Up and the bus was going by 8:00 a.m. Today the plan was to drive back through Capitol Reef National Park, then visit the John Wesley Powell Museum, see the Dead Horse Point State Park, and end the day at Canyonlands National Park. We reversed a few things in case the weather turned and ended up visiting the state park last.
Our first stop of the day was in Hanksville. We’d had quite the lead up to the magnificent homemade cinnamon rolls available at a little restaurant in Hanksville. Our leader had even asked how many folks were going to buy and she pre-ordered 20 cinnamon rolls. This morning many people skipped breakfast in anticipation. Well, wouldn’t you know it. We pull into the TINY (did I say tiny?) town of Hanksville and many of our group rush over for cinnamon rolls and coffee… only to find out that the supplies delivery was rescheduled and no cinnamon rolls were available. For once, I was glad I had not planned on getting one. It was quite a disappointment after the build-up we’d had for the past couple of days.
Back on the bus and we drove to the John Wesley Powell museum. J.W. Powell was the first man to go down the Green River from Utah AND navigate the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. At the time he and his group of men did this amazing feat, the whole area was uncharted and there was no way to know where rapids where, what was around the next corner (perhaps a waterfall), etc. It really was quite amazing. We watched a brief film that was a condensed version of their 120 minute movie, and it made the journey almost like a ride at Disneyland – everything was sweetness and wonderful. In fact, if you want to read about the trip and be as impressed as I am, pick up the book Down the Great Unknown by Edward Dolnick.
I did finally find a good book to buy for my one-year old granddaughter, Kate. I hope you enjoy coyotes, Katie!
I did see a t-shirt with this quote on it (should have bought it, but…):
I’d rather be in the mountains thinking about God
Than be sitting in church thinking about the mountains.
After a buffet lunch (!) it was back on the bus – but first! The bus driver ran over and told me to grab my camera and hurry. We went to the front of the bus and saw this (I think it’s called a leaf hopper?)
We then headed for Canyonlands National Park. It was a bit of a drive, but we were entertained along the way by a museum about the Mormon settlers in the south east corner of the state. Quite interesting and talk about perseverance! The video we watched was Journey of the San Juan Colonizers, Hole-in-the-Rock Expedition.
Finally, Canyonlands! Some quick facts: established as a National Park in 1964 and expanded in 1971, 527 square miles, 4,000 to 6,000 feet in elevation.
Honestly, we didn’t get a chance to spend too much at Canyonlands; there’s just too much to see in southern Utah for a ten-day trip. We saw some motorcycle riders and they said that they stop and take lot of pictures ,and average 30 miles a day!
Here’s a classic shot from Canyonlands. It shows the Mesa Arch along with an intrepid traveler – NOT someone from our group!
And here’s one showing how dry and desolate it is in Canyonlands, when you’re not looking at the fantastic views.
On to Dead Horse Point State Park for our last stop of the day. To get here you drive along a plateau and there’s not much to see, just land and more dry land. You suddenly see the land falling off to both sides of the road and realize you’ve driven out onto a point of land with just a narrow bit of land to get there. Legend has it that pioneers thought that this “point” of land was a good place to keep horses, since all they had to do was block off the narrow bit of access land – just 30’ wide and poof – instant horse containment, in the form of cliffs thousands of feet deep. The legend continues that the pioneers forgot to come out and water the horses, and they all died of thirst, even though there were within view of the Colorado River, 2000 feet below.
I’m now in my room. Although I have a hotel room to myself each night, this is the first time I’ve only had one bed. I miss being able to spread my stuff all over the spare bed! I also cannot figure how how I get so tired when I sit on a bus all day, but I’m pooped and heading to bed early.