Thursday, October 23, 2008

Max & Diane's Adventure - Day 7

6:30 am. No sunlight. No wakey.

8:30 am. Max isn't stirring. I'm certainly not going to.

9:00 am. Ah ha. He's finally waking up.

10:00 am. We're finally more alert, but since Max seems to be in no hurry, I'm just going to hang out on the internet and catch up on my life!

10:45 am. Packing for the day. We're not going to be back until late.

11:00 am. Gas and a quick stop at the local Visitor's Center for maps and advice.

11:31 am. The Aspens glisten in the sunlight. We are traveling to Newspaper Rock up into the Canyonlands. That's the reason you stop at a Visitor Center. They give you the best way in. The silver Aspens and green pine trees mix together in glorious beauty. Every once in awhile, a large grove of Aspens just make you stop and stare ... or take a picture.

11:46 am. Stop at an overpass. Glorious! We read a little about the Abajo people. They lived in cliffs and canyons for 8000 years. Later on the Pueblo Indians lived here.

11:53 am. This is going to be a long trip if we keep pulling over, but at least Max is enjoying himself.

12:29 pm. Newspaper Rock State Park. We stop for Max to take more pictures and there's an outhouse. That's always exciting. Racks and racks of toilet paper on the wall. I giggled. Then I read the sign: "Don't put trash in toilet. It is extremely difficult to remove."

Errr ... what? That has to be one of the worst jobs ever.

12:46 pm. Can't even figure out what picture to shoot. It is all so glorious. The layers of color in the rock are incredible. Combine that with shades of green on the ground and yellows and oranges of turning trees and it becomes breathtaking!

Just looked in the mirror to see if I could see Max without turning around and looking for him (that would require disturbing Leica and she just settled down). I brushed my hair back and saw more grey. Argh! Tanya, I'm calling when I get home.

We've seen a lot of older couples as we've traveled through the southwest. Since Max just turned 50, we are approaching their ages and will soon be there. That just can't be! How many old people do you know that choose to sleep in a wigwam? Tell me we're still not old.

Every time we come over a rise or around a bend, there is another awe-inspiring view. I seem to gasp a lot. The deep reds have returned to the rocks. Sometimes they are combined with white stone. Layers and layers of stone and color. A dream for a geologist.

One of the men who discovered this land was John Wesley Powell in the 1800s. He said (in 1875):

"The landscape everywhere, away from the river, is of rock - cliffs of rock; plateaus of rock; terraces of rock; crags of rock - ten thousand strangely carved forms. Rocks everywhere...

"When speaking of these rocks, we must not conceive of piles of boulders, or heaps of fragments, but whole land of naked rock, with giant forms carved on it: cathedral-shaped buttes, towering hundreds or thousands of feet; cliffs that cannot be scaled, and canyon walls that shrink the river into insignificance, with vast, hollow domes, and tall pinnacles, and shafts set on the verge overhead, and all highly colored buff, gray, red, brown, and chocolate; never lichened; never moss-covered; but bare, and often polished."

That's just an amazing description of all that we see here. Canyonlands is 547 square miles of National Park land. It is some of the roughest and wildest land. Most of it is completely inaccessible except for hikers. Some of it you can only access by river, some will tolerate a 4x4 vehicle, but not well.

1:48 pm. Needles District of Canyonlands. I won't let Max drive on the worst of the 4-wheel drive roads. A Wrangler or ... they say we need a lift kit. Oh my! I am a terrible chicken and he's trying to be nice to me about it. But, as I read more and more about this - there is no way that we are going to get in and get out again. Very steep, big rocks ... oh dear. We'll just have to find beautiful things on passable roads.

Max is a bit startled about the number of people in the park today. The last time he was here, it was empty. His comment, "What are all these people doing in my park?

4:00 pm. We keep getting warnings about wildlife running on the roads. Deer season ended yesterday and the hunters are pulling out. The Visitor's Center guide told Max that animals would be running like crazy to get out of their way. Yah ... I've seen NO wildlife (crows don't count). But, I finally saw these open range cattle. Does that count?

5:15 pm. In Moab, UT for dinner. This is the first meal we've had today. Steak. No talking, just eating.

6:30 pm. Heading back to Monticello for the night. I'll leave you with a sunset.

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