A Twofer

That would be two days for the post of one!
Wednesday –
From our parking spot in Blanding, UT, we were able to check out Natural Bridges National Monument and the Valley of the Gods. Oh, and a couple of adventures in between!
But first, our early morning treat –
The full moon setting in the southwest sky –
moonsetMoonset close
It was way early, and I have no idea what made me look out the bedroom window, but I’m certainly glad I did!
But on to the day…..
As is often the case in this journey of ours, the drive getting to the “destination” is filled with interesting and unusual sights.
Blanding Scenic Drive-1
On Tuesday the rocks that we saw (Monument Valley) were tall and angular. This morning they looked like a mound of dough getting ready to be shaped into a loaf of bread!
Blanding Scenic Drive-2
Our first stop on Wednesday was Natural Bridges National Monument
One of the nice things about a “National Monument” as opposed to a “National Park” is (usually anyway) that they are a nice manageable size. Natural Bridges had a lovely scenic drive that took us past the three beautiful examples of natural bridges.

Natural Bridges-1 Natural Bridges-2 Natural Bridges-5 Natural Bridges-4 Natural Bridges-7 Natural Bridges-8


Each bridge had a short hike to the canyon floor, but I only did the last one (which is why the “close-up” shot is actually close up, and not just zoomed in!). It was a pretty hike, and I’m glad I made the trip!
Natural Bridges-9
From there we were headed to the Valley of the Gods, a scenic drive through the high desert that is similar to Monument Valley. But to get there we had to go down the Moki Dugway. And before we got there, we had to go by the Muley Point – long dirt road to, well, Muley Point! Just the ticket!
We finally saw some of those “Open Range Cattle” that we keep seeing signs for –
Muley Point-1
This one stared at us as we drove by –
Muley Point-2
Muley Point-3
“Whaddya doin’ on my road?”
We weren’t certain what we would find when we got to the end of the road, but were delighted with the view. It was crazy windy that day so I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but wow – it was quite a sight!
Muley Point-4
Muley Point-5
And on the way back –
Muley Point-6
Can you see our friend waiting to see if we’re really leaving? 🙂
OK – the Moki Dugway
Moki Dugway-1
Moki Dugway-3
So that’s the road – and Muley Point is the mesa just behind the road mesa. (Does that make any sense?)
It was a great drive – not nearly as nerve-racking as some we’ve been on, but lots of fun! And that led us to the Valley of the Gods.
Valley of the Gods-1
It was very similar to Monument Valley and it was free, so that was another bonus. Here’s a summary of our drive –
Valley of the Gods-2
Valley of the Gods-3
Valley of the Gods-4
Valley of the Gods-5
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Valley of the Gods-8
Valley of the Gods-10
They sure know how to “do rocks” around here!
Thursday –
Our destination for today was Moab – gateway to both Canyonland National Park and Arches National Park. As we set out we were pretty sure that the snow was going to stay up in the mountains,
Road to Canyonland-1
but by the time we hit the next town up the road, we knew we were in for a very interesting day – both weather-wise and also scenery-wise!
Road to Canyonland-2
As we approached the entrance to the Needles section of the Canyonlands NP, it was at least slowing down.
Road to Canyonland-3
But as we headed down the 34 mile entrance road (we left Lizzie at the turn off), we weren’t so sure that it wasn’t going to be a long drive for not much view.
Canyonland-Needles-1
But things definitely began to look up as we closed in on the park –
Canyonland-Needles-2
And as the skies began to clear….
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Canyonland-Needles-5
Canyonland-Needles-6
Canyonland-Needles-7
Canyonland-Needles-8
Canyonland-Needles-9
See what I mean? And we hadn’t even entered the park yet!
Canyonland-Needles-10
Canyonland-Needles-12
Canyonland-Needles-13
There was hardly any snow once we got to the park lands, but the vistas continued to amaze us!
Canyonland-Needles-15
Canyonland-Needles-16
But as you can see, the blue sky was fast disappearing.
Canyonland-Needles-17
Canyonland-Needles-18
Yep, that’s Gary, heading back to the car to, you know, wait for me.
Canyonland-Needles-19
These are the Needles Formations, which this section of the park is named for. I think it looks like a city skyline. Very cool.
Canyonland-Needles-20
Oh, look! A challenging 4 Wheel drive road. Uh-oh.
Nope, we turned around and headed back. I guess between the fact that it was beginning to snow again and it was a pretty technical road (and gave you that impression right from the start), Gary decided that this wasn’t the day for that kind of adventure. Phew, I said in my heart!
The clouds did continue to roll in,
Canyonland-Needles-21
and by the time we got the truck hooked back up to Lizzie and were back on the road, the snow was back in full force.
Road to Moab-1
Blue sky peaked out before we pulled into Moab
Road to Moab-2
and even though it was cold, it was nice to get set-up without the weather complicating the process.
Tomorrow we head into the Island in the Sky section of Canyonland, and then hopefully over to Arches. We’ll see just how the day goes!
And so the Rock Tour continues!

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