Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What? You Mean I Have to Walk?

Day 3 of our Moab adventure found us leaving Moab for Canyonlands National Park, more specifically, the Needles District. Yes, today we would be hiking. If you know me, walking great distances is not my strong point. The gals I'm with are all strong runners. When we discussed the distance we would like to do, Karen mentioned a hike that was around 11 miles. The first thought in my head was, holy crap! I don't even recall the last time I walked that far, let alone hiked! I thought it was a bit ambitious...for me anyway. I'd no doubt they could do it.  We got to the Visitor Center close to noon. We had had further discussion of just how far I thought I could go. I figured I could manage something between 6 and 10 miles, so we asked the nice Ranger gal what would be the best hike around that distance. She told us Elephant Hill Trail would be good. There would be some options to lengthen or shorten. Perfect! We got to the trailhead, pulled on our hydration packs, and set out up this road.
After about a half mile, we discovered we were on the jeep trail, not the hiking trail. We did get to see a jeep negotiating this trail. I certainly wouldn't want to drive something like that!
We turned around and went back to the parking lot. At least I got to ditch my jacket at the car. Then we found the hiking trail.
Up the trail we went. I'm not sure I can put into words how amazing the scenery was. Here's a bunch of photos. A note about the photos--you'll notice an annoying fuzzy spot in the middle of every photo. There was a spot on the lens that I tried to get off, but couldn't. When we got back to the condo, and I looked at the photos, I was disappointed, especially when I realized I just needed to lick my finger to get it to go away! Oh well, some are not so noticeable.
Yep, there were stairs
Kinda skinny here
Really skinny here!
This group of hikers were ahead of us, but were goofing around in the slot. We went under their legs. They asked us to not raise our poles. Gail said, "You don't fart, and we won't raise our poles!"
Sort of look like mushroom houses
Here we followed that group (they had gone around us again). It was very tricky. Turns out it was not the trail. Note to self--don't just follow the group ahead. They might not be going the right way!
The reason this is the Needles District of Canyonlands
Aaaannnnnddd...a finger photo bomb
Four chicks on a rock
Almost back
We made it back to the parking lot having hiked 8.4 miles. Not too shabby considering I'm not a hiker! I will admit my feet were starting to feel it. We had a good picnic snack at a table. I went to go throw the trash away and noticed this.
Can't say I've ever seen this before. Not sure I would like to hike someplace that I had to carry out my crap...just sayin'.  After our refuel, we hopped in the car and went back out to do the rest of the scenic drive out to the end of the road. Along the way we stopped at the Pothole Trail. It was a .6 mile trail amongst these potholes in the rock. It was interesting, but not terribly impressive.
We did find some fun rocks for posing. Above is Karen.
The wind was whipping (actually, it had been all day--sometimes we were protected, sometimes not so much), and it was pretty chilly. The gals ran back to the car. I took a couple more photos.
After Pothole, we went to the lookout for Big Spring Canyon. The trail into the canyon was 5.5 miles. We didn't hike it, but took these photos.
As we headed back to Moab, we made one last photo stop at Wooden Shoe Arch lookout.
It was another great day today! It really is amazing country here. I enjoyed the hike today. However, I can't imagine doing it with a heavy pack on my back. I think I'll continue to let my bike carry the weight for me!

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