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#17 Canyonlands National Park, UT

It has come to my attention, that I am The Ice Age Queen, bringing record cold to all the parks and monuments I visit. Why should the Utah/Death Valley/Nevada trip be any different? It wasn't... Yup, even in Death Valley, record cold and rain. It never rains in Death Valley! More on that later.

Fred, Davis & I camped outside of Moab for what was supposed to be 3 nights. Fortunately, we were rescued by our friends, Gaylene & Don Bruskotter. They invited us to the home they had rented. Not only did they keep us from freezing and being blown away, they gave us the master bedroom! Who does that?!? I am so blessed to know them and thank them from the depths of my heart for supporting me in so many ways on this sacred journey!

I took this the day after we were all in Canyonlands

so I could get at least one sunny shot.

Don & Gaylene Bruskotter, Mel Diminno, Davis Benedict, Kaitlyn, Fred, Alejandro Arellano, Debbie & Eric Klotz, & me wearing all the clothes we could find.

It was a cold, snowy, windy morning when we all gathered at the Canyonlands Visitor Center. Can I just say how grateful I am to everyone who showed up to support us in Arches & Canyonlands? It wasn't nice weather and still they came to honor Anna. Incredible friends!

33 miles is all that separates Canyonlands Visitor Center and Arches Visitor Center. Geologically, they are similar but pretty different. Remember that salt bed? It's here too, but different composition happened here. Arches has no rivers, but Canyonlands has two rivers, the Colorado & the Green, carving and chipping away at what took millions of years to pile up.

Let's talk about that composition for a minute. This part surprised me! 300 million years ago dirt blew in from distant mountain ranges; the closest being the Rockies and the furthest away being the Appalachians. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Were there no trees to stop it?!? Perhaps not... Anyway, so many different kinds of dirt were deposited here that geologists called it a layer cake. That's exactly what it looks like, a stunning, geologic layer cake! But at that time there were no canyons, so you would have only seen the latest installment of dirt had you been standing there 300 million years ago.

Then about 20 million years ago Uplift a big way. Geologists believe that this area lifted 5,000 feet from sea level. So that beautiful layered cake that we have been enjoying just got infused with igneous rock from the cracks that released melted rock from deep within the earth. Yay, more layers! It must have been even more wild looking than it is today.

Enter Mr. Erosion. The Colorado and Green Rivers used to just meander through the flat lands millions of years ago and then after upheaval their jobs changed. They were now the principal force in carving these Canyonlands. Remember the Grand Canyon? Yup, same thing. Composition, Upheaval, & Erosion are recurring themes in North America, and yet it can look so different. I love that!

Here we are at the top of an arch. You can really see how the fin separates from erosion and then chunks start falling out and you have an arch.

Fortunately, I'm not afraid of heights so was able to get these shots.

Being in Canyonlands brought back so many, many memories. Not only were we here with her when she was 5, but we took her on the infamous, 100 mile White Rim Trail when she was 4 months old. That was my 1st Mother's Day. The guys rode mountain bikes and the women drove the support vehicles with gas, food, water, & tents. 33 miles a day is all you can do with trucks because it is so rugged. The bikes made better time.

The temperatures were 100+ degrees. I remember the 2nd night when we made camp it was 105 degrees at 6 PM. Keeping everyone, including Anna & the two toddlers, Callie Klotz & Madeline Hollar, hydrated was a real challenge! That adventure probably should be filed under "What doesn't kill you; makes you stronger" file.

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