The Path To Colorado: Canyonlands to The Western Slope

12 07 2011

(A bit of a long post. If you get tired, just check out the photos.)

When we last left off we had jumped from Capitol Reef National Park to Leadville, Colorado – a solid 375 miles apart. We did a lot in between, but the overarching theme for Southern Utah was ridiculous heat that we shouldn’t have to experience in a home on wheels.

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands was unfortunately underwhelming, with the exception of two of the most spectacular viewpoints that I’ve ever seen. The park is a real drive from the main highway toward Moab, and was hot and buggy during our visit. I had a great time with the super dark skies there, running a deep-sky astronomy program in the campground one night.

Moab Arch At Sunrise

Moab Arch At Sunrise

Grand View Point

Grand View Point

If you head out to Canyonlands, make sure to check out Moab Arch at sunrise and Grand View Point at sunset. They are both worth your time.

Arches National Park

One of the things that I really enjoyed about Arches was the unassuming drive through the park’s entrance. You switchback up a steep mountainside, making your way up into the unknown.

The park’s Navajo Sandstone fins were amazing, as were the arches, of course. Unexpectedly, it was possible to get some private chill time at certain arches, with shady spots to hang out in while taking in the view through the natural holes-in-the-rock.

Ayo At (In?) Navajo Arch

Ayo At (In?) Navajo Arch

Traversing In Arches

Practicing A Traverse In Arches

After a seven-mile hike, we had a fun time getting wet and showering off at a spigot that we found near the picnic area. Closing our Arches visit was a brief experience with  lost water shoes and sandals that led us to hitchhike back to Panorama Point where we had set them outside to cool. (There was no sense in using a couple of gallons of gas just to retrieve the shoes.) Miraculously, they were just where we thought they’d be and it took just a couple of minutes to catch rides in each direction.

Moab, Utah

We joined Moab for their Independence Day celebration, which was a quaint small-town event. Participation in their parade was open to all (“just show up”) and included a Moab gay pride group, and I did a fun astronomy event at the town fair that followed.

An... Umm... Something? In The Moab Parade

An... Umm... Something? In The Moab Parade

Moab Pride In A Town of 4,800. Cool.

Moab Pride In A Town of 4,800. Cool.

The highlight of our experience was meeting a cool Mormon couple and hanging out with them at the awesome Moab community pool, which featured crazy water slides and was open for the day with the entrance fee waived.

Moab was way too hot, but put on a great Independence Day fireworks show which we watched from the RV roof.

Our First General Delivery Wedding Invitation... Mailed to Our Legal Names in Moab

Our First General Delivery Wedding Invitation... Mailed to Our Legal Names in Moab

Grand Junction, Edwards, Vail and Minturn

Let’s lump all of the Colorado stuff together. Grand Junction was the first real city that we hit in Colorado, and we took the opportunity to stock up on groceries and some hardware (we just built a drawer). Ayo took a dance class while I went rock climbing, and as an added plus there was a free dump station nearby.

Probably The Best "Welcome To" Sign We've Seen

Probably The Best "Welcome To" Sign We've Seen

As a huge relief from the heat, we headed toward Edwards and 7,000’+ elevation. I found a free outdoor jazz / funk concert in the tiny town of Minturn, and we joined the Vail Chabad for Shabbat services. Ayo had a fun time meeting a serious hula hooper and picking up some tricks, and Edwards boasted a free dump station as well. Not bad.

Green Colorado: What A Change From Southern Utah

Green Colorado: What A Change From Southern Utah

That brings us to Leadville, where I’m writing this post. Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the United States, sitting at ~10,200′ elevation. The town doesn’t shy from publicizing its elevation, posting it on signs all over. I didn’t see one “population X” sign, which is slightly less impressive at 2,688. It’s a bit chilly here, so we’ll soon be heading to Idaho Springs, which rests at the happy medium of ~7,500′ elevation.

Concert In Minturn

Concert In Minturn

And there you have it. From Canyonlands to Colorado.

posted by yair

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11 responses

12 07 2011
Diana

Love the general delivery wedding invitation! By the way, the arch in the first picture is called Mesa Arch. It’s also good late in the day.

17 07 2011
Yair

Oops, you’re right! Thanks!

12 07 2011
Kate

Aw, I miss Colorado…I remember hitting an entirely random thrift store and a place with _really_ excellent buffalo nachos in Idaho Springs a couple years ago. Enjoy!

17 07 2011
Yair

Wait! Where in Idaho Springs? We’re overnighting there tonight!

18 07 2011
Kate

I am pretty sure (looking at the map) that it was actually called the Buffalo Restaurant & Bar, on the south side of Miner St. between 16th and 17th. There’s the Gypsum Rose Mineral & Fossil shop (also cool) a couple blocks east of there, and there’s an old train engine between the two and half a block or so south.

That’s all I’m remembering looking at the map (no street view there, alas) but I know there’s more in town, too.

Have fun, and I hope this got to you in time to be useful!

13 07 2011
Susie

Wow, what a beautiful wedding invitation… whoever sent you that must be really awesome. 😛
(by the way, I was so nervous it was never going to get to you – “general delivery”? seriously? sketchiest address of all time!)

17 07 2011
Yair

Even sketchier: I misplaced (read: lost) one of my credit cards. Just got off the phone with customer service and they’re overnighting me a replacement… general delivery!

13 07 2011
Mimi Wahrman

Susie, we were in Grand Junction, CO as well as Moab. You were 4. Remember?
Ayo and Yair – great photos! What an awesome experience!

18 07 2011
ayo

Thanks! What brought you guys to Grand Junction? Any cool recommendations? 🙂

13 07 2011
Talia

I thought Arches National Park was the greatest thing ever when I was ten (or however old I was then)… glad you guys enjoyed!

17 07 2011
Yair

It wasn’t just your kidness tricking you. Arches is still pretty sweet.

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