Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Canyonlands By Foot and Uinta By Dod

Captioned photos of Canyonlands National Park and Uinta National Park below.

But first, a word on WalMart. I've grown fond of the notorious WalMart over the past four weeks. Despite their unfair treatment of and poor wages for employees they've made a decent impression on me personally. WalMart provides me a lot to lay my head in every third night or so. WalMart sells me beverage to wet my whistle and ease my mind. WalMart gives me free DS and Wii games to sample. And most of all WalMart is a prime people-watching venue.

On that note, Salt Lake City WalMart is a special case. I saw one of the oxymoronic hairstyles I've ever seen : a slick poof patch of wavy black hair on the back of a shaved head. And me without a camera... The beer aisle offered a maximum of 3.2% alcohol. Say what?! Even disregarding the preconceived notions of Utah, I've seen and heard more children than I ever wish to again. In the women's restroom there were no less than three toddlers crawling unsupervised in and out of the stalls. Two more were yanking out paper towels by the dozens. One peculiarly pale young lady strutted her stuff down the aisles in a black tank top and jean skirt with heels she could barely stand in. Twice, people emerged out of nowhere in the parking lot soliciting tamales. And finally, our cashier had a lanyard made of human hair. Salt Lake City WalMart, you're one-of-a-kind. You can thank God for that!


Tuesday, the Dod got two separate compliments. The first was from a guy rubbernecking out of his own VW van to mouth "NICE VAN". The second was from the ranger at the Canyonlands visitor center who said "sweet ride!"

A breathtaking drive into the Canyonlands National Park (free once again thanks to our America the Beautiful pass) lead us to our campsite for the next two days. Fortunately, we were able to claim the very last site of out of the 12 at the camp. We took an evening stroll down to the Green River overlook to watch a sunset that never came due to overcast skies. On the menu for dinner: Beef & Brandy.
The Green River which carved out a channel of rocks that were deposited nearly 300 million years ago.
Chris and the Dod at our campsite at Willow Flat. There were rumors of a wildcat citing late on Tuesday night.

Wednesday morning we got an early start to attend a geology lecture with a park ranger. After the talk we took our newfound knowledge on a leisurely hike around Grand View Point overlook.
Me, posing after an informative geology talk by Ranger Nathaniel. I'm standing on the highest level of sandstone cliff referred to as the Wind Gate. The Wind Gate is made up of a dense matrix of well-sorted layers of sand lithophied hundreds of millions of years ago by weight and pressure when this land was nothing but a massive dry desert.
Chris posing while we hiked around the White Rim. The White Rim was formed after the Wind Gates when this land was a huge salt-water beach. The white edges of the cliffs were formed from the sand on the white beaches. The white rim is hard and erosion-resistant.
The center of the photo shows some of the Chinley Formations. They are also of the sedimentary variety, but less rigid and more prone to erosion. They were formed when the land was a tidal mud flat and the rivers deposited many different sizes of material from silt to boulders.
Breathing in the fresh air until a geriatric behind us let one loose that echoed through the canyons. No joke. Even Chris was like "What the hell was that!?"
The prom picture we never had.
Can you spot Chris Peters?
Chris wished he had his G.I. Joes to play with here. I wouldn't understand... I never played with dolls.

Tuesday afternoon after a lecture on John Powell, native Illinoisan who ventured west to map new land, we took another hike to view the Upheaval Dome.
Small rock piles guide the way and man-made stairs assist in the hike up the steep sandstone to Upheaval Dome.

View into the grand Upheaval Dome in the Canyonlands. Two main creation theories are it was either created by salt tectonics or by a massive meteor crash.

Chris curmudgeonly posing in front of the Upheaval Dome (his words, not mine)...

Me, doing an interpretive pose of this knotted, dead tree.
Lily the Lizard, tour guide.

Next, we took in the sights at Buck Canyon.
A fantastic display of the multilayered beauty of cumulous-rich blue sky, towering La Sal mountains in the background and Buck Canyon in the foreground.
A view of the White Rim.
More rocks.


Wednesday we departed the Canyonlands bound for Salt Lake City. The highway drive was more scenic than a lot of parks I've seen.
View from Highway 15 en route to Salt Lake City.
Another view from Highway 15.
The weather went from cold and windy to warm and sunny to cool and foggy to cold and rainy to mild and sunny.
Jesus wuz here.

We took the state 92 road which lead us thousands of feet above sea-level on winding roads for spectacular views. We almost camped in the high altitude for the night but decided against it due to cold temperatures and rain.
The Dod in front of a spectacular view in Uinta National Park near the Timpanogos Cave.
Hidden-away waterfall.
The Dod posing in front of the waterfall cache.
Another waterfall amongst the rocks.
These here are Dalmation Trees. There's 'bout a hunderd million of 'em on 92.
Snowy peak in the not-so-far distance.
On 92 in Utah. One of the top three most scenic drives of the trip thus far. This would have been very similar to our campsite view had we decided to camp for the night.

Alas, we opted for a WalMart instead for the night. It's been adventurous none-the-less, just not in the preferred outdoorsy way. Sweet dreams, guy with poofy slick patch. Sweet dreams, children crawling on bathroom floors. Sweet dreams, Dod. Sweet dreams, you.

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