Hiking Island in the Sky

The journey to the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park requires that we prepare provisions to insure our survival in this remote area.  Before heading out there for an afternoon of hiking and overlooking, we pack gallons of water and an abundance of snacks.  The stormy skies from yesterday have evolved into perfect cloudy puffs of shade adding interest to our scenic photo skies.  I look forward to spending some time here actually hiking a few short trails.  Pressed for time and short on supplies during past visits we only sprint out to the first overlook or so before turning back.

A time lapse setup at Mesa Arch
A time lapse setup at Mesa Arch

Island in the Sky – Mesa Arch

We warm up with the not too intense hike out to Mesa Arch. At the arch, we encounter this bizarre photography setup.  According to the remarks we overhear, this track somehow guides a camera through a series of time lapse photos.  Apparently the track helps the camera follow celestial objects. 

The photographer tells one person that he intends to spend the night out at the arch guarding this contraption.  We wonder what kind of riot might erupt the next morning when all the people who have been waiting for their once in a lifetime chance to photo this arch at sunrise (and believe me they are out there!), discover it is obstructed by this setup.  Fortunately for me, I will most likely still be sound asleep when the shooting (haha) starts!

The good news for Storm is that I am unlikely to pursue this type of complicated labor intense photography.  As you probably know from my previous posts, carrying a tripod and bending down to take photos is a challenge for me.  No way am I transporting the required paraphernalia (including 3 tripods), assembling this monstrosity and then sleeping all night on the ground to guard it!

Hike to Whale Rock

After the Mesa Arch hike, we are limber and ready for a challenge.  We park at the bottom of Whale Rock and study the trail info.  This hike appears to be an incredibly steep ascent on slick rock.  The steepness may be a bit of an illusion.  Somehow we make it to the top of the hump with very few rest stops which is quite a feat for Storm and me.

After hiking the hump, we continue through the park stopping only at short distance overlooks.  According to our watches, we have more than fulfilled our daily exercise requirements at this point.  A recent rain has filled many of the overlook rock depressions with water giving us a chance to play with photo reflections while admiring the views.  What a beautiful place to spend an afternoon!

View of White Rim Trail from Mesa Arch
View of White Rim Trail from Mesa Arch
Whale Rock
Keith on top of the “Whale”
Whale Rock
Punkin demonstrates the stickiness of the steep slick rock
Whale Rock Reflections
Whale Rock Reflections
Grand View Overlook
Grand View Overlook
Photo Fun at Grand View Overlook
Photo Fun at Grand View Overlook
Grand View Overlook
Stormy needs a rest

 

About Sunny Weathers

Pilot, motorcyclist and full time RVer. Follow Stormy (my personal full time RV mechanic and repairman) and me as we travel all over the US in our Country Coach RV. I'll share the fun and the tribulations and any great survival tricks we learn!

2 Replies to “Hiking Island in the Sky”

  1. WOW what a trip, that place is beautiful for sure. Glad you made the hike and even gladder that you sent some great pictures. Thanks and be careful out there. I am surprised that you all have not uncovered a rattler or two along the way. Glad you haven’t too, that would put a quick END to my hiking. ;>)))) GOD BLESSJDJim

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      We have been keeping a sharp eye out for them. We will definitely leave the trails to them if we cross paths!

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