STONE ARCHES AND RED ROCKS
STONE ARCHES AND ROCKS
After traversing Wyoming and much of Utah quickly, we get closer to our destination Moab and its national parks. The landscape changes noticeably. It gets drier, almost desert-like and soon we discover the first red rocks. The emerald green (!!) Colorado is a wonderful contrast and offers a refreshing opportunity to swim in the current heat. We are lucky and get one of the popular places to stay right on the river. Moab itself we can’t acquire a taste for, but what nature has to offer in the vicinity of this small town is simply fantastic.
ARCHES AND CANYONS
Early the next morning we hike the stone arches in the famous Arches national park and try to escape the tourist crowds wherever we can. The delicate stone bridges and arches are a work of art, carved out of the red rocks over time by wind and water. Not far away is another highlight of this area called Canyonlands national park. We get out of bed before sunrise more than once and are rewarded with glowing red rocks and an amazing play of colors of the rising morning sun in the canyons deep below us.
ALMOST LIKE A ROADMOVIE
Thanks to our 4x4 mobile, we have the opportunity to drive through some of the canyons of the Canyonlands on our own! The sheer sight of the switchbacks which winds steeply into the gorge makes us dizzy. Once down in the valley, we drive on a rocky gravel road along the Colorado river and enjoy the great views of rocky outcrops, steep cliffs and buttes. En route we get to the very spot where in the movie “Thelma & Louise” the convertible of the two crooks ladies, fleeing from the police, shoots over the cliffs and drowns in the Colorado. However, we decide that not only life, but also our beloved mobile is dear to us and renounce to such a premature end of our road trip.
FROM WET TO WHITE
Unlike Thelma & Louise, we leave the canyon unharmed. In the late afternoon, however, a thunderstorm gathers, like we have not experienced one in many years. We only just sit with our friends Ellen and Thomas at the camping table and watch the hustle and bustle of the violet-black clouds in the distance and suddenly a curtain of rain is racing towards us. We manage to stow everything in a makeshift way and seconds after we get inside our cabins, it hails grape-sized lumps of ice from the sky! The hailstones hit the roof so threateningly loud that we barely understand each other. We just sit there and are seriously worried about our solar panels and hope that the skylights won’t get damaged. After a quarter of an hour – a perceived eternity – the storm continues on and leaves behind a white landscape. We’re lucky, our car survives the whole thing without a scratch. Unfortunately, our friends have some smashed position lights and a crack in the roof window to mourn.
Back in Moab we leave our home-on-wheels with a heavy heart in the parking lot and get into a vehicle, which is more suitable for the next hours … We are talking about a buggy with which we make a tour through the petrified sand dunes in the back country. It’s unbelievable, this vehicle can go anywhere! At first, we are skeptical and hardly trust our eyes when we see the track in front of us steep and straight to the hilltop. We get there excitedly only to find out, that the decent on the other side is even steeper. With trembling hands, we watch our buggy slowly crawling down as if it was a normal street. Behind the next hill, big steps carved in stone awaiting us which we drive up and down as if we were on foot. After this off-road fun, we leave Moab for good and make a little detour to Arizona.
PRECIOUS TO THE INDIANS AND HOLLYWOOD
Shortly after leaving Utah, we already see it in the distance. The striking and famous buttes of the Monument Valley. For the Native Americans, this place has not only healing powers, but also houses the spirits of their ancestors. Hollywood, on the other hand, has used the scenery in innumerable westerns. Unforgettable is the sunset in which John Wayne rides on his horse while the buttes glow orange-red in the background.
Once again on our travels, the encounter between indigenous people and the white man unfortunately leaves us with an unpleasant aftertaste… One has the feeling that the tourists are paying the price for a yet unprocessed past and are treated as a walking purse. The deep-seated injuries caused by the inhumane and unjust treatment of the white conquerors are still felt today and do not lead to a heartfelt meeting of the cultures. The contrast between the for the mass tourism designed, air-conditioned souvenir stores and the vending shacks of the poor natives beside the road couldn’t be bigger.
Nevertheless, we let ourselves be enchanted by the setting sun and enjoy the peaceful view over this monumental valley until the first stars sparkle in the sky and the cold drives us shivering in our cozy campers. The four of us spend another evening with good food, a card game and we plan the next couple of days together.