Another early start this morning to head out to Canyonlands National Park. Canyonlands NP is quite a big park, consisting of 4 districts separated by the Colorado and Green rivers. The district closest to Moab, is appropriatley named the Island in the Sky. The mesa is on top of the sandstone cliffs, so there are lots of magnificant views out over the cliffs and canyon.
Unlike the Grand Canyon where the only hikes are intense and warn that you just might die, Island in the Sky has a right mix of trails from easy to intense. Again, one of our main reasons for leaving early was so we could walk some trails before it got too warm. The first trail was to Mesa Arch, a easyish trail out to an arch overlooking the cliff. The sun was just hitting the arch so it looked rather pretty.
Next trail up was Aztec Butte. It was medium graded, and it only had an elevation change of an odd 200 feet or so. But it failed to mention that the change was rather rapid and required climbing up a steep slickrock dome. The last scramble was a bit hard for me as being shortish I had trouble scrambling up the face as I couldn’t grab the rock ledge with my hand for a hold. Once up the top though the view was impressive, as it was very high on the mesa providing a view that on one side overlooked grassy dessert plains and on the other a canyon. Around the dome as well there were some ancestral Puebloan granaries. Climbing down the dome was fun… lots of sliding on bums and soles of boots to make it down safely.
Welcome to Canyonlands!
Me in front of the Mesa Arch. Sitting down felt safer than standing.
Gonna climb Aztec Butte
Green plains on one side…
Canyon on the other!
Ancestral Puebloan granaries
Yes, that is the trail on the edge
Look mum, no handrails! Thank goodness for hiking boots!
Another view from the top of Aztec Butte
Looking out over the Green River
Another canyon view