After leaving Moab, Utah we drove the 30 miles to Island In The Sky mesa on which one finds Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse State Park.
In retrospect I am sorry I didn't take a picture of the top of the mesa it would have explained the following description. The top of the mesa is a desert, it's green with desert plants that don't need a lot of water because there is none and only about 10 inches of rain a year. One expects to see  ungulates grazing but there are only small mammals like rabbits, coyotes, and ground squirrels along with some small desert birds. We only saw the birds. The brochure says that Big Horn Sheep sometimes come up on the mesa. We didn't see any of these either. I guess they can come and go at will since they climb up and down the cliffs they don't need to look for water on the mesa.

Dead Horse Point gets it's name from dead horses. It is easy to put up a fence of about 30 yards at the neck of the Point which is a peninsula attached to the mesa. Then you can graze horses on the peninsula and not worry about them getting away. There is only one wrinkle, no water. Periodically the horses had to be taken off the mesa and hydrated. According to legend of which there are several versions some cowboys or rustlers put some horses at the Point intending to return before the lack of water became critical. They were delayed and when they finally returned all the horses had died from the lack of water. Dead Horse Point had nice campsites with no water and 20 amp electric under the table.

Dead Horse Point State Park also had incredible Sunrises, unfortunately my digital pictures don't do it justice.

The Park also overlooks some Potash Mines which are interesting. They used to have miners mining the Potash which is used as fertilizer. One day the Colorado River, like the Saddle River flooded its banks and water when down into the mines. While in the mines it dissolved the potash and when pumped out the water dried in the sun  and there was the potash for the collecting. So now no more miners just water pumped into and out of the mines and allowed to dry in the desert sun before it is harvested.

Canyonlands National Park also has arches, some with spectacular views of the canyons below.

There are of course other places to view the canyon below the rim. That's about as close to the edge as I wanted to get although one of the NP Rangers stood right at the edge while he described the park to us.


From Canyonlands we headed  SouthWest to Capitol Reef National Park

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