Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Utah Rocks: Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point, Gemini Bridges

Day two started out with a sleep in and then attending the 10:00 sacrament meeting of the Green River Ward--nice talks, patriotic songs, and more than a few cowboy boots and bolo ties. There were quite a few tourists visiting along with us. The member of the bishopric who was conducting jokingly said that they were planning to close the on-ramps to I-70 so that all the visitors would be forced to take up residence and bolster the membership of the smallish ward.

Our first stop was Canyonlands National Park. This was a first time visit for all of us to the northern section appropriately named Island in the Sky.

We started out with a nice hike out to White Rim overlook.

Brief view of the Colorado River.

We ventured no further. The La Sal Mountains are in the distance to the east.

Impressively stack cairns marked the trail--Will added the last four stones to this one.

Next stop was the Grand View Point Overlook which looks southward--somewhere out there the Colorado River (coming from the left/east) and the Green River (from the right/north) merge.

The Green River.

The Shafer Trail Road was carved to enable ranchers and miners to access the white rim.

Shafer Canyon Overlook

Tradition has it that early ranchers used the Dead Horse Point promontory as a horse coral. All that was needed to keep the horses in place was a fence across the narrow neck. Problem is the only water was that of the Colorado River down the cliff side. When ranchers failed to bring in water many horses died.

The view east.
Potash processing ponds.
The view south to the Colorado River.

The Goose Neck--most impressive view of the day.

Canyonlands and the Shafer Canyon Road in the distance.

For our final stop we decided to venture off road to Gemini Bridges.

 Biking the road Summer 2005 for our Young Men high adventure.

The wide, walkable and bikeable twin tops of the parallel bridges.

Marie's first time out on the bridge. This was not the first time she was heard to say: "O my goodness!" Nor was it the first time of the day she was worried or nervous.

I had read that the drive down to the bridges was passable, but then from there down to the main road it was a bit rough. I decided the Subaru was made for such a task so I made no mention of road quality. The description was accurate.

Looks like a totem pole.

Looking across to the windows section of Arches.

The roughest part. Marie's nervousness made for lots of laughs and a fun ride. I drove extra carefully. We were passed many times by faster moving jeeps and ATVs.

The end is within sight.  From there it was a 30 minute drive back to Green River where we had delicious food truck tacos.