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Monday, July 23: Canyonlands / Needles

Wednesday, July 25: Arches

Tuesday, July 24: Canyonlands to Moab

Jim goofs

Last night we got rather a surprise. We had the fly on the tent, but we left the doors open to get some ventilation. Around 11:30 last night, it started raining. I closed my door, but Amy had bit of trouble with hers before closing it, so her side got a bit wetter.

The rain continued for a short while, and then a strong gusty wind came up that shook the tent violently (and loudly) every short while. The noise made it hard to sleep. Eventually, that wound down and we went back to sleep.

Usually out here, the night starts out warm (and I’m sticky), so I have a hard time falling asleep. Gradually things cool off, and just lying on the sleeping pad out in the open I fall asleep. Still later, it cools some more, and I drag the sleeping bag over me, more and more as the night progresses. Shortly before dawn it is the coolest, and I have the sleeping bag draped over almost all of me.

Last night was different. It started cooling off, but then around the middle of the night when I just started draping the sleeping bag over me, it seemed to start warming up. By dawn, when I would normally have my entire body covered with the bag, I was almost totally exposed again.

I think the reason is that we shut the doors when it rained. Then I think the tent held in our body heat, so the tent was significantly warmer than the air outside.

Today we leave Needles for Arches. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to do in Needles unless you have a high ground clearance 4WD vehicle, or unless you want to do an extended hike (e.g. 5-10 miles) in the dessert with no sources of water along the way.

Another unfortunate aspect of “monsoon season” is that we’ve been getting a lot of cloud cover and lots of afternoon thunderstorms. The net effect is that in the late afternoon and evening, there hasn’t been much direct sun, so the colors have been more muted. Even this morning, the sky is about 90% overcast, although knowing our luck, it will burn off by mid-day so that the sun can bake us.

All throughout breakfast, I have been watching this ant. It would crawl up to the top of the picnic table, whereupon I would blow it off. A few minutes later it, or one of its siblings, would crawl to the top of the table again. Very single minded.

I’ve also been marveling at this swallow who has been dipping and diving around catching bugs. It is amazing that it can find and catch the bugs at that speed. It is also amazing that it doesn’t burn more energy catching them than it gains eating them.

 - -

This turned out to be sort of a rest day. It was also a day for Jim (me) to goof.

After having breakfast and packing up camp, we drove to Moab, which was only 1-1/2 hours away. We saw a coyote on the side of the road, but when I tried to backup to get a photo shot, it started walking perpendicular to the road, next to a dirt road. I started driving down the dirt road, and it turned into a chase. We never got close enough to get a good picture before the road ended.

In Moab, we picked a hotel and checked in. We were going to be there for several days (since it is right outside of Arches and pretty close to Island in the Sky), so I took advantage of the internet in the lobby to order Amy a new camera. I couldn’t have done it at Mesa Verde as I couldn’t find it next day delivery.

My cable release was in my camera bag that was lost, so I figured that while I was getting a camera for Amy, I should get a new release for mine (for the elusive waterfall pix). So I placed an order for that as well.

We then had lunch at the buffet at a Chinese restaurant next door. It seemed like we were the only non-Chinese there.

Then we drove to the post office so that we could mail some stuff back. While I was looking for my marker to write the address on the boxes, I found...

my cable release!!!

It had fallen out of the bag it was supposed to be in, so I didn’t find it when I looked earlier. So I had assumed that it had been in my old camera bag, which was gone, as it had been earlier. Apparently not.

So I grabbed Amy’s cell phone, went on to Amazon’s web site, and managed to cancel the remote release order.

We shipped off the packages, then I walked over to the bank a block away, to get some more cash. In passing through a lot, I suddenly felt something grab my shoulder and yank me back. It turns out that the sleeve of my tee-shirt had ballooned out and had gotten hooked on a post in the ground. Unfortunately, the top was rough and it ended up ripping a half inch tear into my sleeve. Unfortunately, this was one of my more favorite tee-shirts.

We then drove to the Arches visitor’s center, but we weren’t doing too well. My back was feeling sore (not sure why, the way I slept?). Amy was feeling out of sorts (maybe dehydration). Mike was hungry.

So we just saw the video and checked out the naturalist-led activities. We signed up for a Friday trip through the Fiery Furnace. There are no trails there, so we will be “roughing it”. Friday was the earliest opening.

I would have wanted to do some driving through the park today, but I was out-voted, so we just returned to Moab and moved into the room. I took a shower and Amy took a nap.

While here, I decided to order an L-plate for my camera; so when that comes in, I should have essentially everything I lost.

Our plans are to hike to Delicate Arch tomorrow. Thursday we might do short hikes, and then on Friday do the Furnace.

(As a side note, I find it amazing how prevalent wireless internet is these days. It is amazing being able to drive around national parks and still be on the net.)

 - -

We just had dinner across the street at Zax. I had the Cobb salad which was amazingly good. I might have to try that again later.

Then we stopped by a gallery that caught our eyes on the way back. It was interesting to browse through the stuff inside and then marvel at the prices. To be fair, a lot of the stuff was really nice; I just wouldn’t want to pay that kind of money for it.

Then, after we returned to the hotel, I had to visit the hot tub with Michael.

It is strange. My memory of Moab, which is probably faulty, is of a sleepy one-horse town, with a pharmacy, gas station, a hotel or two, and not much more. Who knows, maybe it was 25 years ago. But now it is a large, bustling place, with stores galore, dozens of hotels, outdoor outfitters, galleries, etc. Very different from my memory.

Up to West Trip 2012 main page

Monday, July 23: Canyonlands / Needles

Wednesday, July 25: Arches