Return to the Red Rocks. Day 9: Grand views all around.

(Moab, Utah)

2 December 2022

The night passed quietly, without any further aquatic adventures. I woke up before 0730, and so normal service was resumed, with me making coffee, before we headed down to breakfast. I’d promised Andrew a day off from hiking, filled instead with driving and viewpoints. The weather was supposed to have some showers in the morning, and true enough, it was raining as we got ready, but stopped before we left the hotel.

We set off for Canyonlands again, and as we neared the plateau, it was clear that it had rained much more recently there. Indeed, the rain was now passing down the canyon towards Moab, so it looked like we had timed our arrival well.

We stopped at the visitor centre, where I was able to identify most of the plants from yesterday, and took a photo across the road, which offers a good view.

Then it was on to Green River Overlook, one of my favourite views, which adorned our living room wall for several years.

Next stop was the Orange Cliffs Overlook, where e we looked at the orange cliffs…and met a very friendly dog and his owners from Colorado. We noticed in passing that they have greatly expanded the parking area for the Murphy trails. This used to be a small, blink and you’ve missed it, muddy patch which accommodated six cars if you were lucky and everyone parked in a mutually convenient manner. Now it’s a hard standing gravel area for tens of cars.

The end of the road is at Grand View Point, which is very aptly named. I suggested we do the walk along the rim, which is a mile each way. The views all along were stunning. The start looks across Monument Basin, with its spires reaching around 300 feet high and to the La Sal mountains. Then you see across the Needles District to the Abajo Mountains. The walk crosses the peninsula and views of the Green River, Murphy Hogback and the Candlestick Tower take over. The trail ends when the land runs out, and you’re left looking across the gap to Junction Butte.

We returned the way we came, with a stop for lunch along the way.

Next stop was looking down into Gooseberry Canyon.

This was followed by Buck Canyon.

Finally, I asked Andrew if he was up for another walk (given I’d promised a day off, and we’d already done a two mile trail). He said yes, so we hiked the 0.8 mile Mesa Arch trail. The arch is a very popular location, so it was a delight to arrive there and have it to ourselves.

By then it was almost sunset and we returned to the hotel as the light faded from the sky.

After some rest, we walked to Miguel’s Baja Grill for Mexican food for dinner.

Tomorrow…more hiking, and festive activity!

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