Saturday, June 14, 2008

Confluence Overlook Trail

The Confluence Overlook Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park is an 11 mile round trip to the point where the Green River and Colorado River Flow together. The trailhead is at the west end of the main park road.
The first segment descends into the canyon and crosses to the other side.  Like many of the hikes in Canyonlands the trail climbs up and down in rough canyons and follows along the canyon bottoms or along the rims. 
Some of the spots along these trails seem impossible, but there are often helpful ladders or steps arranged to make the trip a little easier. These spots are a reminder to stay on the trails and keep your eyes alert for the rock cairns marking the route. 
There are several high points along the up and down route where views of the nearby LaSal Mountains or the amazing Needles are visible.

Close to the confluence point, there are roads that allow vehicles and mountains bikes to arrive.
The view that keeps you going is the point deep in the Canyonlands to see the mighty Colorado, flowing from the right meeting the Green River from the left. The view is from about 1000 feet above the streams.

The two rivers flow together to the south toward Cataract Canyon, and further to Lake Powell behind the huge Glen Canyon Dam. It was a relatively cool June day, about 70 degrees F. and it took me 5:00 hours to complete this trip, spending only 10 minutes at the overlook. I finished the last of my 2 liters of water about 10 minutes before the finish.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs

Newspaper Rock is an easily accessible Petroglyph Panel along Utah Highway 211 on the way to The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park in southeast Utah. It is a comfortable location and easy to view. The interpretive information at the site indicates that 2000 years of man's activities in the area are recorded here.

There are no methods of dating scratchings on the sandstone and there are no conclusions from scholars on what the drawings mean. I notice that there are several human figures with animal heads and many of the foot print drawings have six or more toes. The Navajo name for the site is "the rock that tells a story."

The 200 square foot rock panel is a part of the vertical Wingate sandstone cliffs that dominate the upper end of Indian Creek Canyon. This layer is below the Navajo and Entrada Sandstone layers that are seen near Arches National Park and above the Cedar Mesa Sandstone that forms the Needles in Canyonlands.

The setting for Newspaper Rock is along Indian Creek, a lush riparian habitat area fed by water flowing north from the Abajo Mountains. The area along the shady creek banks are thick with cottonwood trees.

In 2003 this area experienced a major flash flood, which washed out a section of Highway 211. This flood damaged the majority of campsites that are across the road, burying fire rings and damaging picnic tables. The campground has been closed for restoration and due to the possibility of more flash floods.

 In the vicinity of Newspaper Rock, there is also Indio Arch and the Shay Canyon Petroglyph site that are not pointed out with signs but are interesting to visit. Past Shay Canyon is another Indian Creek Petroglyph site.

528614_Cool Camo Russell Outdoors