My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Visit To Canyonland, Part II: The Needles

I got to Canyonlands around noon so first found my campsite and set up my tent. At the back of my site, I discovered two cedar trees a hammock's width apart, so also set up my hammock and spent a few hours reading and enjoying the warm air.

My accessible campsite

Soon the light was getting prettier and I wanted to see more of this amazing place up close.  So I went off on the auto tour and took a short hike to Pothole Point.  This is an area where the slickrock holds ephemeral pools that hold whole ecosystems of plants and animals.  They were all dry when I was there.  You can go on this hike with me in my next post.

This area consists of widely spaced slick rock  formations,  almost looking like huge, fantastic buildings, scattered across a relatively flat ground.

Children playing on the slickrock formation behind the Visitor Center

These rocks were at the beginning of a four-wheel drive road to the Colorado River

When I stopped at the end of the auto tour to check out the scenery and trails, I was approached by this begging raven.  I spent a lot of time with him and his friend. When I got out my snack bar, he immediately flew up to me and begged. Then when I got back to the car, he was sitting here BUT my jacket, which had been stuffed behind the front seat, was on the ground by the car.

After coming back and grabbing a quick bite to eat, I went up the part of the Squaw Canyon Trail, that climbs the huge slickrock hill between the two camping loops, to watch the sunset. There weren't enough clouds in the wes go make a good sunset, but the clouds in the east turned color.

Rock cairns mark the trail

The trail went up through this crack in the rock. 

View looking east as the sun set
Then I immediately hiked back to the evening program which was held on top of a rock formation in my camping loop.  The ranger was from this area, of Mormon stock, and told how her great grandfather was part of a group of Mormons that colonized this region.  She also gave us information on the geological and political history of the area and wished that the park could be extended to the mountains on each side of it.  She was an interesting speaker and I enjoyed the program.  I walked back to my camp under a sky full of brilliant stars.

Getting ready for the evening's program

It was a very enjoyable, albeit long day.  After I left here, I had two more days of driving of around 1300 miles to join up with some of my friends at another favorite place, Caddo Lake in East Texas. 

On the personal front, I've had my first carpal tunnel surgery and will have the second November  20.  Then I'll have my left rotator cuff surgery December 4.  So I probably will be putting out blogs only sporadically, although I'm trying to get the pictures edited and blogs up  in advance of my surgeries.

For the rest of my pictures, if you are in the mood, visit by album