posing to get a clear view of the arch. Lots of flowers: desert evening primrose, some white flower, flowering cacti. Group photo op by the visitor center with canyon background. It takes some effort to get us all together. Rod drafts a tourist to take the picture.

Check into Moab at the Ramada. Rooms are definitely an upgrade, but my room is freezing cold at 62. Moab must be about 90 even in the early evening. Wash up and head up Main Street to find dinner. End up at Pasta Joe's for a great pizza the way I like them- super thin crust. Plenty enough for leftovers. There's a fridge in the room and we're staying 2 nights. We dawdle in the tourist shops on the walk back.
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