Canyonlands Trip - September 2011 Images:

Updated: Saturday October 08, 2011

In September 2011 my wife and I took an old fashioned "driving vacation" out to the Canyonlands of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. We visited Indian ruins and the breathtaking scenery of the many National Parks and National Monuments concentrated in this geographic area. Several State Parks were also included, along with a few specialty locations highlighted below.

Our second stop was Moab, Utah, situated at the confluence of mountains, canyons, "arches", "bridges", and desert. Here, the northern course of the Colorado River has already begun carving out canyons on its southward journey...

Erik Breden
Harlingen, Texas

Moab, Utah:

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Arches National Monument - Moab, Utah

The top part of this formation has moved sideways over the years. It looks like it is balanced precariously and will fall over at any moment, but it will probably be hundreds or thousands of years before that happens.
This is the "famous" Balancing Rock formation. The lower portion is a softer rock and has eroded faster than the top "balancing" portion, which is supported by a small piece of a harder layer. The view from the parking area does not convey the immense size of the balancing rock... you walk down the trail, it gets bigger and bigger, until you realize it is about the size of a two or three bedroom house! You would think it should have squashed the lower, softer rock long ago.
At every turn of the trails there are beautiful scenic views.
Here the sandstone shows an intrusion by veins of quartz.
One of the unique features of the desert landscape is the cryptobiotic crust. This crust of cyanobacteria, mosses, lichen, fungi, and algae binds the loose soil, absorbs water, and provides a bedding platform for other plants.
Some of the best examples of cryptobiotic crust are at Natural Bridges National Monument.
Here is a closer view of the cryptobiotic crust and a few plants that have taken root. It is extremely fragile, and a single footprint may take years to "grow back".

Dead Horse Point State Park - Moab, Utah


Mill Canyon Dinosaur Site - Moab, Utah

Doesn't this rock formation look like a herd of elephants (or maybe even Mammoths or Mastadons?) emerging from the solid rock!
Arches National Park is so famous, that even the trees around Moab have arches!

Newspaper Rock National Historic Site - Moab, Utah

Over the years some famous people have stopped to make their marks...WOW! Is that Rocky and Bullwinkle?

Miscellaneous Sites and Sights - Moab, Utah

This rock formation, on the road to Dead Horse State Park, is called "The Monitor and the Merrrimac", a history lesson frozen in time for all to see.
One of the iconic symbols of the 1950's, this "bigger than life" Smokey the Bear suddenly appeared along the La Sal Manti Scenic Loop Road. Are you old enough to remember Gene Autry singing...

"Smokey the Bear, Smokey the Bear.
Prowlin' and a growlin' and a sniffin' the air.
He can find a fire before it starts to flame.
That's why they call him Smokey.
That was how he got his name."

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