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Cruising the Cs: Canyon de Chelly, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef

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Oct 20th, 2017, 07:25 PM
  #1
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Cruising the Cs: Canyon de Chelly, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef

With both Mr. Pickle and I in school and working, we have much less time together than we used to. I have a week's break between class blocks, so we decided to make a quick trip to Arizona and Utah to visit three places we haven't seen before.

We left home Wednesday morning and drove to Canyon de Chelly National Monument. On a previous trip to Utah, we had planned to visit Canyon de Chelly, but we ran into a severe sandstorm and couldn't even see Chinle when we got there, not to mention the turnoff to the park.

October is a wonderful time to visit these parks. The weather has been sunny and clear, but not hot - the highs Wednesday were in the mid-70s. The cottonwoods' leaves are changing, so the scenery is even more striking than usual.

Since we had somewhat limited time, we only visited the South Rim of the canyon and didn't do the White House Ruin hike. It was fun trying to spot the ruins from the rim.

It was a little early for dinner when we left the park, and we decided to stop somewhere along the way to Blanding, where we spent Wednesday night, for dinner. Pro tip: there are almost no places to stop and eat before you get to Bluff, unless you're a convenience store burrito fan.

We checked out a few places in Bluff, but most were more expensive than we thought we could afford. Eventually, we found the Twin Rocks Cafe http://www.twinrockscafe.com, which was more affordable. Their Navajo taco was very good, and there are several other items on their menu which look pretty tasty.

We spent the night at the Rodeway Inn in Blanding - nothing fancy, but it was fairly inexpensive and we had a nice suite of sorts with a king bed. They have a decent breakfast (hard-cooked eggs, sausage, yogurt, bread products, waffles, etc.) and we slept fairly well.

I'll post pictures when we get home. More later!

Lee Ann
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Oct 20th, 2017, 07:37 PM
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Lee ann,

Im so glad to see your TR. I have been wondering how it went!

Looking forward to the rest.
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Oct 20th, 2017, 08:09 PM
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I really like Twin Rocks. You can't beat the prices. And I really like the Trading Post gallery shop--some amazing stuff there.
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Oct 21st, 2017, 12:32 AM
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Recapture Lodge is the only place to stay. It is the most historic/rustic/quaint place in that area. Reservations are very difficult. NOT a 5-star place.

Did you visit their restored kiva next to the cemetery and their historic restored fort?

Vaga
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Oct 22nd, 2017, 03:45 AM
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Too bad you couldn't get down into Canyon de Chelley and take a Navajo led tour. That was fantastic when we went. Maybe next time.

We stayed at Recapture Lodge, but I was not impressed at all. We had read the Hillerman books where Leaphorn stayed there, but our room was quite shabby and there was no one there who seemed to be able to give us any information about the area. Perhaps the regular folks who run the place were away. We did find the Wolfman petroglyph site on our own though.

Did you visit Edge of Cedars State Park in Blanding?

I'll be very interested to read your report on Canyonlands and Capitol Reef.

Thanks
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Oct 23rd, 2017, 01:12 PM
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We stopped in Bluff only long enough to eat dinner; it was getting dark and we wanted to minimize the possibilities of hitting a deer on our way to Blanding.

Day 2 - Canyonlands National Park

After breakfast, a stop for coffee at Higher Grounds, and another stop for gas, we drove north on Hwy. 191 to the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park.

What a spectacular area! What gorgeous scenery! Even the drive into the park was beautiful. This was my favorite stop on the trip. We spent most of the day here. After a quick stop at Newspaper Rock, we drove around the park, hiked the Cave Springs Trail, and did a couple of the other shorter hikes. Temperatures were in the upper 60s and low 70s the entire trip, so we had great weather for walking, climbing up ladders, and things like that.

On our way out of the canyon, we picked up a couple of rock climbers whose truck had broken down and took them back to their campsite so they could call AAA for assistance. It would have been interesting visiting more with them - they mentioned a Himalayan climbing expedition which turned into a search for missing climbers, among other things.

We reached Moab in the late afternoon and quickly found the Lazy Lizard Hostel, our home for the next two nights. Since Utah schools were on fall break and there was some kind of mountain bike competition going on, lodging prices were really expensive (even Motel 6 was $160/night). We've stayed in hostels in England, Wales, New Zealand, and the US, so we're comfortable with shared bathrooms down the hall.

