Sunday, August 05, 2007

Hot in Utah and a Dip in Arizona

Christina and I freed ourselves from free internet at the Peace Tree cafe in Moab, and returned to Arches for some more hiking. We viewed Delicate Arch from the Lower and Upper viewpoints. I gotta say I wasn't that impressed or psyched for the 1.5 mile trip to get up close to it. But the hike was pretty easy and up close it was a lot cooler. There's a cool bowl near it and a few other interesting formations. I think Devil's Garden was still my favorite, except for the exhausting heat on the way back.

We did some more driving around the park, seeing Balanced Rock and some of the Windows before heading back into town to the Lazy Lizard hostel, just south of the main area of Moab. Plenty of space left. We opted for the nearly empty coed dorms instead of the single occupied female dorm with an older woman who seemed to be examining her coin collection on the floor and talking to herself. A quick dinner at the Slickrock Cafe in town (corner of Main and Center) with a delicious salad (except for the really dry grilled chicken, that I tried moistening with some ketchup from a bottle that wouldn't aim straight) and then we were off back to the hostel for a much needed shower (I could rub the dirt off my legs -- it was disgusting) and sleep. I finally got a good night sleep and slept through past 7 am. Lately, because of outdoor camping, the sun wakes me up around 6:15.

Today we drove to the north entrance of the Canyonlands National Park. Had we known better, we would have gone to the south eastern entrance at the Needles. Instead we ended up at Island in the Sky, did a quick 1 mile rim trail to Grand View, took a quick peak at Green River and then left to return to Moab. We refilled groceries and ice and then continued south on 191 and then 163 to go to Monument Valley. The drive was beautiful. We took a side trip to Newspaper Rock (on the way to the Needles entrance), saw a half dozen deer (and cute spotted babies) grazing on the side of the road, and down further passed Valley of the Gods which was really impressive and continued to the MV visitor center. Unfortunately, they pretty much just had a 17 mile scenic drive on an unpaved road for a $5/person entry fee - which didn't seem worth it in our rented PT Cruiser.

Canyonlands Newspaper Rock

So we turned back round and kept heading south on 163 til we got to Kayenta, AZ. We enjoyed the views of lightning striking behind the distant mountains and even a full arched rainbow during a brief rain. All the rooms at Holiday Inn and Hampton were booked...and the one room at Best Western was out of our price range ($109). The Anasazi Inn 12 miles west was also too much for lack of internet ($88), so we headed back north back to UT. The views during sunset were just amazing. We stopped in Mexican Hat, UT and found a decently priced motel with free wifi (Canyonlands Motel).

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