Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Needles of Stone

Canyonlands National Park, Utah - The Needles

There are four parts to Canyonlands divided by the Green and Colorado Rivers, so it's not possible to drive from one part to the other. The most visited areas are the Island in the Sky and The Needles. There is also the Maze and the rivers themselves. We decided to concentrate on the first two.

Coming from Monument Valley we ignored Tom Tom’s suggestion and came up the 191 and apart from a few bumps which made most of our clothes come off their coat hangers, all was fine. We had left behind 40 mph winds from the night before and traded it for lower temperatures. It feels like winter again. The campgrounds in both parts of the park we wanted to go to have a campground but they won’t allow anything larger than 28’, and we are 35’. So the next closest campground in the Needles was the Needles Outpost, which for $20 a night gave us a nice spot but no hook ups, just outside the National Park. All water is carted in, so they would not have been happy if we had refilled our tank. They offer showers for $7 and food for your BBQ if you didn’t bring enough food such as steak and chicken filets. If you didn’t want to cook, they sold, you guessed it – hamburgers!

The Needles area has red and white banded pinnacles which tower 400 feet over grassland and sheer-walled valleys. The best photograph that I saw of this area would have taken six hours to get to, I'm not sure if that was return, either way, I wasn't going. Apparently there are arches in this part of the park but they are only accessible by long hikes or 4WD. While we have a 4WD, the descriptions of the roads (read steps) made us think that our wheelbase would be too long and that we might get stuck. After last week, we didn't need any more drama with our truck.

the Needles are at the back, better get back to the truck, those clouds look nasty

With the cold temperatures came clouds which ruined any chance of a sunset but we went out anyway. Then overnight it snowed! The morning was overcast so we didn’t need to head out for any sunrise shooting. 

Newspaper Rock

During the day we decided to do all the easy walks which totaled 6.5 kms. During our second walk we started talking to an English couple. Derek told us that he normally photographs wildlife, Sally said their favourite place was Kenya. Do you know Brian Freeman? Lindsay asks… yes, that’s where we go! It just shows what a small place the world is, people from two different countries knowing the same person in a third country. And what were the odds that we even started talking to them as we didn’t speak to anyone else on our walks that day!

As we were doing our last walk we could see the dark clouds rolling in, we were a little bit worried about being caught in a storm.  When we were a few hundred metres from our truck it started to snow. We passed three couples who were just starting their walk - when it was snowing on them!

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