December 4, 2011

The Canyonlands of Moab, Utah

Over Thanksgiving weekend, the Taylor-Lenz family headed up to do some exploring up in the Canyonlands area of Moab, Utah. Way back in 2002, Linda and I went up there on a whirlwind trip from Page for Thanksgiving, which included Natural Bridges National Monument, Canyonlands National Park (Needles and Island in the Sky Districts), Arches National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park.

Colorado River Gorge just northeast of Moab

This time we decided to settle ourselves into Moab for 4 night and just explore the immediate area and hit some sites we had never seen before. This will be the first in a series of posts about what we saw.

Our first day in Moab, we headed up the Colorado River Gorge about 25 miles to an area known as Fisher Towers. This BLM site has a 2.3 mile trail out-and-around these towers, which eroded out of the cliffs, and then out onto a ridge to view up the narrow Fisher Valley.

Hiking up toward Fisher Towers

What shocked us more than the spectacular red rock cliffs and narrow towers, was that somehow there were people climbing them! We noticed that the handful of climbers who went up one of them would stand on the top (maybe a 1-foot square horizontal space) to get a picture taken and then immediately start working its way down. Funny thing is that when we got back to the hotel that night and watched a little TV, we saw a commercial with a climber standing on that very tower.

Base Jumpers flying by the towers with the Colorado River in the distance

The other thing we first heard and then saw were BASE jumpers flying off the cliffs high above the towers and then swinging dangerously close the towers as they tried to get a close look. At one point I heard a jumper yelling "TURN! TURN NOW!" as two parachutes were heading directly for each other in a collision course. Luckily, one of them maneuvered away just in time.

View out toward Castle Valley

As we continued along the sides of the cliffs, the trail got narrower and steeper and we decided at one point to stop at a nice open ledge to let Hilina play in a sandy spot as we finished the last 3/4th of a mile one-at-a-time. The views out across the Castle Valley and the Colorado River Gorge were spectacular!

Hilina playing on the rocks

More to come...

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