Go to Utah and hike/backpack for one week in the desert.
Perfect! I liked the thought of escaping the 150% humidity of the East Coast of the US. Go where it was dry. See some red rocks and gorgeous, endless blue sky. I was feeling less-stressed and very positive. Next step? Probably grab some maps and plan where that week of touring would take us.
I’m what you call a “map guy”. I love maps be they paper or online. I got some maps and together, we figured out that we could probably visit three National Parks: Canyonlands Needles District, Canyondlands Island in the Sky District, and Arches. So that was the plan. One week, our backpacks and gear, and the open skies!
We planned to roughly do the following:
- 3 days, 2 nights backpacking in Canyonlands – Needles District
- 1 day and night backpacking in Canyonlands – Island in the Sky District
- 1 day and night backpacking in Arches
- Other days would be miscellaneous days for visiting other sites, reprovisioning our backpacks, etc.
The Trip Arriveth
Myself and my two friends boarded the plane that would take us out to a hot, dry week of some wonderful sites. We had been checking the weather reports for the Moab, Utah area for several days (weeks?) before the trip and noticed these weird predictions of thunderstorms and showers. Really? In the desert? Nah. Quick check of the average rainfall for September turns out to be just 0.89 inches of rain. Heh. OK “thunderstorms”. I can handle 0.89 inches of rain. I’m from the East where we get that in an hour sometimes. And so we left for Utah understanding that there would be “rain” but we’d seen worse.
First Day in Town
|BLM Camping Map|
We flew into Grand Junction, Colorado, picked up a rental car and headed to the REI for those things we couldn’t pack on the plane (stove fuel and some food). We had planned on camping that night at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) area just west of Arches. We decided we’d play it by ear and find a spot once we got there.
|Sunset in Colorado|
And then we drove. Took a while to get to the place in Utah and, by then, the sun was setting. We found Long Canyon Road and stopped at where we thought was a good spot to camp before we drove over the edge of the cliff. In the dark, we unpacked our gear, tried to find some flat rock places and set up the tents
It did. It was a windy time too camped there on the rocks on the edge of a canyon. Our tent flies flapped in the wind and the rain came. Gently at first and then somewhat harder but definitely bearable. It subsided in the early morning and we arose to a cloudy view of the mountains (Mount Tukuhnikivatz, Mount Peale, and Mount Mellenthin). What a glorious way to wake up. Day two.
|Sunrise at our first night camp near Dead Horse State Park|