White Rim Trail, Canyonlands National Park

When:

May 11th - 14th 2006

Where:

Canyonlands National Park

 

Attendees:

Chuck Hathcock

Darren Kilgore (Webpage)

KC O'Connor (Webpage)

 

Links:

Canyonlands National Park

 

*****Link to Full Picture Album*****


 

My good friends KC and Darren planned a week-long trip through Needles, the Maze, Arches, Canyonlands, and other locations in

southeastern Utah. I made plans to meet up with them the last few days of their trip so we could explore the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands.

 

I arrived in Moab on the 11th and met the guys at the brewery. I was running pretty late and they were already ready to go. We gased

and iced up and headed north to the route 313 that takes you into the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands.

 

We made camp outside the park as the sun was setting. I hadn't seen either KC or Darren since last fall, so it was nice to

sit around the fire and get caught up.

 

The morning of the 12th we entered the park and aired down after we turned off onto the Shafer Trail.

 

The views in southeastern Utah are amazing and Canyonlands and the White Rim Trail are a real treat. Canyonlands National Park

preserves a colorful landscape of sedimentary sandstones eroded into countless canyons, mesas and buttes by the Colorado River

and its tributaries.

 

All images are clickable to a larger version.

 

The Shafer switchbacks are steeper than the pictures convey.

 

 

 

 

Even though the drought is very apparent here in the southwest, there were still some wildflowers blooming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gosh, there were so many flowers hidden away as you walked around, I have tons of pictures of just flowers! Those

flowers in the last picture almost form a heart shape I think. Pretty cool.

 

We stopped at Musselman arch to walk around. It handled two big guys thankfully with me and Darren out there. If it

ever gives and breaks, I'd hate to be on it. What a fall....

 

 

We camped at the White Crack Campground at the southern end of the trail. There is a long narrow expanse of rock

that extends for half a mile or so from the campground. It was a great place to hike out onto for photos.

 

Here is Darren off in the distance setting up for some sunset photos.

 

 

The point overlooks the Needles district to the southeast and the maze to the southwest. I love sunset photos, here are

a couple I took.

 

 

 

 

The next day we made our way north. Driving through this country, you literally could take tens of

thousands of pictures. It gets overwhelming. One thing I was amazed with were all the mountain bikers. I really

respect how hard they work. This trail is over 100 miles long, with lots of tough up-hill sections. Props to them! I

offered water quite a few times to tired bikers, but it seemed everyone had support crews nearby so they

were fine. The elevational profile linked at the bottom of the page really shows just how hard these bikers

are working.

 

 

 

Pretty cool shot. Three Toyotas, from three different states (NM, WY, CO), in a fourth state!

 

 

 

This common raven (Corvus corax) decided to give me a closer look.

 

 

We stopped for lunch along the river and I tried out Darren's Canon 2x Extender on my Rebel XT. I wanted to see

what sort of image quality I could get by doubling my 70-200L F4 lens. I got a few pictures of an Ash-throated

flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens) that was flying around feeding.

 

 

I saw quite a few collard lizards (Crotaphytus collaris), but didn't get many photos. This was about the best photo I got.

 

 

Since I wanted some closer looks, I decided to catch this collard lizard in Taylor Canyon. I brought my noose pole with me

and it didn't take me too long to nab him. KC and Darren got some pictures and I really liked this picture

that KC took. The little guy bit pretty hard. ;-)

 

 

We decided to drive up the river road a while instead of going out Mineral Road right away. The road went a lot farther than the

map indicated. On the way back out I came across a cool little rattlesnake. It was a new species for me so it was pretty exciting!

 

They are called a midget-faded rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus concolor).

 

 

 

KC got this shot of me wrangling the snake for a photo.

 

 

 

We headed back out Mineral Road and aired up before we hit the pavement. Since we all had long drives home on

Sunday and we still had light left, we decided to part ways and make camp toward home. I ended up camping at

Needles Overlook about 30 minutes south of Moab. The wind kicked up pretty hard on this night, but sleeping in

the back of my Tacoma is so nice I didn't even notice. :)

 

The next morning was still pretty dusty so sunrise pictures were not too clear.

 

 

I saw quite a few pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) along the road back to the highway.

 

He wouldn't get any closer for a better photo. :(

 

Overall it was a quick and fun 3 day trip and it was great to see Darren and KC again. Looking forward to

future trips.

 

Here is a link to a map of the trip (1.9mb) and also an elevational profile below.

 

 

 



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