On the Road # 17, 2003 - Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands NP
Wednesday, April 16 (Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands):
We went out on Dead Horse Point this AM. This whole area is a high mesa, 2000', above the Colorado River, with near vertical sides. The canyon views are spectacular. Dead Horse Point is about a 40 acre mesa, connected by a narrow neck only about 100' wide. Legend is, the name came because some early horse wranglers herded wild horses onto the point and trapped them by building about 100' of fence across the "neck". For reasons unknown (maybe they were celebrating their catch), the horses were left there too long without water and died. See "Dead Horse Point Pictures". We drove 20 miles each way to the main highway for car gas then drove 30 miles into Canyonlands NP. This is BIG country and there is nothing nearby anything. We drove all the paved roads in Canyonlands NP and stopped at all the viewpoints, getting over 100 digital photos. A photo really can't do justice to the expanse of this land. To get a better feel of the country, see "Panarama.jpg" and "Panarama2.jpg". Bring up the picture, full size, in your picture viewer and scroll slowly left and right to see the full view. For a composite photo see "Canyonlands". There is a jeep rally in the area this week. Many areas of the parks are only served by 4-wheel drive roads, of which there are, literally, 1000s of miles in SE Utah. Our Honda has 4 wheel drive, but sits low on the road so we'll have to be careful about getting on those roads. We may try a short trip or 2 before we go.
Thursday-Friday, April 17-18:
We will be here at the state park until Sunday, so we took Thursday off. Sue read and Joe wrote email and edited pictures. Friday, we drove one of the jeep roads through Pucker Pass (Yep, that's what they call it), and down Long Canyon Road (about 7 miles and 2000' drop) to Potash Road and the Moab Potash Mine. From there we drove the paved road to Wendy's in Moab for a spicy chicken sandwich. We returned to camp, the long way, on the highway, since we were not eager to see if the Honda could climb back up through Pucker Pass. See "Pucker Pass".
Saturday-Sunday, April 19-20:
Saturday we drove down the "Shafer Trail Road" in Canyonlands NP to the paved road at Potash. Legend has it was a cow trail which a guy named Shafer used to move his cattle to the mesa in summer and back to the valley in winter. Then the road was built to haul out uranium ore, which was discovered here in the 40s. It was much longer than the road we drove Friday and had longer streches of "rough and rocky" but we made it to the canyon floor and the potash plant near the river. We drove the paved road from there into Moab, got another chicken sandwich and returned 30+ miles by the highway. It would have been easier if we'd had a higher clearance vehicle but we got down OK. The canyon is just as impressive from down inside as it is from the top. Sunday we moved back to the OK RV Park in Moab. With the Jeep rally and Easter vacation ended and the crowds leaving, the RV park was glad to have us back and give us the Passport America discount. We'll be visiting Arches NP from here and will send our report on that before we leave.
Joe & Nancy Sue, On the Road, Moab, Utah