Canyonlands 2004
Following are photos from my vacation to Canyonlands National Park in Spring of 2004.
All photos courtesy of Willie Virtue and Bob Rozen.

Click on any of the following images to see a larger, higher resolution view
Condo View As usual, our trek begins at Bob's condo in Dillon, Colorado.
This year the view offers the snow-covered Ten Mile Range
behind a partially frozen Lake Dillon, just after sunrise.
Cisco Beautiful downtown Cisco, Utah. The weather doesn't seem to
be cooperating. So far we have driven through rain and snow,
and it doesn't look as though it will clear up any time soon.
The gang's all here Finally, all eight members of this adventure, travelling in four
vehicles, have managed to meet all at one spot. The weather
still sucks, and we are trying to determine a reasonable plan
of action. We decide that Ray and I will drive 60 miles back to
Moab to get a campsite, since the weather seemed slightly
better there. The others want to observe Newspaper Rock
before meeting us there.
Newspaper Rock Brad, Tom, Neil, and Roger at Newspaper Rock. Since the
weather has momentarily cleared up, the group decides that
they should get a campsite across the street and make Ray
and I drive the 60 miles back to meet them.
Group Photo After many hours in my tiny truck, Ray and I finally meet
the rest of the group at the campsite. Here we all are,
enjoying what little sun there is. Of course it rained
and snowed the rest of the night, which led to Ray and I
complaining that everyone else should have met us in Moab.
Elephant Hill The next morning, the weather looked a little better,
so we decided to see if Elephant hill would be passable.
Some people hiked, some biked, and I decided to try to
drive. Here I am in the parking lot strapping in our supplies.
Tom the Animal Tom the Animal The hikers departed first, then
the bikers. Here's Tom riding
non-stop to the first turn-
around plateau. Tom had no
low gear on his bike, and
was still kicking everyone's
butt all weekend long.
Tom the Animal Tom the Animal
Then it was my turn to drive up...
My turn My turn My turn
My turn My turn My turn
Video Willie recorded a 24 second video file on his digital camera. It is a 6MB AVI
file and may take time to download depending on your internet connection. Click
the box to the left to download, and when prompted, select "download to disk."
Remember where the file is saved so you can find it and play it from your computer.
Once downloaded, the file can be viewed using Windows Media Player or similar software.
Video This is another video file, 13 seconds long. This one is only 3MB.
Follow the instructions above to download.
On top of Elephant Hill. It's very steep, which makes it hard to see over the hood of the truck
when driving, so it's a good idea to get out and look at the terrain before the descent.
Elephant Hill Elephant Hill
Beginning the descent...
Descending Descending Descending
Still heading down the hill. Tom goes first as a family of spectators watches.
Tom's Descent Tom's Descent
And I follow in the truck.
Still descending Still descending Still descending
Almost there Almost there It feels even steeper than
it looks when you're behind
the wheel.
Final stretch Final stretch The final stretch of
descent on Elephant Hill.
That family is still
watching from up on top.
Last time we were here, it was totally dry. It's not
too often you see this much (if any) water in the desert.
Water Water
Silver Stairs This sequence shows my descent down the "Silver Stairs." Generally,
if they give it a name, it will be fairly difficult.
Silver Stairs Silver Stairs
Silver Stairs Silver Stairs
A boy and his "Toy." My Truck
My Truck
Confluence Overlook Confluence Overlook The first photo shows us at
a warning sign. The second
photo shows a group of us
demonstrating the use of
"extreme caution," as
advised by the sign.
The Confluence This is the confluence of the Green and the Colorado Rivers. The
Colorado flows from the right side of the photo to the bottom
left. Since it had been raining quite a bit, the water is
stirred up, and it is easy to see how the rivers got their
respective names. The Green, obviously, and the Colorado,
meaning "ruddy colored." All the water looks ruddy colored
further down the canyon as the two rivers mix together to
become a much larger Colorado River.
Tom In the left photo is Tom sitting precariously on an overhanging rock.
Next we see me, getting as close as I can to the same edge.
Me It would seem that on this trip
I was dethroned as the crazy,
young kid in the group.
The Confluence One last look down the canyon where the Colorado River has
absorbed the water of the Green River, before it enters
Cataract Canyon.
The weather is finally clearing up at the end of the day.
Now it's time to head back the way we came, and go back over Elephant Hill.
Back up the hill Back up the hill Back up the hill
Day 3 Our campsite, the morning of Day 3.
It looks like the weather will be beautiful all day.
We're going to go over Elephant Hill again, but we will skip
the Confluence Overlook and go to the Joint Trail instead.
In the left photo, you can see my front left tire smoking, I couldn't quite make it.
So I took a running start and made this nice move to get up and over.
Smokin' tires Nice move!
Day 3 Tom broke his bike chain, but was determined he could fix it and
continue riding. This is a good time for a snack, and a group photo.
Ray and Willie are on the hiking trail, and will meet us at the
Joint Trail.
S.O.B. Hill - stage 1. First Roger conquers it on his bike, then I follow.
S.O.B. Hill S.O.B. Hill S.O.B. Hill
S.O.B. Hill - stage 2. This is probably the hardest 4-wheeling I've ever done. I definitely
needed people outside the vehicle helping to navigate so I wouldn't bottom out on these
huge rocks. I don't think anyone even attempted to ride this section on a bicycle.
S.O.B. Hill S.O.B. Hill S.O.B. Hill
Lunchtime Willie and Ray were waiting for us at the
Joint Trial trailhead. Time for lunch.
Exploring On the way to the Joint Trail, Brad and I take time to get off the
main trail and climb around on the rocks.
Joint Trail Joint Trail Here we are in the Joint Trail. The first photo is a
group shot, the second gives a better perspective of
how tall and narrow the joint in the rocks is.
Chimney climb Chimney climb Willie and Brad demonstrate how narrow the joint is
in some places.
Group Photo We've followed the trail up out of the joint. Here's
the group on top of the rocks. There are places where
it's relatively safe to jump from rock to rock across
the joint we just came through.
Desert flora Desert flora Here are some examples of
the beauty the desert has
to offer. A wildflower on
the left, and a cactus in
full bloom on the right.
S.O.B. Hill S.O.B. Hill S.O.B. Hill Time to go back
over S.O.B. Hill.

1) View up from
the bottom.

2) Me standing in the line of rocks I drove over.

3) View down from the top.
Devil's Lane Petroglyphs Devil's Lane, with some
petroglyphs that can be
seen on the left-hand
wall alongside the road.
End of Day Sunset Me and my truck at an
overlook at the end of
the day, with the sunset
that followed minutes later.