Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

Moab, Utah May 2015 – I knew Moab was a very popular place on Memorial Day and that all the RV parks were booked for the weekend but I justified heading that way without a reservation because it was only the Wednesday before the holiday weekend and there were so many first come first serve campgrounds listed in the directories of the area. I stopped at a campground in town that was reported to offer water and a dump for only $5, Slickrock Campground. Without much optimism I asked if they might have a site for the night. They said they did but only for Wednesday night and I gratefully paid them $43 for a water and electric site so that I didn’t have to drag my rig all over the countryside looking for a campsite.

I dropped my 5th wheel in a site and headed out to find a place to plant myself for the remainder of the week. I drove over 70 miles to a half dozen BLM campsites and an area called Sand Flats Recreation Area. I looked at about 200 sites only to find few large enough for my rig and all of those taken. I was about to head back to camp to rest and look again after dinner when I decided to try one more spot. I read that Ken’s Lake, 8 miles south of Moab, had 31 sites, all large enough for a medium sized rig. I arrived and found this was not completely true but was happy to find 2 sites large enough to accommodate me still available. I gratefully paid $15 per night for the next 6 nights including the one I had already paid for in town. I locked up my scooter and cooler in plain sight, put my paid receipt on the pole, and a line of rocks across the drive, and headed back to Moab for the night. I am grateful I found this campsite when I did. By the time I moved in Thursday morning every site was full and stayed that way until Monday.

Ken’s lake turned out to be an amazing camp. My site was HUGE. A stream runs behind the campsite and a half mile walk downstream brings you to the lake and a half mile walk upstream takes you to a large waterfall. They diverted water from the other side of a mountain, through a large pipe, and let it flow down this side of the mountain. Then they built the lake to hold the water. They call it Faux Falls but only the source of the water is manipulated. The rocks and stream are natural.

The falls were a welcome sight when I was driving in to camp.

And they were a great destination walk on a hot day.

I was dying to see Arches National Park so I headed there on Friday knowing it would be a madhouse with so many people in town. I drove first to the windows section and hiked a total of about 3 miles to see everything that area had to offer. I loved the North and South windows from the primitive trail that loops behind them. They look like two eyes.

Double Arch was quite remarkable as well.

I then drove to the Delicate Arch area. The trailhead parking was full so I proceeded to the viewpoint parking area and was happy with the short walk and the view of the arch in the distance. I saved the Devil’s Garden area for a second visit.

I returned the next week on Tuesday. The last hike I wanted to do was one of the most popular in the park. So I arrived before 8 and walked the developed portion of the path to Devil’s Garden where you can see half a dozen arches from the trail. Landscape Arch was my favorite.

I was glad I arrived as early as I did. I still had to share the trail with dozens of people but by the time I left the expansive parking lot was almost full and groups were pouring down the path.

I went to the Islands in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park on Memorial Day. It was a beautiful place. I hiked to Upheaval dome which is a deep, unexplained crater with a gray mountain range jutting up in the middle of it.

I then hiked the rim trail. It was just gorgeous but a rainstorm was threatening so it was hard to get a good shot. If you are viewing this on your mobile device zooming in on this pic may give you a better idea of what an interesting landscape it was.

Canyonlands has its own pretty incredible arch. There were no signs against standing on this one. So I did! It was a few feet wide in the middle so not difficult to get out on at all. But there is about a thousand foot drop behind the arch if you happen to make a misstep.

The two ladies that did it before me were doing yoga poses and standing on one tiptoe. I was happy to just stand there firmly planted on two feet.

I passed through Moab about 2 on Memorial Day. There was an incredible traffic jam. Apparently the visitors who had been filing in all week all had to leave after lunch Monday. The two lanes leading north toward interstate 70 were packed all the way through town, about 5 miles. Thankfully I was headed south to camp. The campground was fairly deserted when I got back and stayed that way till I left on Thursday.

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