Thursday, October 22, 2015

Moab Vacation: Canyonlands National Park

On Saturday, we visited Island in the Sky, one of the four areas of Canyonlands National Park. The weather was significantly cooler than the day before and there was a lot more wind along the rim of the canyon than at Arches.

I felt like Arches was a lot of hiking up to see things, whereas Canyonlands was a lot of hiking along the top and looking down.

On a clear day, you can see out into the distance for miles. The wind picks up a lot of dust and sand particles, which fill the air making the views more hazy.

The kids worked hard to learn about the park and earn their Jr. Ranger badges. During our hike to Grand View Point and Mesa Arch they were able to spot several animal tracks on the sand. We also learned about the biological soil crust. They are living organisms that grow on the surface of desert soil and that bind soil particles together. They produce nutrients for plants, retain water, prevent erosion and keep the air free from sand particles. Biological soil crust is easily spotted because of it's dark color. This thin layer takes time to develop but is easily destroyed whenever someone steps on it. Which is the case when people don't stay on designated trails. It was really easy for the kids to spot and photograph as one of their requirements.

It is incredible what the Colorado River and it's tributaries were able to carve over time!

The park uses cairns, piles of rocks stacked atop each other, to mark the direction of the trail. Carson really enjoyed trying to spot them as we walked along the trails. He would run to one, stop, scan the area around him, and once he spotted another he would take off running again. I can't believe how much energy that boy has!