I spent over 7 hours in this National Park! Surprised even me! This part of the park is on a parcel of high mesa that one day will become an island! Just like Dead Horse State Park, the best part of it is located after going through a narrow strip of land and once you reach the end, there are dramatic dropoffs into canyons. The park brochure even tells us that the "gooseneck" is still eroding, grain by grain and one day there will no longer be a road onto the "island". Not anytime soon, though - it is 44 feet wide right now.
I first drove all the way to the end of the road to see Grand View Point Lookout. I could see a far distance to the West and even a section of the Green River, but was not satisfied, so I drove a little further and took a hike out to Grand View Lookout itself. I was expecting to see the canyons for about 270 degrees, but when the trail ended, there were huge boulders at the end of the mesa, blocking the view straight ahead. So, I walked first to the west side, then to the east side. This took quite some time.
Then I went back and turned onto the other road that leads to Upheaval Dome. So I thought. It leads to a picnic area and a trail that goes to the Dome Overlooks. Noticing that black clouds were on their way and that the trail is only .5 miles to the first overlook, I went on my way. The first overlook was disappointing to me - couldn't see the whole thing or get the effect I wanted in a picture, I asked people returning about the 2nd overlook. They said it was better, but it was quite a walk. The sign said .8 miles and I was up for it, so off I went.
About half way through, I guess, it started to sprinkle (big raindrops out here)so I put my rain poncho on and continued. Thunder echoed through the canyons and sounded cool. When it started raining a bit harder, I sat under a short rock ledge and waited it out. Ahead of me was an open area of slick rock and I saw how the wind blew the rain until it looked to be parallel to the ground. I found a good place to sit it out - but the rain came down on my head and lap. It didn't hail and was over in about 15 minutes. The sun came out and quickly dried the slick rock, so I ventured forward across that open space. There I met a couple who were on their way back and sat out the storm under a big alcove in a rock on the other side of the open space. They saw my hot pink rain slicker, but I didn't see them. Good to know I wasn't alone out there! We watched as the sun's rays came down over the Upheaval Dome (good view from that open slick rock area) and made all the colors of it shine brightly. The couple said that I needed to continue on the trail so I could see how the Dome bends downhill, so of I went again.
At the end of this strenuous and challenging hike, I got to the second viewing area and the sight was too big to fit into my camera lens. I was not over it high or far enough to capture the shape of the whole thing. I include an aerial shot of it so you can see what I was hoping to see. I agree with the meteor theory of how this upside down dome was created.
So, I thought I saw the two main attractions of the park and was on my way back. There were more pullouts of the right side of the road, and I just had to see. So, I saw the Whale Rock close to the road, more of the Green River at the Green River Overlook, and then the Mesa Arch. That arch was reached after hiking a level path, thank goodness! Once there, I saw these other rock formations through the arch's opening, and found out that they have names - Airport Tower, Washerwoman Arch, and Monster Tower! I'm glad I made this stop and took this walk!
The last place I decided to look at was Shafer Canyon. I saw a very steep trail used today by jeeps but in the 1950s by trucks hauling uranium and other ores out of the canyon! Gette, if/when you come back, you have to go on a jeep tour through the Canyonlands! You would love it if you don't worry about being bumped around on your ride!
The second thunderstorm was approaching on my way out of the park, so I stopped at a pullout giving a Plateau View and marveled at the left end of a rainbow that seemed to end in the valley where Moab is and the right end of two rainbows with darkness between them. At times the rainbow bottom on the right became very brilliant in color. You know how you can see rainshowers coming? Well I saw sunshowers coming, I swear? Check it out!