Utah Pt. 2

After recovering from the adventures of getting caught in a flash flood (you can read about it here ) we decided to take Thursday nice and easy.... or so we thought. The night before, we had a great chat with a couple hikers from our campsite and they recommended we hike Negro Bill Canyon to Morning Glory Bridge. So that's exactly what we did! We drove to the trail head which is nestled next to the Colorado River and conveniently located at the start of the Colorado Scenic By-way. This hike was about 5-6 miles roundtrip and had some shaded parts which as nice considering the sun and the heat were out in full force that morning. It was a beautiful hike through the canyon which had several river crossings (thank goodness for my $8 water shoes from Walmart). There were very few people on this trail, I'm talking like maybe 4-6 but we lost them pretty quickly so it was nice to feel like we were the only ones there. What amazed me about Utah the most was the absolute silence you felt on some of these hikes. Silence has become a treasured gift to me, I mean I yearn for silence sometimes! There is nothing more beautiful than standing in the middle of a canyon surrounded by sandstone cliffs and nothing but silence. Anyways I'm sure I made some noise as I dragged myself for what seemed like forever in 40 degree heat. We reached the end where you could literally go no further. We had the pleasure of looking up at Morning Glory Bridge, which is actually is the 6th longest natural rock span in the US, stretching 243 ft across. You could hear the river trickling through the cracks in the cliffs we leaned against as it pooled at our feet, again so peaceful and beautiful. We made the hike back, which at one point I thought we were lost and actually had one of those moments where everything is in slow-motion, and you have that ringing in your ears, haha I'm sure I over panicked but to be fair, we did take a wrong turn and ended up on the wrong side of the river and had to backtrack. It's scary out there and we were reminded of how easily things can go wrong as we were welcomed at the trailhead with a plaque in memory of 2 young mountain bikers who went missing and didn't make it out 20 years ago, they're bodies weren't found for 16 days. Humbled by that reminder we made it out alive, wet shoes and socks (not me, just Myles).

We then drove the U-128 (Colorado Scenic By-way) 44miles to the ghost town of Cisco and back. We stopped along the way to snap some photos of the river as it had turned red after the previous day's storm. It ran a dark orange-red colour for 10 miles because of how much it rained, it was also running very high. The drive was unbelievable, I felt like I was in a western movie! We took photos at Castle and Professor Valley which are in many famous western Movies such as Rio Grande and Wagon Master as well as many commercials. Cisco is an abandoned town littered with shacks and broken down vehicles. Upon coming over the hill into the town, there was a dead deer with vultures eating it, I kid you not, so stereotypical of creepy towns in the movies but it actually happened. It was actually quite creepy (I locked the doors) and at one point I swear I saw someone walking through an old motor home, my eyes were probably just playing tricks on me but still I was scared haha! After getting lost trying to turn around, we made the drive back and planned to get something to eat then head up to hike Corona Arch for the sunset. Well... we took a little too long eating tacos at a delicious stop-and-eat called Milt's and missed the sunset, classic. But we decided to drive to the trail head and see if we could make it before sundown. We literally ran the entire hike as the sun was setting quickly and there was a bit of lightening. This hike was awesome as well, we were the only ones, again the complete silence you experience while out there is just something else; the steel cables and super sketchy ladders you had to use made it fun as well. We made it to Corona Arch at dusk and couldn't help but to disrupt the silence by letting out a few shouts just to get that echo back ;) This arch was huge and located at the curve of a huge bowl. You should Google Corona Arch Swing, as dangerous and dumb as it seems, it's something that we would probably pay to do if it were still legal. We marvelled for a bit before almost getting dive bombed from some sort of bird. We then realized it was getting really dark really fast, like really fast. We ran the whole way back, the bats that were starting to swarm made us run a little faster! We made it back to the car as complete darkness fell, phewf. After eating out again, (we literally cooked once) we headed back up to Arches National Park at about 1am to see if we could get some astro shots. Unfortunately it was a full moon as well as some overcast which caused for unbelievably bright conditions even in the dead of night. We drove to Balanced Rock and Panorama Point to see if we could get anything but it was just too bright out even as 2am approached. 

On Friday we were exhausted so we decided to drive to CanyonLands National Park. We stopped at Dead Horse Point State Park which is the most photographed scenic vista in the world (crazy!). Legend has it, many years ago cowboys used the point to corral wild mustangs who roamed the mesa top. For some reason at one point the horses were left there and died of starvation and dehydration with a view of the Colorado River 2000ft below. Quite crazy when you're standing there imagining that happening.  We drove the Island in the Sky Portion of the park (just as the name describes it) and then hiked to Mesa Arch which is famous for being photographed at sunrise (we were far to tired to wake up for a sunrise hike). It was different than all the other arches we had seen as the crowds were insane and there was a sheer cliff right on the other side of it. Everything aside, still beautiful and absolutely crazy that we have seen pictures of people standing on top of it! We continued driving to the trail head of Upheaval Crater. We chose one of the shorter hikes as it was just far to hot outside to be hiking. This hike has zero shade and was straight up. We emerged to look down on a massive crater 3 miles across and 1000ft deep with a 750ft mountain made of salt in the middle. Still a mystery how this occurred but it was cool to see.

We drove back to camp after that and lounged in the pool to cool down. We thought about wrapping up our trip at this point but couldn't help but to drive back out to Arches National Park that evening for a few last minute hikes. We stopped and hiked the short Sand Dune hike which proved to be no mistake. I felt like I was in Jurassic Park, as we climbed between massive fins on either side in deep orange sand. This arch recently had a section collapse which was cool to see how it happened but also cool to be able to see it before it is completely destroyed. We then continued driving as far as we could into the park before coming to the trail head of Landscape Arch, Devil's Garden and the Fiery Furnace. Sadly the Fiery Furnace trail requires a special permit which are rarely given out or a guided hike by an experienced ranger, which were also all sold out. It is so dangerous it is illegal to enter this part of the park without a permit or guide, I so badly wanted to see it! Anyways, we proceeded to hike to Landscape arch which is the longest natural arch in the world spanning 290ft with the thinnest section only 6 ft thick. It looked as if it were going to fall at any second. We chose to forego hiking through Devil's Garden as it was getting dark again and we didn't want to get stuck out there in no-man's land. 

This pretty much concluded our stay in Moab, Utah. It was unbelievable and I wish everyone could experience the things we saw and the hikes we went on. We plan on returning again in the future and hiking many more trails and seeing many more arches. 

The drive home (30 hours) led us on a detour several hours long because Myles wanted to see the Bonneville Salt Flats. I won't lie, it was pretty cool, super flat and super salty, nothing like you've ever seen. I may or may not have tasted the ground... it was very salty indeed. Homeward led us through Utah, Nevada, Idaho where we slept in a truck stop at 2am, Oregon, Washington, and finally home...4652km in total. It was an amazing time away with spectacular views and crazy adventures together, wouldn't trade it for anything (although maybe I'm ready for a margarita on a beach somewhere in Mexico) Until the next adventure...