Return to the Red Rocks. Day 8: Meadows, rock gardens, canyons and water.

(Moab, Utah)

1 December 2022

Last night was quite late, by our holiday standards, due to the start photography. It was 1045 before we were lights out. Still, I slept well, at least until nearly 4am when I was woken by a distinctive clattering noise, followed by the odd choice word. Andrew has sent his water flying again. There followed some mopping up, before we attempted to get back to sleep again. For the first time this trip, Andrew was awake before me in the morning, and it was already nearly 9am. As a result, we skipped the coffee and went straight to breakfast.

Once we were ready we drove 35 miles to Canyonlands and, after a brief stop in the visitor centre (masks ready today), stopped at the trailhead for the Lathrop trail.

The first mile of the trail crosses a meadow. I was taken today by just how many different plants there are, in what otherwise appears as plain, boring grassland. Spotting different plants passed the time as we walked along the sandy trail. I still need to identify them all.

After the meadow comes the dune crossing. This is basically the same, but the path goes more uphill, as it crosses the hill, making progress harder. There were many ‘critter holes’ in the sandbanks, although I’ve no idea what critters live there.

Then you come to the other worldly white rocks area, following which comes the rock gardens. These are areas of sand and soil which have gathered amongst the rocks, and in which plants have found a comfortable home. They look almost planted and arranged.

Along the way, we caught glimpses of the mountains and the canyon. Eventually, however, we reached the canyon rim and the views opened up. We could see the Colorado River meandering through the canyon, the eroded lands surrounding it, the White Rim Road far below, the snow-capped La Sals and the distant Abajo mountains.

Our return trip was back the way we’d come, but felt harder and longer, especially the meadow. We would occasionally see a car passing along the road, which marked the end of the trail, but for a long time it never seemed to come any closer.

When we eventually got back to the car, we decided to drive back to Moab. The sun, which had been largely behind clouds all day somehow slipped down and found a sliver of a gap before setting, just enough to light up the rim and the mountains. We went to the City Market for essential supplies…batteries for the torch, lunch snack bars…chocolate…beer…essential supplies.

Then, because it really needed it, we headed to a car wash. After figuring out how to work it, we applied soap, water, wax and rinses, and the car came out all clean and sparkly again!

That was it for today, apart from dinner at Zax. Tomorrow we’re promising ourselves an easier day…we’ll see!

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