July 25, 2010
We drove north today up to Moab, Utah.
Along the way we saw a very interesting rock formation that looked very much like a Buddha to us. I tested out some new skills on the camera. Andrew is teaching me about photography and how to catch the best possible light for pictures. I have been also been playing around with the effects function, especially the BW setting.
Our destination is Dead Horse Point State Park. This park is located on top of a mesa that that is also shared with Canyonlands National Park. I have learned that a butte is a small formation that is flat on top and it’s sides extend straight up. This is what we viewed at Monument Valley. A mesa is very similar however has more land coverage. An easy way to think about it to compare them in size to a rock (butte) and boulder (mesa). Story has it that this mesa was once used to corral horses. The mesa at this particular point actually narrows to only a few yards and made it possible for cowboys to naturally corral the horses with limited fencing. However at some point the horses were just left trapped and died of thirst. Ironic as two thousand feet straight down was all the water they could ever need.
This park is also the setting for the final scene in the movie “Thelma and Louise” which filmed where they (Thelma and Louise) decide to drive over the edge of the cliff after being cornered by the police instead of being taken in. Much of the movie was filmed in the area, including Canyonland National Park (in the canyon regions), and through Monument Valley.
It is a very small park with only about 20 camping spots. It only has water in the restrooms as the water has to be trucked in daily. It has electric at each site and the sites even have covered picnic shelters that have light fixtures. The mesa is not very wide across and is easily accessible to the ridge completely all around as the width is less than a mile across at it’s largest width…..the ridges are without any obstructions such as fences and even visitors if you travel the trails lookouts. We are currently at 6500 ft. The sun is very intense and the temperature though only lower 90’s feels very intense. The difference we are noticing however is that in the shade it feels at least 10 degrees cooler and if you catch a breeze, even cooler and is very comfortable indeed (unlike the humidity we experience in Dallas even on the cooler summer days).
After we set up camp we decided to take a walk to the edge of the mesa. Shyla had been complaining the past couple of days about walking…..and we expect she may have burned the bottom of her soles as we have been taking her on more walks than she has had in a long time. Luckily we have the boots we bought for her last year when she got sick. She took a minute or two of the shaking the leg as she walked but by the time we hit the trail head she was almost at a jog. She seems much more eager now. Shyla must have been able to smell all the previous people to guide her way because the trail wasn’t actually a trail that you could see as you normally would due to the terrain being mostly rock. Instead every 20-30 ft would be 3 or 4 rocks sitting on top of each other to lead the way. Shyla didn’t miss a step and lead us down to the edge….and well…..WOW…..after a short 15 minute hike we found ourselves at the edge of the mesa with the canyons 2000 feet below. Shyla found a nice short bush to take a break from the sun and cool off as Andrew and I took turns standing on the edge to have our picture taken. This definitely out beats the Grand Canyon as you are more up and personal with the canyon.
We took these pictures of our campsite after we returned to our site and as the sun set in the horizon. We were lucky tonight to see a fox as it came out for forage for food in the brush behind our site.
After dinner we took a drive to the point (where the poor horse perished). This seemed to be an attraction for tourist to pass through as they have a magnificent viewing area of the canyons below and into the Canyonlands National Park. Down below (2000 ft remember) are all these small dirt roads that are accessible by 4 x 4 vehicles only. We almost had an “incident” though as someone made a negative remark about Shyla wearing boots, comparing her to the sweater wearing dogs. There was steam rolling off Andrew so it was lucky that it was getting dark at this point. I was reminded of the old episodes of “The Hulk” and waiting any moment to the hear the growl as he transformed. Shyla on the other hand pranced around proudly in her boots because all she cared about was that her feet were no longer being burned on the hot pavement.
We finished the night with the image of a beautiful sunset.