some canyons in Canyonlands
We discovered that Canyonlands is separated into three parts (Island in the Sky, Needles and Maze districts) by a huge canyon (go figure) so we would have to drive to one part, go all the way out of the park and drive around 60 miles or so and enter the park from another direction to see one of the other parts.
First we went to Island in the Sky, went to many overlooks and did some little hikes. They were such beautiful canyons! This was all scenery I've never seen in real life, really amazing! My feet were tingly at a lot of the parts because of the heights.
We realized there are a ton of Europeans who come here, rent an RV and travel to various national parks which is pretty cool. The people around us were about 50/50 Americans and Europeans.
Once we finished at Island in the Sky we made the long drive to The Needles, another part of Canyonlands. When we arrived at The Needles we noticed it was considerably hotter and had no where near the breeze as Island. This we probably due to it being around 2-3 p.m. and the lower elevation. We also noticed there was no where near the "traffic" at Needles like there was at Island. We soon found out why. While there were still some really cool views they were no where near the incredible views at Island.
the Green River
We still did some of the hikes since all of them together were about 4 miles.
We opted out of the last hike (2.4 miles) because we had reached our day's end and were pretty tired. Plus, we had a decent drive ahead of us (4.5 hours to Bryce Canyon National Park).
me resting on a rock
The coolest hike at Needles was one where you got to see some old cowboy camping spots. It was neat to see things like a chair, mattress (just the springs were left) and table just left behind in the same spot they'd been in years and years ago.
Once we left Needles we went back through Moab and decided to treat ourselves to a pizza before heading to Bryce Canyon. Halfway through our drive to Bryce we decided to get a hotel close to where we were instead of driving all the way to Bryce and staying there. We decided on the small town of Richfield, UT. Our GPS directed us to a residential neighborhood and after driving around we finally asked someone standing in their front yard (at 12:30 a.m.) where Apple Tree Inn was. They gave us directions and we finally made it there! We turned in for the night after showers and clean clothes (it had been 3 days since I last showered and 2.5 for John).
Notes about the Utah National Parks we visited: Super windy, except for Needles. Mostly rock/stone mountains and a lot of sand. It was really dusty, the dust was constantly in our noses and mouths. Definitely the desert. It was beautiful but we agreed we couldn't live in that kind of climate permanently. The temperatures were nice, mid 70s-80s. We were very happy we chose this part to be the first leg of the trip as it is probably unbearable come mid-July.