(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And there you have it. From Canyonlands to Colorado.
posted by yair