Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, & Zion Treks

February 25 - March 4th - 2006

- Click Here For Larger Image -Sandstone Sculpture

After an afternoon of exploration, we returned to camp and marveled at the scenery and the watched the shadows lengthen across the park as the sun settled behind the western horizon.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -Evening at Chesler Park

As the sun was setting in the west, K watched and photographed the scenery on the south side of camp as I watched and photographed on the north side of camp. We didn't want to miss any of the wonderful photo opportunities that were being presented to us.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -Chesler Park Sunset

The end of a glorious day. As the sun's glow faded, we had dinner and watched the stars glimmer and sparkle above. When we retired to the tent, we discussed the next days hike to Elephant Canyon and Druid's Arch (and to find a water source).

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- Click Here For Larger Image -Elephant Canyon

We awoke to clear blue skies. Again we were surprised and pleased by the mild overnight temperatures. After breakfast, we were left with one liter of water each. We expected to find some water at Elephant Canyon enroute to Druid's Arch. Our packs had snacks and empty water containers as we headed back to the Elephant Canyon junction.

From our camp, it's one mile of cliffy, rocky descent to the bottom of Elephant Canyon. When we reached the bottom we encountered a pair of backpackers, a couple of the very few people we saw while we were in Canyonlands. They had spent the night at Big Springs Canyon Camp site.

We turned right and followed the dry stream bed up the canyon. With a small sense of relief we found some pools of water about a mile up the canyon. We would stop here on our return from Druid's Arch to refill all our water containers.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -Druid's Arch

Continuing on from the water source for another mile we reached the head of the canyon. Billowing clouds were forming as we approached the head of the canyon. We were a little concerned about the possibility of a thunder shower. But it didn't happen.

From the head of the canyon, the trail turned up a steep rocky slope. About half way up the slope a ladder is anchored to the rock providing a welcome assist getting up a 12 foot rock face. We scrambled up the remaining slope to a vantage point with an inspiring view of Druid's Arch, a mammoth 246 foot tall natural monument. Turning away from the arch, we had an equally inspiring view back down Elephant Canyon.

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- Click Here For Larger Image - Leaving Chesler Park

After two days and two nights in Chesler Park, it was time to leave. Of course, our last day in Canyonlands had the best weather. Cloudless skies and pleasant temperatures accompanied us on our hike back to the trail head.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -The Cleft Leading to Chesler Park

From Chesler Park we followed the trail through the cleft. It was still cool in the morning shadows and the warmth of the desert sun was welcome.

We stopped to look back at the cleft the separates Chesler Park from the outside world. Our time in the Park was memorable. Now it's time to retrace our steps back to Squaw Flats.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -The Needles

We took a similar photo on our hike into Chesler Park. But with the clear azure skies and the deep morning shadows, we had to stop for another photo. This image really captures the character of Canyonlands Needles District.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -Cairns Across the Slick Rock

The cairns are the primary route finding tool across the slick rock. These small piles of stone guided us through the maze of canyons, over slick rock ridges, up narrow defiles and across the sagebrush flats.

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- Click Here For Larger Image -The Bad Lands from Ghost Rock

Back on the road. As we made the drive back toward Las Vegas, we made several road side stops including photo opportunities at Six-shooter Peak, San Rafael Reef and Ghost Rock.

The maze of canyons that is the Bad Lands was the perfect hideout for bands of renegade Indians and the infamous Butch Cassidy and the Hole in the Wall gang. It was virtually impossible for the law men to root the bad guys out of their hidden sanctuaries.

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