What a day, in the morning I got up and headed to the Mill Canyon Dinosaur trails. A short drive out of town on 191 you turn off onto Mill Canyon Rd and follow the signs. It was only a short walk from the Car Park to the viewing area where they’ve installed some boardwalks and information boards that highlight some of the prints and what they belonged to. I was surprised at just how many prints there were, it was amazing and pretty surreal to see footprints from Dinosaurs perfectly preserved in what used to be the bed of a spring, it really felt like I was walking with giants.
Next up was Monument Valley, I didn’t actually go into Monument Valley National Park but stopped off for lunch. Driving in was pretty amazing seeing the massive sandstone buttes rising up from the desert floor.
Finally before heading into Page for the night I visited Horseshoe Bend. Wow, what an amazing sight; you take a short hike from the car park over a hill until you come to the outside rim of a massive canyon where the Colorado river wraps around on its self some 300m below making this massive horseshoe, it was an awesome sight to see.
I then headed into Page to get some stuff and stayed the night on some Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land just outside of Page. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it yet, but you can camp on BLM land for free, there’s a few rules which you can look up and no facilities, but I’ve stayed on it a few times now and it works well. I’ve been using this website to find most of my camping freecampsites.net.
The drive from Mesa Verde was pretty short only about 2h, I’ve done pretty well this whole trip I think the longest I’ve had to drive in a day is only about 4h.
The landscape was now alot more like I was expecting from a desert and the West haha, red sand with with these amazing red sandstone formations and cliffs rising up out of the ground, cut by water over millions of years. On the way in to town you drive past Wilson’s Arch which is a short stroll from the road so I stopped to have a look, the Arches are pretty amazing.
The campsite I was heading to was just on the other side of Moab. As you’re heading out of Moab towards the arches national park, you turn right down 128 (There is a gondola on the corner) which follows the Rio Grande River through the canyon. Along this road there are a number of self-register first in best dressed campgrounds. The first couple, which are definitely the nicer ones were already full but a bit further down there were some spots free.
These camp grounds were allot more exposed, but you get some shade from the sun in the evenings from the canyon walls. I was still an awesome spot on the river bank with canyon walls soaring above you, was pretty amazing. I set up camp and had some dinner. While I was cooking dinner I could see a few people swimming in the river from the rocks a little downstream. After dinner since it was still pretty damn hot, I decided it might be nice to go for a swim to cool off. So i wandered down and joined them, it was two couples one probably late 40’s the other about my age.We chatted while we swam; Well stood on rocks in the water, the current was quite strong in this section so you couldn’t really swim, but it was still really nice to cool off. We stayed till the light was pretty much gone then headed back out camps while we could still see the way.
The next day I got up and hit Arches national park, again I got in for free, not sure why maybe because they were doing works so a couple of places were shut (usually $25 i think). The only thing I will write about this is I headed straight for the far end of the Park for two reasons; one allot of the people coming in were stopping at the earlier stops and second most of the hiking is at the far end of the park so I wanted to get it out of the way while it was cooler in the morning. Now I’m going to let the pictures do the talking.
After a long hot day in the Park I felt like a refreshing beverage… so I stopped in at the Moab Brewery and had a Beer at the Bar. While I was sitting at the bar a local man came and Sat between myself and another guy, who turned out to be a Kiwi, the Jeff the local guy was amazed that he had sat down between the two of us. So we all got chatting, the Kiwi had shipped his motorbike over from NZ to a place in south america and has been travelling around on it for a few months, Jeff is civil engineer working for KOA campgrounds planning the remodeling and infrastructure of their campgrounds around the stated and in his spare time he goes rock crawling in his modified Jeep. As the night went on and we got chatting more, Jeff offered to take me out 4x4ing in his Jeep if I was around the next day, I was meant to be leaving in the morning but decided to stay as I didn’t want to pass up this great opportunity. That night I actually ended up staying at a Backpackers in town as it was cheaper than camping ($12).