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USA: Utah: Arches National Park, Brian Head, Bryce Canyon City, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Moab, Monument Valley, Park City, Salt Lake City, Snow Canyon, St. George, Sundance, Zion National Park

Canyonlands, Utah, USA: Where water and gravity are architects
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands, Utah, USA

Canyonlands preserves a wilderness of rock at the heart of Colorado Plateau. Water and gravity, this landís prime architects, cut flat layers of sedimentary rock into hundreds of canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches and spires.

We drove towards Canyonlands from Park City, where we had stayed for the night. We left early to have breakfast at Sundance Resort at Sundance thatís just a 45 minute drive from Park City. The resort was founded by Robert Redford (great Hollywood star) in 1969. Itís a 6000 acre property of which only 450 acres are used for resort. The rest is preserve area. Sundance Resort is a prime ski-destination. Now all of 74, Robert Redford is still an active skier and enjoys being at the property. However, I didnít get the opportunity to meet with the guy, but when he is around you will find him dining in Bobís room!

Mesa View Trail, Canyonlands, Utah, USA The famous Sundance festival was started here. Whilst film screening still happens in Sundance, the neighbouring Park City has become the main location for the festivities which includes film screenings, music, educational programs and conferences. The festival happens in January every year.

After a hearty breakfast at Sundance Resort (you will be delighted by the breakfastís massive portion), we commenced our journey towards Canyonlands National Park. It was a good 4 hour drive. At 2:30 PM we were welcomed by Sarah Sidwell of TagALong Ė an outdoor adventure company Ė at the Arch View Campground gas station. Sarah had sandwiches ready for us. We transferred from our Suburban into Sarahís 4-wheel drive and were ready to witness the geological wonders. I was appalled by the knowledge Sarah carried. She was a good trekker and a geologist, if I may.

Canyonlands gates were about 20 miles from the main road. At centre stage of these 527 square miles of wild America, are two canyons carved by the Green and Colorado rivers. Surrounding the rivers are vast, very different regions. Island in the Sky on the north, the Maze on the west, and the Needles on the east. They share a common primitive spirit and wild west atmosphere. Canyonlands remains largely untrammeled Ė its roads are mostly unpaved, trails primitive and rivers free-flowing.

While we drove around the park for most of our 2 hours on hand, we walked the Mesa View Trail. This 30-minute hike was pretty comfortable. The view of the arch at the end of the trail was truly magnificent. As a photographer, I would love to be at such locations either in early hours of morning or late evenings. But when you are travelling in a group and have a lot to cover, that was not to be.

Ancient Sketches, Canyonlands, Utah, USA On our return leg, we made a little detour to visit Dead Horse Point State Park. The road offers dramatic views of the La Sal Mountains, Canyonlands and the Colorado River 2000 feet below. I had plans to be at the view point to catch the sunset. Sadly, I was late by about 15 minutes.

By 7PM we were at Ramada Moab Downtown Ė our hotel for the night. The early history of Moab area can be traced back to 10,000 years and is visible in the areaís many panels of ancient petro glyphs. Today, Moab supports a diverse population and economy and is considered one of the most cosmopolitan small towns in Utah. Just 3 miles wide, Moab is the gateway town for adventures around.

For dinner we were at Moab Brewery on the Main Street Ė home to great beers and pub food.

Canyonlands Image Gallery Photo viewer Photo viewer

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