Lost Canyon >> Elephant Hill.
desert lush canyons under threatening clouds. Leave the poles and boots behind. Rely on balance and lightness as you ascend ladders, scramble steep standstone, jump puddles.
You know you're in a national park when: there are stairs along your path, beautiful camoflauged stairs.
9 mile day hike from Devil's Kitchen to Chesler Park was the big suprise. Cathedral rocks, cryptobiotic soils, deep narrow canyons into big open grasses. big vistas. spectacular starshows. beautiful cairns marking the way.
Abbey may have made me think that Cayonlands was a ruined beauty. And there was a lot of infrastructure. Even a new drilling operation just outside the park. But we hit the timing right and saw people. But not too many. It is still otherwordly. Transformative. I've become addicted to tracking down all the amazing desert plants--the hedgehog cacti, black brush, mormon tea--and am drinking up the pages of Desert Solitare with a new thirst.