Canyonlands is divided into 3 distinct parks, and on our way into Moab last night, we passed one of them (as well as a town that obviously tried to be the landing place for visits, but ultimately could not compete with Moab for the honor).
There are a lot of barely-towns out here, full of gas stations that no longer have pumps, and restaurants whose parking lots are almost entirely overtaken with the grass growing up through their crumbling pavement.
In any case, the GPS assures us that to visit the Islands in the Sky portion of the park, we need to head the opposite direction out of Moab. It isn’t far at all, and we pass both Arches National Park and Canyonlands By Night & Day – tomorrow’s destinations – en route. So now we really have the lay of the land.
Canyonlands feels like it could have acted as the introduction, or perhaps should have been saved for the summary, of our trip. Large, impressive canyons (but not at the scale of the Grand Canyon, of course, as so very little can be). Hoodoos. Monuments and spires. Even the occasional arch, to whet our appetite for Arches tomorrow. It’s so very like so much that we’ve seen, and still so very beautiful, and we get a beautiful day for it.
After a few hikes on yet another hot day, and scenic drives, we decide to forego a visit to Dead Horse State Park and just head back to Moab for a early night.* We order takeout from Paradox Pizza, easily the best pizza in Moab, and if it’s still not quite up to NY/NJ standards, it’s still impressively better than what we got our first night in the GC.
* Early night: After pizza, we settle into the hotel room with glasses of wine and cold meds and watch TV and when I start making sounds about it being late and going to bed, Dad suggests I peek out of the closed curtains for a second… it may feel late to my body, but it’s 7:30 PM and the sun is still hours from settings. I’m still asleep within a half-hour or so. The better to get an early start at Arches tomorrow.