Sunday 2nd. Storms and Sunsets.
Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point are both within easy reach of Moab. We head for Dead Horse Point first to enjoy a viewpoint over a bend in the Green River where a famous fictional pair took a leap off the edge in their car at the end of ‘ Thelma and Louise’. We can see the setting almost a mile below our viewing spot and notice the tiny dots that are cars parked below on the edge of the cliff.
In the distance a thunderstorm is brewing which adds drama to the moment and the already awe inspiring view of the aptly named Green River sweeping in a loop and carving a huge canyon below.
We walk the rim for a short while as the storm steadily approaches. All warnings are to keep away from the rims of Canyons and to find shelter in these situations. While I am pretty sure the storm cloud will skirt around us we decide to make it back to the car just in time as the fringes of the storm hit and the heavens open.
We are high up here at over nine thousand feet and the advice is to drink up to nine litres of water a day in the heat of the day. The fact it is now pouring does not change this advice because in minutes a bright sun is out again in a crisp fresh and thin atmosphere that literally sucks you dry.
It is said that if you feel thirsty it is already too late and you are probably dehydrated which will lead to headaches, and a feeling of disorientation. We are advised to eat salty nibbles to maintain levels. Marilyn has really taken this to heart and I am force fed water and snacks at every turn and so we avoid the symptoms that can be so debilitating.
So we gurgle along into Canyonlands. Established in 1964 it is a relatively recent National Park of over five hundred square miles. We are warned as we enter the park that there is ‘ no gas, food, water or lodgings in Park’ and to be prepared
It is very rugged with only a few miles of paved road and is best seen in an off road vehicle but we are able to enjoy two lovely moments.
The first is at Mesa Arch. The view is stunning but the behaviour of a few ( sadly American) males its not so impressive. Despite requests to keep off the arch a young guy decides he wants to take a. Photo opportunity and starts to walk over it. He is met by yells of indignation and disapproval from several onlookers and one calls him a ‘dumb ass’. This insult is met by more fury than the original act and soon two grown men in the middle of all this natural beauty are squaring up to each other and threatening violence. Like the storm we saw earlier it is soon over but leaves a bad taste. How quickly violence can escalate never ceases to amaze me.
We drive on to Grand View Point at the end of the road and take a mile hike around the rim to the furthest viewpoint. The river has certainly done its work here and the plateau below us is aptly named White Rim because of the odd colour in the rock. It is hard to believe that the river is almost two miles below us at this point.
And then to our last destination at Green River Overlook where we relax and wait an hour or so for the sun to set. The changing light is magical, first draining the rocks of all colour and then injecting them with a brilliant red and orange or highlighting the greys and whites in the valley.
It is not long into our drive out of the Canyon before the light fades completely l leaving a jet black sky filled with stars.
Just like the storm that passed so quickly earlier so the day is suddenly and dramatically over.