The clerk told us there had been a mixup and that our private room wasn't available. Instead, we were offered an upgrade to a cabin for no additional price.

The cabin was quiet and well-insulated, and we agreed that we would have experienced a lot more noise, cooking smells, etc., had we stayed in the private room in the main building.

However...this also meant we now had to walk outside to the bathroom/shower block, about 25 yards away, which was shared by everyone in the cabins, the dorm rooms, and the campers. Oh, and the people who just parked in any open space that slept in their trucks and campers. Two bathroom stalls and three shower stalls for all those people. Surprisingly, there was never a line for the facilities, but they never looked super clean either.

It was a good thing we never needed the window air conditioning unit because the cord would not have stretched to the outlet. There was one dim overhead light and a fixture with two incandescent bulbs, neither of which had lampshades. Mr. Pickle used a length of aluminum foil from the kitchen to improvise a shade.

The kitchen and common room were totally inadequate for the number of people staying there. The kitchen was about the size of my small kitchen - one range, one sink, a tiny amount of counter space, and three refrigerator/freezers. The common area had two tables that could seat maybe 8 people, plus a couple extra chairs and a couch. There was a picnic table outside and a couple of grills as well, plus picnic tables by each cabin. The kitchen was supposedly cleaned every day, but it never looked like it, although the guests were all good about cleaning up after themselves.

We planned to go to the Moab Brewery for dinner, but between the hordes waiting outside and the lack of parking, we decided to go to the Moab Diner instead. We had to wait about 30 minutes to be seated, but we enjoyed our dinner - a Sweetwater Skillet for Mr. Pickle and Kokopelli Chicken for me. http://www.moabdiner.com/

Lee Ann
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Oct 26th, 2017, 03:14 PM
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School has started again, but I will do my best to finish this report!

Canyonlands Day 2

We went to Island in the Sky, smugly passing the 1/2 mile of cars lined up to get into Arches.

I didn't think this part of the park was quite as spectacular as the Needles, especially the drive into the park itself. However, there is still some great scenery, and we enjoyed the hike along the rim at the Grand View Point overlook. We were feeling a little "hiked out," so we skipped Dead Horse State Park.

Mr. Pickle didn't want to deal with crowds and waiting in line at a restaurant, and I didn't want to have to cook in the hostel's tiny kitchen. He suggested getting something he could grill, so I didn't have to cook anything. We stopped at City Market and bought a nice-sized steak to split, salad, and bread for dinner, as well as restocking our snacks. The only thing we didn't find in the store was alcohol; I guess they sell it elsewhere in Moab.

Lee Ann
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Oct 26th, 2017, 04:37 PM
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I really like that drive into Needles District and Cave spring, Cowboy camp too. I love Island in the Sky, Grandview Point is really grand, the view through Mesa Arch is awesome and a pretty easy hike.

I hope you got up early and got into Arches before the crowds, it's pretty spectacular too.

Keep it coming, I'm visiting vicariously.
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Oct 26th, 2017, 05:16 PM
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Lee ann,

Havent you visited Utah before? All liquor is sold in State Liquor stores, except for beer which is sold also in grocery and c stores. I know exactly where the stores are in St. george, Moab, even Bicknell! Ask any local in a Utah town and they can usually direct you. Not open on Sundays or holidays and sometimes have kind of short hours. Hours vary by location and size of store. There are even a few specialty Wine Stores in SLC.
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Oct 26th, 2017, 07:50 PM
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The Moab liquor store is quite well stocked!!
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Oct 26th, 2017, 09:34 PM
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Dayle, we've been to Utah before, but didn't try to buy alcohol then. I figured it was sold somewhere - all the other people at the hostel had beer - but we didn't feel like looking too hard for it. Maybe next time!

Emalloy, I forgot we went to Mesa Arch as well. That was a nice hike and beautiful view!

We went to Arches the first time we visited Utah, so we skipped it for this visit.

Lee Ann
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Oct 27th, 2017, 01:57 PM
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Ah, well now you know for next time. Looking forward to the rest!
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