Monday, September 30, 2013

Canyonlands NP, UT - 09/30/13

Monday – September 30, 2013
The Needles
Canyonlands National Park, Utah

This was to be our last day at the Wind Whistle Campground in the Needles Outlook region of the Canyonlands National Park. However, we decided to extend our stay here by another day. It is another beautiful sunny day with the temperature in the high-70’s. Today, we explored "The Needles" region of the park, which is located 46 miles from our campground. Our route takes us six miles east on the Needles Outlook road to six miles south on US-191 to 34 miles west on the UT-211 Scenic By-Way to the park entrance.

Yesterday, while visiting the Needles Outlook we were viewing the desert floor of the canyon from up high on the rim of the canyon. Today, we are viewing the canyon from the desert floor. The numerous rock formations and vertical cliffs that loom before us, appear to reach the blue-sky above. Rock pinnacles banded in red and white are dominant in this region. Earth movements fractured the rock, and water and freezing and thawing eroded it as today’s jumbled terrain. Grassy meadows contrast with the bare rock formations and arches lend the region an unusual touch. Most of the arches lie hidden in backcountry canyons accessible only by long 4-wheel-drive-trips or hikes to see them.

We also visited the Newspaper Rock Archaeological Site. This is a petroglyph panel etched in sandstone that records approximately 2,000 years of human activity. Prehistoric peoples, probably from the Archaic, Basketmaker, Fremont and Pueblo cultures, etched on the rock from B.C. time to A.D. 1300. In historic times, Ute and Navajo people, as well as European Americans made their contributions. In Navajo, the rock is called "Tse’ Hane’" (Rock that tells a story). Newspaper Rock is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

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