Utah 2023: Day 9

On the road to Canyonlands National Park, our final destination.

The usual diary of our planet’s checkered past…

The La Sal Mountains being a bit ominous.

The drive into the park only hinted at the nature of the place.

Across the street from the visitors center, large expanses of bare rock…

huge tracts of land. Note the humans for scale.

And then you’re at the rim.


You will have noticed the segment of road on the right. Most of the park is inaccessible to mortals without 4-wheel drive or who are not dedicated hikers. In fact, several of the regions aren’t even accessible from the main entrance. You have to go all the way back to Moab and start over in a different direction to reach the southern regions. Welcome to Canyonlands.

Driving out to the first viewpoint. You’re on a plateau, and it all looks normal.

On the path out to the viewpoint. Aren’t these lovely?

A close-up. I have no idea what they are, but if I lived out here they’d be in my front yard.

And there it is.


We have our very own Half Dome here. And see that big boulder in the lower left? Remember: It was not always there.


On the way to the next viewpoint. The cloudage was doing its thing, this time with downpours in the distance.

Just when you think you’ve seen all the erosion…


This here is what we call a “vista.”

You could clamber down some stairs and stroll along the rim for a bit. I opted not to…

… but my Lovely First Wife took the chance.

I think the thing that amazes me about this landscape is that it’s like recursive canyons. You’re standing at the rim of a 1,000-foot drop, looking down at another rim of another canyon.

This park was created in the 1960s. Part of the Johnson administration was thinking about damming the Colorado here, but wiser minds claimed it as a national park. (You can see bits of the Colorado, but these photos aren’t that detailed.)

I try to remember to look close by as well. The infinite forms erosion gives us is mindbending.

Piñon, I think?

Another conifer, not a bristlecone, but isn’t it lovely?

Finally, we hit the road to St. George, a five-hour drive. Cloudage was magnificent…

… or weird…

… or adorable.

We dined at the Spotted Pony, which is located in this really cool complex of shops and restaurants. Newnan City Council, this is what the Brown Steel property should be. I know you want a convention center, but how about something that we citizens can use on a regular basis?

In that same complex was Spiritual, a craft cocktail bar recommended to me by Goat, a dear burner friend. And when I say “craft,” I mean craft cocktails. It was late, so I had only one (a cedar-smoked Old-Fashioned). Pity.


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