Monthly Archives: May 2014

Moab, Arches National Park, Canyonlands, and more

May 17

I arrived in Moab on Saturday. It rained Saturday night and all day Sunday. Over 1.5 inches for an area that averages 9.0 for the whole year. Very unusual for this time of year in the desert. So I did laundry, grocery shopping, housekeeping and took two showers. That’s a whole weeks worth.

Monday I moved to Arches NP for two nights. It was cool and windy but I had a very scenic campsite. Arches was beautiful, but way too crowded. I went to 3 different trailhead parking areas unable to park or hike because of crowds. I recently re-read the Edward Abbey book Desert Solitaire .  Abbey describes his love of the desert while working as a seasonal park ranger in Arches National Monument in the late 60’s.  In the book he fears what will happen to Arches as it gets National Park status. He termed it Industrial Tourism. He was right on all his predictions as visitors have climbed from 3,000 annually to over a million. I know it is cynical for me to complain about “Industrial Tourism” as I camp in the luxury of my Airstream. But hey, I have been called cynical all my life so what else is new.

In a recent blog I follow, a fellow RV’er commented about how funny it is watching folks scurrying to take pictures of squirrels and chipmunks. In Arches, I found it amusing tourists posing in front of the large photos of the arches in the visitor center. “Hey the real ones are just a few miles from here, get out of the car”.

After Arches, I moved back to Moab and visited Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park. Canyonlands, particularly the southern entry or “the Needles” area was beautiful without the crowds.

I hit all five National Parks in Utah along with some great National Monuments, State Parks, and National Forests. I have finished the first “planned” leg of my journey. The last month in Southern Utah has been amazing. I just left my Airstream in Moab and am driving back to Chicago for a rest. I gave a nice old lady $ 60.00 and she promised my trailer would still be there when I return around July 1st.

 

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Busy Boy

May 10

Well I stayed a few more days at GSENM and then drove up the road to Capital Reef National Park. I hiked around Capital Reef for a few days. It is very scenic and as far as NP’s go quiet. Maybe it just seemed quiet because I have now gone for 10 days without cell phone coverage and only coffee shop (pretty sparse) internet access. No it was quiet I went on a three mile hike on a marked trail and so no one else. Try that in Zion or Bryce.

Last night I stayed in the small town of Green River and this morning moved down to the Moab area where I will be checking out Arches and Canyonlands National Parks over the next several days.  It is civilized here (meaning restaurants, coffee shops and wifi).

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GSENM

image imageMay 5, Cinco de Mayo

OK, raise your hand if you have ever heard of the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. Well don’t feel bad, it is relatively new as far as monument status goes. So if your my age your parents didn’t take you here.

To be honest, if you are any age, unless your parents were really into rugged wilderness adventure sports like canyoneering, paleontologists (I think Ross on Friends was one) or hiding from the government you’ve probably not been here. If your very lucky you’ve driven between Bryce NP and Capital Reef NP on Scenic Highway 12.

GSENM is about 2 million acres of huge multicolored plateaus, cliffs and canyons mostly in a desert environment. I have been here for 5 days so far and it is cool. It has grand vista views as far as you can see, great hiking, beautiful campsites and friendly people. It doesn’t have cell phone coverage, internet access, tourist gift shops or many paved roads. The Touareg has gotten a workout.