Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dead Horse Point State Park (near Moab)

Roger here....  The dogs needed a day out, and we knew that dogs are allowed on most of the hiking trails in Utah's state parks.  So we got up early, packed up the hiking gear, water and food.  We grabbed the dogs and traveled about 40 miles to Dead Horse Point State Park.  

Even without the excuse of walking the dogs, we had intended to visit this scenic state park.  However, we did not know how amazing it would be.  Every place we have been in southern Utah has been beautiful.  Every place we have been in southern Utah has been unique.  Dead Horse Point was no exception.

We started down the East Rim Trail (three-miles, round-trip) at about 9:30 in the morning.  The temperature was around 82 degrees,  perfect.  The trail was well-marked, and mostly flat.  It was paved, in portions, with sections of slickrock marked by numerous cairns.  Much of the trail hugged the rim of the canyon, 2000 feet above the Colorado River.

Tequila gave us a thrill, early in the hike, when she attempted to chase a lizard over the stacked-rock wall.  Fortunately, Dianne was alert while she jerked our errant dog off the side of the wall that she was determined to scale.  (Dianne here:  Tequila scared me to death when she leaped up the wall -- there was a 2,000-foot or so drop on the other side!  Of course, she had no way of knowing that.  This is the second time I've saved her life; the first time was when I jerked her back from the rattlesnake that was lunging to bite her at Zion.  This little girl keeps me on my toes!!  Thelma and Louise drove their car off a cliff in this area of Utah.  I may start calling her Thelma.) 

BAD DOG!  Tequila can be a trouble-maker.  Bandido just stared at her with one of those, what are ya thinkin', looks.

Here is a shot of Bandido demonstrating the proper way to look at the canyon.  GOOD DOG!

I have run out of adjectives describing the Utah scenery, so please forgive me when I repeat myself.  We enjoyed these amazing vistas as we ambled down the trail.

We eventually got our first glimpse of Dead Horse Point, a peninsula-like protrusion thrusting into the canyon.  In the 1800's cowboys used Dead Horse Point to catch wild horses.  With sheer cliffs on all sides and an access of only 30 feet it made a perfect horse trap. With a fence, it also made a perfect corral.  According to legend, a band of wild horses died on the point when they were abandoned by the cowboys.  Sad story.

Soon after our arrival at Dead Horse Point the temperature started its daily upward surge. Our dogs exhibited the classic signs of being too warm as they sought out shade whenever they could find it.  We brought their new cooling jackets, and were pleased to observe their effectiveness.  

We scrambled through a rocky area, then quickly arrived at the end of the point and a magnificent view of the twisty Colorado River below.  What a view!

We joined a nice couple who were gawking at the view, much like us.  We took turns taking each others' pictures.  Not a bad picture.  You can actually see our faces beneath our frumpy, but very cool hats.

As an aside, our new hats are filled with cooling beads.  The beads absorb water, when immersed.  They remain wet for hours.  My new friends from the Fiery Furnace hike had them and recommended them.  I bought them at the Arches Visitor Center.  They really do work.  So now I have replaced my frumpy blue hiking hat with a much cooler (literally) frumpy white hiking hat.

OK, well, that view had to be the highlight of the day.  Wait!  Is that Johnny Depp over there?  I should say, "Is that Johnny Depp DOWN there?"

Our new friends pointed out the scene below --- the filming site of a new movie, The Lone Ranger.  If you look carefully to the left of the white tents, the black blurry spot is actually an old locomotive.  It is sitting on a short section of train track.  We were able to see it clearly through binoculars that our friends shared.  We will have to see the movie to find out what the scene was all about.  I am just sure that Johnny Depp was down there :-).

Time to move on.  A short distance down the trail we saw this structure.  We don't know what it is, but assume that it is related to the filming of the movie below.

Heading back to retrace our steps, we got a quick picture of the other side of the point.

The walk back was warm.  We have got to get an earlier start in the morning.  We made frequent stops in the limited shade to water the dogs and ourselves.  One more shot of an interesting rock formation next to the canyon.  (The opening photo of this blog was taken through one of the holes in this formation.)

Back in the air-conditioned car, we opted to drive to a shady picnic table for lunch.  Our hiking lunches have changed since we left Texas a few months ago.  Instead of sandwiches, which seem to be heavy after all that exercise, we are now eating a little summer sausage, a little cheese, some fruit and a granola bar.

The next post will in all likelihood cover an anticipated visit to Canyonlands National Park and other new vistas.

The Pet Picture of the Day demonstrates Tequila's ability to lounge in almost any circumstance --- body on the captain's chair, head on the lounger's extended footrest, legs in the air.


Nancy and Bill said...

Those vistas are AMAZING!!!


Happy Trails said...

We enjoyed visiting Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point last year and loved all your photos! An amazing part of America!

Anonymous said...

I have been catching up on your blog, and I am enjoying going on your hikes with you! We met you at the RV Dreams rally in April, and we sat at your table the final morning. We are two years away from full-timing, but I think I need one of those "very cool hats" for my birthday. Is there a brand or anything on them that might make it easier to find them on an internet search?
Mark and Denisa