Friday, June 24, 2016

2016 Grand Adventure, Day 5: Canyonlands National Park

You can find links to any other 2016 Grand Adventure posts at the "home page."

Day 5: We left our base camp in Moab around 9:15 am and drove to Canyonlands National Park. The entrance is a bit farther away than for Arches. We found many of the same types of formations at Canyonlands as at Arches, but less developed. There are lots of backcountry trails and campsites at Canyonlands, which would be great for a family with older kids or hiking without children. We didn't stray too far off the path.

One of my favorite pictures of the whole trip shows a river (Green or Colorado? I can't remember.) winding through Canyonlands.

Our first hike was Whale Rock. The ranger at the Visitor Center thought this would be a great place for the kids to climb and run around on their own, but Kansas Dad and I were a bit dismayed by the drop offs on every side. We climbed to the top and back down again pretty quickly without letting them have free rein. They were pretty grumpy and disappointed after the glory of Double Arch the day before.

Luckily we found Mesa Arch more to their liking. The opening of the arch frames stunning views of the canyon with an immediate cliff, so don't climb over or under it!

There was, however, a lovely rock formation off to the side where they could climb and slide.

On the way back to the van, Second Son spied a creature-home and decided a cousin of Mousy-Mouse lived there. (Mousy-Mouse is a stuffed kangaroo rat he bought at Great Sand Dunes last year. We find his relatives all over sandy and desert habitats.)

We found lots of amazing views.

First Son took some impressive pictures.

At the end of the day, the kids were less impressed with Canyonlands than with Arches. Arches is definitely easier to explore if you are less mobile and want to spend just a day or even a few hours seeing amazing rock formations. Given another chance, I think Kansas Dad and I would like to return to Canyonlands and spend more time backcountry, camping and hiking.

Total distance for day 5 - 103 miles.

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