Monday, June 23, 2008

Desert days and nights

Spring is the perfect time to visit the high desert of the Colorado Plateau. Mary and I spent 4 days and a couple of nights trekking and camping in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. We had a backcountry permit for an area called Chesler Park, an arid meadow surrounded on all sides by the towering spires of rock which give Needles its name.

This is spectacular country and a unique landscape. The deep canyons and impossible looking buttes are instantly recognisable as the American West. Nowhere else on earth looks like this. Spending nights under the stars (so many stars!) is a special experience, the sky so clear and dark you can see satellites tracking silently overhead.

One of the disadvantages of trekking and camping in the desert is you have to carry in all your own water - or find it. Lugging 15 litres of water makes you wonder if that titanium cookware set in your rucksack was worth the expense.

Mary enters Chesler Park.

A desert flower.

Another desert flower.

Balloon prepares to fly over Monument Valley.

Monumental Monument Valley.

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