the last 3 days of our road trip - days 18, 19 and 20
31.12.2016 - 02.01.2017 -2 °C
At 6am this morning, Australia would be coming into 2017. To celebrate, we decided to set an alarm for 5:30am, and call home to celebrate with them. It was nice to see and hear from them all again and to celebrate the end of another year. It wasn't as cold this morning, probably about -3 degrees celsius, so much warmer than yesterday!! We didn't have a whole lot planned for today. We would just be driving from Bryce to Moab, where we would stay for the night. It is about a 5 hour drive, back through the desert. It wasn't an overly interesting drive, but we managed to entertain ourselves by playing some music games, guessing the songs and artists. When we got to Moab we shopped at our trusty City Market for dinner stuff. Most things were closed in the town as it was New Years Eve, so we decided to just set up camp at the same spot as last time, Big Bend Campground.
We played a bit of frisbee in the carpark before cooking up a nice curry for dinner. Even though it wasn't the most interesting day, it was nice to be out of the snow again, and camping in slightly warmer tents.
As it was New Years Eve, I spent a bit of time reflecting on my past year. It has probably been the hardest year so far. However, I have achieved a lot this year. I started off the year working full time, not really knowing where my future would take me. Throughout the year I have travelled to New Zealand, Canberra, Melbourne and now the USA. I have skydived. I have learned to fly, and attained my Private Pilots Licence. I have passed two post graduate university subjects that I thought would be impossible. And most importantly, I have found a direction I want to take my life. Even though 2016 has been a very challenging year, it has also been a great year. I look forward to the adventures 2017 brings!!
We wanted to celebrate the beginning of the new year, however, as we had been going to bed at around 8am, there was no way we would be able to stay up to midnight. We also didn't want to ruin the next day by depriving ourselves of sleep. We decided to go to bed and set an alarm for 11:55pm, wake up, have a drink of whisky, count in the new year, then go back to sleep! It wasn't a usual way of celebrating the new year, but it was good enough for us.
Today we are going into our 5th and final national park on our road trip, Canyonlands National Park. We managed to pack up our tents and get into the park by just after 8am. We were planning on just having a cruisy day, looking at just the main attractions. We started at the Mesa Arch. It is just a 5 minute walk from the main road and is truely spectacular.
We got there at a pretty perfect time. The sun was just coming up, and the orange rock was really glowing. We decided to walk around to a peak that we could see. This gave us a different view of the arch, as well as the canyons below it.
We then drove round to grand view overlook and white rim overlook.
Even though the views were really spectacular, it was hard to appreciate them after visiting the Grand Canyon. When then drove round to Upheaval Dome, and did the walk up to the first lookout. The sign said the walk was 1 mile and would take 1 hour round trip. It literally took us 5 minutes to walk up, and 2 minutes to walk down. We were walking reasonably fast, however I can't understand how anyone can take an hour to do this walk! The lookout gave us a view of a huge crater, with a big green dome in the middle.
It was quite amazing, and fascinating reading about its possible formation. We had an early lunch, the drove a few hours to Grand Junction for the night. We had originally planned on staying in Moab for another night, however we knew a storm was coming, and we wanted to be able to get to Steamboat before the storm hit. We found some free camping in some public land. This was also a place where locals would go shooting, so we decided it would be best to wait till it was dark before we set up, so hopefully they were all in bed. We went and hung out at a cafe with wifi for a while, then got a burger for dinner before going back to set up camp.
We got up early again today, to try and avoid the storm. We packed up our tents for the last time, and drove about 3 hours to a town called Craig. This town is about 45 minutes from the Steamboat ski field, and will be where we will base ourselves for the next few days. About an hour out of Craig it started snowing extremely heavily; The storm was here. We managed to check into our motel room at the Travellers Inn early.
This meant we had somewhere warm and dry to relax. It was nice to be in some sort of civilization again, with a shower and a couch to sit on. We ventured out of the room twice today, once to walk to the shop to buy lunch, and another time to go to a little Mexican place to buy dinner. It was nice to have an easy, relaxing day after a few weeks of no stop excitement. The snow did not stop all day, and is not meant to stop for a few days yet!! Bring on the POW!!