Friday, October 16, 2009

MONTICELLO, UTAH

If you look closely, there are 5 or 6 climbers spread across this cliff

This girl was free climbing-notice the only rope is below her. The others had safety ropes from above

She's 60-80 feet above the bottom here

Newspaper Rock




Views in the Needles area of Canyonlands National Monument

We moved down the road from Moab on Tuesday and ended up in a great little campground on the way into Needles Overlook in Canyonlands National Monument. The campground, Windwhistle, is actually on BLM land and $12 per night. There were large trucks hauling past during the day but there was absolute silence all night. Six miles from the highway so no noise from there and no traffic went by after dark. The clouds were building so we went and looked at Needles Overlook in the afternoon. The next day dawned very cloudy and our batteries were in need of charging so we had to move on. There were too many days of maximum 7 hours of sun and most days were less than that; some days only had a couple hours of good sun.

On Wednesday, we moved a few more miles south to Monticello and boy was it cold when we arrived. 9C (48F) and the wind was howling. Of course it is nearly 7,000 feet elevation here rather than the 4,500 we are used to. We went to the Needles area yesterday which is only a few miles south of the Needles Overlook area but approached from further south. We took a road right from Monticello and went up to nearly 9,000 feet this morning and saw some nice scenery while working our way to Canyonlands. I was finally able to get some Fall colour shots today which I was beginning to think wasn’t going to happen. I had expected to get some good shots in Colorado but we didn’t go far enough into the state to get to the areas where there might have been colour.

We had beautiful weather most of the day and were able to find a quiet spot away from the road to have our lunch. We were amazed at how many rock climbers there were along the way. There were dozens of them inching their way up sheer cliffs and both genders were well represented. We had stopped at Newspaper Rock in the morning and were surprised how close to the road it was. It seems so many of those things require a hike to get in. One hike I would like to have done is the Confluence Trail which goes in to a point where you can look down 1,000 feet to where the Green River and the Colorado join. It was late in the day (5PM actually) and it is 11 miles return! Maybe another year if we happen to be lucky enough to snag a campsite right at Needles.

Today we plan to move a little further south somewhere west of Blanding, UT. I’m hoping to find some free BLM camping away from the hustle and bustle of highways. A lady at the local BLM office gave me some tips and ideas so we’ll have to see how they work when we actually get there. We may be without internet for a few days unless plans change. Well, no, I don’t actually have any plans; what am I thinking?