[line]  National Park Photos

Pictures by Kirk Fratzke (May 2006) 


The Parks of Utah
• Select thumbnails to view image galleries of each park •

Arches National Park Photos
Arches National Park
(48 Photos)
Canyonlands National Park Photos
Canyonlands National Park
(35 Photos)
Mesa Verde National Park Photos
Mesa Verde National Park
(20 Photos)

  Trip Itinerary

  Friday, May 19th
  • Left work early after Amy arrived in town from Madison
  • Flew out of La Crosse to Salt Lake City
  • Picked up rental car and checked into hotel for the night
  Saturday, May 20th
  • Bad nights sleep with crummy pillows at Quality Inn Airport
  • Had breakfast and picked up supplies in Salt Lake City
  • Drove 4 hours southeast to Moab
  • Checked into hotel (Sleep Inn)
  • Dinner at Mexican restaurant with a two waiters that asked us 10 times during our 45-minute dinner if "everything was okay"
  • Went into Arches National Park and stopped at a couple of viewpoints (Park Avenue, La Sal Mountains, Courthouse Tower, and Balanced Rock)
  Sunday, May 21st
  • Up early and back to Arches
  • Visited Windows area and hiked all the trails
  • Walked over to Double Arch
  • Stopped at Garden of Eden for some pictures
  • Stopped at visitor center, watched video and got tickets for Fiery Furnace tour on Tuesday
  • Very hot (98 degrees F) so took an afternoon break (with nap back at hotel)
  • Lunch at Pizza Hut
  • Back to Arches in late afternoon
  • Hiked the Park Avenue trail
  • Went to Salt Valley area, tried the Delicate Arch viewpoint which turned out to be quite an uphill hike
  • Hiked up to Delicate Arch just before sunset, a very long 1.5 miles all up hill which seemed like it went up a lot more than 500 feet
  • Lots of people at Delicate Arch and most of them hogging the arch, which made getting pictures difficult, clouds moved in so lighting wasn't good for ideal pictures
  • Quick dinner at Wendy's — Frostys were extra refreshing on a hot day
  Monday, May 22nd
  • Visited Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park
  • Stopped at a few viewpoints on the way in
  • Took some pictures near the visitors center (Shafer Canyon) and the neck area
  • Got some great pictures at the Mesa Arch (sun came out at just the right moment)
  • Quick picnic lunch with sandwiches we picked up at a store in Moab
  • Out to Grand View Point where we hiked the mile long rim trail (almost stepped on a snake and it started to rain a little and was pretty windy) very grand view!
  • Stopped at the Green River overlook and hiked a short trail to the first Upheaval Dome viewpoint which was very interesting to see
  • Skipped stopping at Dead Horse Point due to hazy weather and already a long day
  • Back to Moab for dinner
  • Dust storm in town that evening
  Tuesday, May 23rd
  • Up early and back to Arches for the Fiery Furnace tour with a ranger
  • Very challenging hike with lots of climbing and squeezing through the rocks of the fin canyons
  • Amy got kind of banged up on her elbow
  • Lots of great views and pictures that otherwise would not have gotten a chance to see
  • Little cooler today
  • Back into town for an afternoon nap following lunch to let Amy heal
  • Stopped to get band-aids for Amy's elbow
  • In afternoon last visit to Arches, went to the Devil's Garden area and hiked a few short trails to see various arches
  • Went on the trail back to Landscape Arch
  • Didn't get done in time to see American Idol, which made Amy sad, but did get to see the season finale of House
  • Ordered in Domino's while we watched House
  Wednesday, May 24th
  • Off to the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park
  • Forgot to get gas in Moab so had to stop at Outpost to get a few gallons at $3.85 per gallon
  • Stopped at Roadside Ruin and Wood Shoe Arch viewpoint
  • Took short hike at Pothole Point and stopped at Big Spring Canyon
  • Interesting scenes of mushroom-shaped rocks
  • Drove gravel road to Elephant Hill by the needles, couldn't get close to them without 4-wheel drive so no stunning pictures
  • Over to Cave Spring to hike a short trail
  • Back to Moab in time to watch American Idol finals (which made Amy happy since the guy she liked won), short day since not much to do in Needles district
  • Stopped at Newspaper Rock and saw petroglyphs
  • Didn't take the time to drive the extra 22 miles to Needles Overlook
  • Late dinner at Denny's after Idol
  Thursday, May 25th
  • Took late morning trip on La Sal Mountain loop road, road is not well-marked and got lost on National Forest roads, found way out and ended up driving along Colorado River back into Moab — almost killed a squirrel (Amy named him Rufus)
  • Lunch at pseudo steak place, Amy had some very unimpressive "steak fingers" and a stomachache afterwards
  • Left Moab for 2-hour drive to Colorado and Mesa Verde National Park
  • Got to park and drove in on the long winding road to Far View Lodge
  • Stopped at store and got some souvenir shirts
  • Had nice dinner at lodge restaurant
  • No TV so early to bed, interesting reading room guestbook (apparently moths are a problem)
  Friday, May 26th
  • Got up early and over to visitor center for tickets on first tour of the day in Cliff Palace
  • Drove to other overlooks on the loop road — Took short hike on Soda Canyon trail to see Balcony House
  • Went to Museum area for lunch, visited the museum and watched video
  • Walked down to the Spruce Tree House which was crowded with a school tour
  • Drove other loop road to see mesa top sites and pit houses, including Sun Temple and Cliff Palace viewpoint
  • Drove back to Far View Lodge (via Morefield campground store to get drinks) stopped at Far View Community site
  • Rested for a while before going back to Chapin Mesa for some photos of Cliff Palace sans people
  • Then had nice dinner again at lodge restaurant, tried some star gazing during evening smoke
  • Didn't get to see sites on Wetherhill Mesa because they didn't open until "Memorial Day weekend" which according to the National Park Service doesn't begin until Sunday, so our Saturday departure was a day too early!
  Saturday, May 27th
  • Left Mesa Verde for the 6-hour drive to Salt Lake City
  • Stopped for breakfast in Cortez
  • Stopped at Arches in Moab for picture by the entrance sign, wind was crazy, apparently another dust storm
  • As we arrived in Salt Lake City, Amy decided we needed a nicer hotel for our last night's stay, so she got us a room at the Radisson with a sleep number bed
  • Had a nice steak dinner via room service and watched HBO movies
  Sunday, May 28th
  • Up at 5:30 for our morning flight home
  • Gassed up and turned in the rental car which we drove 1500 miles
  • Flew back to La Crosse
  • Had to walk out on lunch at Chili's in MSP airport due to bad service
  • Once back in Winona, Amy decided to head back to Madison since she missed her cat — or was it the fact that it was 85 degrees F in my apartment that would take the A/C 5 hours to cool down


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