Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Wild Land: Exploring the scenic views of Utah

January 20, 2012, 10:08 am

Where was the tent? Only a few hours before we'd left it atop a southern Utah plateau covered in fantastic sandstone fins with views stretching all the way to the Sierra La Sal. Now all we saw were just a few scattered, lonely tent stakes. An English couple informed us that they had seen it blow past like a tumble weed. We later found it running with a herd of wild sagebrush and it took some effort to lasso the wild beast and haul it back to camp.

With all the fantastic beauty around us it had been all too easy to forget to properly stake the tent down and be reminded of how wild this land truly is.

My dreams of the canyon country of Utah began in the heart of winter. My dreams took shape over the course of the long, rainy months, like a natural arch worn of the sandstone by the rain and ice. Time shapes the canyons, as it shapes plans — and mine changed as dramatically as any work of nature. With maps and travel guides I had investigated every road, route and byway — but by the time my plans had settled (about three days before our departure) there were no reservations to be had at the park campgrounds, except one I had managed to procure in Bryce National Park.

My last-minute traveling companion was my uncle — an Okie with a degree in geology, and I could not have asked for a better tour guide for Utah than a certified rock hound. His stories helped to ease the agony of the 16-hour drive, and without him I would never have been able to rise at 4 or 5 in the morning every day to catch the sunrise!