Apr 21 - Up a Lazy River... with You
- Explored: The Colorado River, upstream from Moab. Also, the Visitor's Center for Arches NP.
- Toad Miles Today: 48
- Total Toad Miles Spring12: 606
- Tonight's camp: Portal RV Park near Moab, UT.
- Weather: morning low 44, afternoon high 88, the sun is intense this time of year.
- Notables: 1. The red rocks of the Colorado River Gorge are stunning. 2. Did our orientation to Arches at the Visitor's Center this afternoon.
- Link to photo album for today
First, the Moab area is busy from March to October... weekends, weekdays... it doesn't matter. RV parks here are busy, they're expensive, and the spaces tend to be small. Almost everyone we talk to confirms it. Second, the hassle of moving a tub (said with affection) like the bus-house... by the time you break camp and secure everything for travel, make the move, and then set up camp again... can take the better part of a day... at least a half day. So we decided that since we're established here at Portal RV Park, we're close to what we want to see, sure it might cost a few more shekels... but extending here is the thing to do if we're going to focus on the National Parks and not the logistics of the RV lifestyle. I think that's enough about that.
Today we drove up the Colorado River. At the risk of over-using superlatives (Zowwie...I know... it's too late for that...), the rocks really rock! The canyon or gorge cut by the river is steep-sided, dramatic, and spectacular. The river runs along the south-eastern edge of Arches NP. Along the river are a series of BLM campgrounds... at least two of which we would be able to make work if we could select the right (level and large enough) site. But they were both full and one is closing Monday for "weed control". We still stopped along the way at almost every pull-out, and took too many photos.
But one thing the river was NOT doing was flowing strongly. I'm told the snowpack on the western side of the Divide in Colorado was very low this past winter. And we all know what that portends... a tight water-budget year for anyone relying on the waters of the Colorado. Lake Mead (the reservoir water behind Hoover Dam near Las Vegas) was already lower than any time since the 1930s when we visited a little over a year ago. It looks like it's going to be even lower by the end of the year.
Stopping at the Visitor's Center over at Arches, just a few miles up the road from camp, we spent a couple hours getting "orientated"... perused the exhibits, watched the film, and talked with a ranger about the Park. An unusual set of geological features make Arches NP unique, and I'll write more on all that tomorrow, after we've had a day with our feet on the ground inside the Park.
It's supposed to be warm tomorrow so we'll be lugging a few litres of water for survival.