by Jim and Melanie
This is the final post about our visit to Utah. Links to: Oct6, Oct7, Oct8, Oct9. Thanks for following along. If you have been to this area before, you know how special it is. If not, we hope you will be able to visit in the future. This day was more special for us since it was also our 40th wedding anniversary.
Dead Horse Point State Park
During the previous four days, we hiked in places that forced us to look upward to see the geological formations such as those at Arches or in the canyons. Today, we looked downward at the canyons and valleys of the Colorado River and its tributaries. The plan was to go early to the state park not far west of Moab called Dead Horse Point. The flat-topped mesa within this park narrows to only about 30 yards wide, then opens wider again to a majestic viewpoint. The road takes you all the way to the tip or point. There you park and hike along trails near the cliff edges for views 2000 ft. below. Many places have no guardrails. This video is the view from the trail on the east side of the point. The second video is the view from the trail on the west side of the point.
We walked along the east rim trail and looked back at a place where we were standing several minutes before. The top of that cliff is a long way from the canyon floor.
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands is adjacent to Dead Horse and a short drive away to the west. The broad mesa in the distance of the previous photo carries the road into and out of the park. It offers similar views as from the high cliffs at Dead Horse.
Canyonlands also offers several other stops and hikes to interesting features. Upheaval Dome was one we visited. This region of Utah was an ancient seabed. Multiple layers of rock have been deposited and exposed by erosion. Below many layers is salt. Upheaval Dome is a unique geological formation. It is circular with steeply tilted layers around the perimeter. Note the scale at the bottom of this image. Recent geological studies support the theory that a meteor impact formed this crater. The trail we hiked took us to viewpoints left of center in this image.
Life is harsh in this region. Only about 10 inches of rainfall occur each year. Plants and animals still manage to survive for a while. Once they die their remains are preserved for a long time.