Saturday, October 08, 2011

Book Research Trip to Moab, Utah: Part Three

On the last two days, I posted photos from the first two thirds of my book research trip to Moab, Utah. I'll finish up today with photos from the last day of my 3-day, 100-mile trip on the Colorado River through Meander Canyon and Cataract Canyon and on into Lake Powell. The last day of the river trip started with the three biggest rapids of the whole journey, Big Drop 1, 2, and 3. The photo below shows our boatman Dave powering upstream while scouting a rapid downstream over his shoulder to find the best path through it.

In the photos below, you'll see how wet we got (from head to toe--see the water pouring off the rafter in the first photo) and how carefully we're clutching on to the boat ropes and metal handholds to stay INSIDE the J-rig. We did not want to swim those rapids!

However, in a gentler class II rapid downstream, the guides said folks could try swimming a rapid, and my adventuresome hubby jumped in (see below).

After running the last eight rapids, we reached the placid waters of Lake Powell (first photo below) that had backed up into Cataract Canyon and flooded the remaining rapids. We beached at Dark Canyon to eat lunch and hike through a muddy stream bed back to a short waterfall (second and third photos below). Then it was my turn for a swim in Lake Powell (last photo below).

A great feature of the trip was a scenic ride in a six-seater airplane from Hite Marina on Lake Powell back to the Moab airport. We were able to see many of the places we'd been from the air, including Lake Powell (first photo), the Big Drop rapids (second photo), the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers (third photo) and the area where we hiked over the relatively lower spot in the canyon wall from one side of "The Loop" to the other. The last photo below shows the plane.

That night we took hot showers, soaked in the motel's hot tub, changed into clean clothes, ate a delicious Thai dinner in town, and fell into soft, comfy beds. Ah! The next day was a very full one. First we drove into the Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands National Park and visited all of the overlooks and the famous Mesa Arch (photo below).

Then we drove the dirt switchback Shafer Trail (first photo below) down to a remote overlook (second photo below). There were several EEK moments on that trail!

After that we visited Dead Horse Point State Park to look down on a river section that we had rafted days before. Then we rushed over to Arches National Park so my hubby could capture a couple of more iconic photos before the sun set. Balanced Rock is in the first photo and Delicate Arch is in the second. The last one shows the mass of photographers from all over the world who at the ready to take that sought-after sunset shot of Delicate Arch.

We made friends with some of the photographers who had flashlights (we'd rushed up the 1.5 mile trail without ours) and hiked back in the dark with them lighting the way. After a delicious Mexican dinner at 9 PM, we fell into bed. A jam-packed week in Moab, and we still want to go back!

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