First stop today is Dead Horse State Park, and you must be wondering why anyone would name a park “Dead Horse.” The park is basically a relatively narrow plateau extending into a canyon. According to legend the point of the plateau was once used as a corral for wild mustangs rounded up by the cowboys. After herding the mustangs across the “neck” of the point (only 30 yards wide) the cowboys would fence them off with branches and brush, creating a corral surrounded by the steep cliffs (2,000 feet to the canyon below) of the plateau. They would then choose the horses they wanted and those left behind would eventually die of thirst on the waterless point.
On the road to the park we passed a rock formation known as “The Merrimack and the Monitor.” Can’t remember which is which, but I think Monitor is on the right.
View of the Colorado River
A cairn marking the trail
Wind twisted tree—the roots must be quite shallow with solid rock beneath a thin layer of rock and dust.
Nearby Dead Horse Park is the northern entrance to Canyonlands National Park (saved $10), where there are great vistas of the Colorado River Canyon and Green River Canyon. The area of Canyonlands we explored is called Island in the Sky, a plateau extending into the canyons. The “neck” of land connecting the “island” to the “mainland” is the width of a two lane road. At some point it will erode enough that a bridge will have to be built to connect the island. Here are some canyon photos.
Looks like a giant three toed monster has been walking around.
The trail visible in the photo is for 4wheel drive vehicles. . .
Green River Canyon
Queen of the mountain
One of the most spectacular views at Canyonlands Park is Mesa Arch. When we arrived there were a few hooligans actually climbing on top of the arch. The drop on the back side is much greater than on the near side. As you might imagine, that’s risky business, but 40 years ago I may have done it myself, so I can’t be too critical.
The view beyond
A relaxing moment
We had already had a full day but lying ahead of us was a four hour drive to Cedar City in southwest Utah, our headquarters for visiting Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. We made an amazing discovery that night for dinner—a pizza place that didn’t sell beer. I noticed O’Douls on the menu only to discover they had just sold out. I think I know how this place could generate more customers. Regardless the pizza was good along with the service.