Arches - Canyonlands Trip November 2010Day 2 - Corona Arch / Island in the SkyDay 1 - Delicate ArchDay 3 - Windows / Needles District
After a long first day on less than optimal rest, sunrise on Day 2 was scratched in favor of some extra sleep. Because of the late start, we opted for a gas station breakfast before heading out the Potash Road. Potash Road follows the Colorado River downstream from Moab. The Navajo Sandstone cliffs along the roadside are sheer and mighty impressive, especially with the numerous climbing groups attacking the rock from the shoulder of the road! Janelle needs to add this place to her to-do list. We made the drive down the the Potash industrial site before doubling back and starting our hike up to Corona Arch.
The hike up to Corona Arch was darn sweet. It's hard to beat a good dose of Navajo Sandstone slickrock, and of course the Arch is absolutely amazing. Definitely conjures up similarities to Rainbow Bridge, and made me itch to get out to Corona's bigger sibling. I wrote up a pretty detailed hike description for Corona already, so I won't get too in depth about it here.
Perhaps the highlight of the Corona Arch was Louie, the fearless Jack Russell Terrier. As my Dad and I approached the rock stairset, a couple families family were coming down with two dogs in tow. Evidently one of the dogs was hitching a ride. The woman looked down at the Jack Russell Terrier and said, "That's not our dog? He was with that other family. What was his name?" Someone else piped in, "Louie!" They asked us if we would take him up to his owners. We whistled and called his name but he was too busy enjoying the scenery to pay much attention. One of the ladies had to pick him up and put him on the rock staircase, then he got the idea and followed happily. He was just so happy to be out on the slickrock, it was hard not to crack a huge grin. I would definitely take Louie home with me. A minute or two later we were at the metal ladder next to a steep slickrock bank. My dad said, "How are we gonna do this, Louie?" Without hesitation, Louie ran right up the slickrock bank. We said, "Okay then," and headed up the ladder. We crested the next bank and a little girl cried out, "There's Louie!" Evidently he had been missed by his family. And evidently he is quite the explorer, because not two moments later, Louie was off wandering down the slickrock in search of smells and adventure. Over the lip of another steep slickrock bank he went, his "owner" calling, "Come on Louie!" Louie scrambled back up the bank with ease. That low center of gravity must help.
In addition to the adventures of Louie, this hike was quite busy, but had a nice festive atmosphere. There were a number of kids, and they were all having a good ol' time playing on the slickrock. Times were lively under the arch as people took pictures and relaxing in the shade. My dad and I walked past the arch and enjoyed the scene from a far on the north side of Corona before heading back. We had a wonderful experience out at Corona, including the hike, the scenery and the activity. I would recommend this hike any day of the week.
After Corona Arch, we made the drive up to the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park. After contemplating a return to Arches for sunset, we decided to remain up on the Island for the remainder of the afternoon and catch the sunset up there. After a stop at the visitor's center, we stopped briefly at Canyonlands' version of the La Sal Mountains Overlook. Not as good as the Arches version, but does have a neat angle on the Behind the Rocks upwarp of fins near Moab. Continued on for another brief stop at the Shafer Trail Overlook. Next was the Green River Overlook, perhaps the most classic viewpoint on Island in the Sky. We stopped momentarily to scout the scene for the sunset before heading down to Grand View.
At the Grand View Overlook, we did the short hike out to the official Grand View Point. Just an easy mile each way, it was quite a pleasant hike with great views. I wrote up a hike description for it, so I'll skip the details. Returned to the Green River Overlook to wait for the sunset. My dad plopped a lawn chair down to the right of the viewpoint, and I started exploring up and down rim looking for compositions. Ended up at a hunk of slickrock at the viewpoint for a while, and conversed with another photographer who had seen me at Delicate Arch the previous evening. The clouds overwhelmed the western sky, so the sunset never really took off, but being at the signature Canyonlands viewpoint was majestic just the same, and thoroughly enjoyable.
Headed back down the hill to Moab in the dark, nabbed supplies for the morning at the Shell and a drive-thru dinner at Burger King before settling back into the motel room for the night.