lost, for a little while

the golden circle’s greatest hits: canyonlands
June 14, 2011, 2:34 am
Filed under: trips

Island in the Sky district

It was drizzling in Canyonlands when I arrived that morning. Heavy clouds blocked out the mountains in the distance, and when the wind pushed them higher, it looked like smoke billowing out of a volcano. It wasn’t hiking weather, but I wasn’t in any shape to hike at that point, either, thanks to an undisclosed incident from a previous point in time. So, a break from hiking? I was cool with that. Instead, I drove around in my heated car with the radio dial turned down low, and every so often, I’d turn off to the side of the road, get out, and just look.


I’d sit on the wet rock, trying over and over again to get my camera to produce all the little details that my eyes could see: the different levels of earth that acted like steps down into the chasms in the ground; the gloomy, gorgeous sky that cast shadows over stretches of land in the distance; all the different colors that popped, even in this relatively barren landscape, even in this overcast lighting.

It’s even cooler in person. Trust me.


One day, I’ll come back here. I might have read the corresponding chapter in my National Geographic book, but I was completely unprepared for this park. It’s huge–divided into four different districts–and I only had time to see one, the Island in the Sky. I’m happy with my choice, but would love to to explore the Needles and Maze districts one day, too.


Canyonlands was my first real taste of the wilderness. For destinations that are billed as alternatives to hotels and amusement parks, many of the national parks are surprisingly tricked out with amenities. Not this one. There are no restaurants, no hotels, no businesses pimping mule rides (yet). When I was there, they didn’t even have water to fill your canteen with at the visitors center (thanks, construction project). You need to be prepared if you’re going to seriously explore Canyonlands.

Next time, I will be.


Until then, I’ll just keep looking at my pictures. They say more than any of my words ever could.

Next up: Bryce Canyon.


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[…] Next up: Canyonlands. […]

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