Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016 – Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, Drive to SLC.

We started early today because we had so much to see and so many miles to drive. We pulled out of our “Days Inn” hotel at 7:48am and headed straight into the sunrise in our eyes. After 40 miles of more beautiful canyons, we drove through Hanksville.  This is significant because we got to see the Ephraim Hanks Tower yesterday in Capitol Reef N.P.  I mention Ephraim Hanks because he is very famous in Utah pioneer history. They even made a movie about him called “Ephraim’s Rescue”. It was a great movie.

In Hanksville we happened across two wild pheasants walking alongside the road. Who knew there were wild pheasants in the middle of the desert in Utah? The first one we saw was a brightly colored male. He was beautiful. Unfortunately I was driving down the road so fast I didn’t have time to pull out my camera and take a picture. We saw the female about two minutes later and this time I had my camera ready as I hit my brakes. It’s not the best picture but at least I got her.

Our first national park today was Canyon Lands. We thought we could see it all in two hours but two hours turned into four.  That put us behind a lot and we knew we weren’t going to be able to see everything in the park we wanted to. 

Canyon Lands was very beautiful and worth the price of admission. Well. . . . we get in free so all of the national parks we’ve visited are worth it. We learned a lot of the history of the area and the scenic overlooks were magnificent, just like they’ve been at all the other parks. But. . . . . at the end of the day we wished we had skipped the whole park in deference to Arches National Park. We simply didn’t have time to see both in one day and still make the 277 mile drive to Salt Lake City before dark. 

We were running on Empty at 2:00pm so we had to drive in to Moab UT. to fill our tank at the Maverick station. At the check out the lady behind me in line said, “Is that you Uncle David?” It was Shannon Weir, Bruce & Lois’ youngest daughter. Shannon, her husband Donald and their son are on their way to Colorado to visit Shannon’s sister Dixie and her family. What a great coincidence!  We had a great visit with them for several minutes before we parted company. They headed south to Bayfield Colorado and we headed north to Arches National Park.

Once we arrived in Arches National Park we realized that we couldn’t begin to see everything in the two and a half hours we had left in the day. To do this park justice we should have planned to spend the whole day there and maybe two. We would have needed our hiking boots, back pack, extra water and extra camera batteries.  Some of the arches can be seen from the road or scenic overlooks but most required a hike of 1 to 5 miles. We just weren’t prepared and we didn’t have the time this beautiful and magnificent park deserves.

We did see a lot of the arches and a ton of world class scenery in the two and a half hours we were there. I took a ton of great pictures. 

By 4:30pm we were on our way to SLC through another part of Utah neither of us had ever been through. We saw more magnificent scenery and majestic mountains along the way and enjoyed every mile of the drive. We got to our hotel in SLC before 8:30, just a little after dark.  

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