Overlooks in Canyonlands

Our big day of hiking turned into a little day of hiking.  Eleanor did something to zing her back and was in such excruciating pain that wearing a backpack for six or seven miles on the trail was not realistic.  This was disappointing for all but I had great sympathy for her predicament, since the exact same thing happened to me about two weeks ago in Wyoming. Neither of us has a history of back trouble, but we both celebrated birthdays in the, uh, latter half of our 40’s, and we suspect that we are facing the reality of so-called middle age.

Well, not wanting to go quietly into decrepitude, Eleanor took a few Motrin and shouldered her burden long enough to hike a two mile trail at the spectacular Grandview Point of Canyonlands National Park.  It was worth it, I think, but after that we needed to give her break.  Fortunately, you can see a lot in this park just by driving to overlooks and walking short distances.


Driving in the park is kind of fun, thanks to squiggly roads and great scenery all the time.   I really didn’t mind cruising around and stopping at overlooks, and it was a good excuse for a roadside picnic.  Emma and I did get in one more short hike, at Whale Rock.   It’s described as “good for families” with some slickrock climbing, but on a breezy day like yesterday the final stages of the hike can be a little intimidating.   Zoe the Stuffed Cat (who always rides in Emma’s backpack) had to be securely zipped inside so she didn’t blow out, and we could hear her yowling the whole time.

We have decided to stay another day, in the hope of Eleanor’s recovery, and in any case because we can’t think of any other spot we’d rather be at the moment.   The weather is  fine, the campground is pleasant and cheap, the scenery is fabulous, and there is plenty to do whether we choose to drive into the park or just play around here. Most importantly, our water supply is holding out, and there has been sunshine to recharge the batteries.

The major reason to depart may be our next mail drop.   It is awaiting us in a town three hours south of here, and the post office in that town is open on Saturday for only two hours.   This means we must leave early Saturday in order to get the mail, or wait until Monday to pick it up.   Normally a mail pickup is not a big deal, since the post office will hold mail sent to General Delivery for three weeks.   It’s just one of the many factors we consider as we develop our ongoing itinerary.

In this case, however, I need that mail ASAP.   It contains the registration paperwork for our car.  There was a SNAFU with the title and as a result our temporary registration expired yesterday before the permanent registration was processed.  As of today we are legal again, but we don’t have any paper to prove it, so I’d like to get that document before we go much further.  In four years of full-time and part-time travel with the Airstream, we have not been pulled over by the police once, but of course Murphy’s Law says that’s what will happen if we don’t get that paper in the glove box soon.

We are in the “end game” of this trip now.   There are only a few stops left before we end up in Tucson.  We’re weighing the final stops carefully now, trying to get the most out of the high-altitude sites before we flee to the low desert and winter warmth.   We will definitely be at winter home base before Halloween, and our next scheduled Airstream adventure will not be until after Christmas. Knowing this gives us  reason to drag our wheels as we drive through the Four Corners region.   For you, blog readers, this means perhaps another 10-14 days of travel blog before we switch gears to home life (and three-quarters of you tune out!)


  1. Craig S. says


    Your photography is always top-notch, but photo #3 above is nothing short of astounding! Hopefully you’ll post that to Flickr so we can see it bigger!


  2. Paula says

    We enjoyed Canyonlands & Dead Horse Point two years ago in October. It was extraordinary. I’m ready to go back. Oh, by the way, Monday is a postal holiday.

  3. Katie says

    We’re SO glad that you are still enjoying your special friend from VT!!
    LOVE and HUGS,

  4. claire says

    Hey Rich,
    We are in southern Utah, visiting Bryce Canyon and Zion, for the next few days.
    Let us know if you’ll be in the area…
    Claire & Daniel

  5. says

    Your photo of Eleanor and Emma at Grandview Point wonderfully illustrates one of Ken Burns’ points* in his preface, “Our Best Selves”, in the new book:

    “The National Parks”, Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns, Knopf publisher, 2009

    * “… the narrative of the parks… is also about who we see these sacred places with, whose hand we are holding at the rim of the Grand Canyon… what intimate transmissions… occur between the generations as we instill this love of the parks, our parks, to our posterity.”