Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 3: Utah!

I now understand why Utah license plates have an exclamation point after their state name: "UTAH!" it reads. Any other state would be very pretentious in this. Illinois could barely get by with a period. New Jersey might do with a question mark, but Utah certainly reserves the right to self-exclamatory statements. Bekah and I agreed their state motto should just be "woooooow!" as we found ourselves saying that every 30 seconds on our drive. Our adventure started at 3:00 AM at Great Basin Nat'l Park, NV, near the Utah! border, under the brightest stars and God's flash photography studio (crazy electrical storms, we learned, are the norm over Wheeler Peak, in the park).

Sunrise over one of the many valleys we traversed between two of the many mountain passes we went over. Driving through Utah is basically an extended roller coaster ride, especially on the backroads.
Bekah demonstrating the majesty of this canyon along Hwy 50.
One of our first views of the bizarre landscape that is Arches National Park. Epic. I'm convinced it was a giant troll's playground. Running with that theory, here are some petrified dribble castles on the horizon.
Just taking an afternoon stroll, Utah style, which inevitably involves sandstone, sagebrush, and absolutely unbearable heat

Very happy about the incredible views and the decision to purchase a sunhat. Unbelievable, sunburn has NOT been an issue this trip. Mosquitos in the Colorado River gorge...that's another story.
The Delicate Arch is iconic. Some may pay tribute to its beauty by publishing 2 billion post cards and advertisements, but we've always preferred the handstand method of homage.

Take the 128 junction, about 5 miles north of Moab, and take the easily missed Negro Bill's Canyon trail (trailhead in photo; we couldn't bring the camera due to a crazy dust/rain storm an hour earlier. 50 mph gusts out of nowhere...). Follow the trail through sand along the creek and slickrock along the canyon's edge. in 1.8 mi take the second tributary canyon on the right (you can't miss it, given the 1000 ft. cliffs on either side. Mind the poison ivy, check for golden eagles and bighorn sheep, and you end up at an enormous natural bridge more that appears more structurally sound (and beautiful) than the Golden Gate. There's also a creek gushing out of a 4 inch vertical fissure in the cliff. Moses was here.

Just chilling with some fellow travelers. crop the fuel cap and the website and they're almost real children...

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