My month away from work officially starts today. I’m due back on Tuesday, July 13.
Got up at 7am for breakfast after barely sleeping most of the night again, then headed out for a sleepy but beautiful drive to Dead Horse Point State Park. Dead Horse Point SP is next to Canyonlands National Park. Legend has it that 19th century cowboys used the steep canyon walls to corral wild mustangs, some of whom died during the process, hence the name.
Green River UT River Rock Inn B&B Breakfast.m4a
The drive up to the two adjacent parks is stunning, with lots of views of intricately-structured rock faces.
I decided to try to park near other Priuses whenever I can during this trip because they have been so rare during this trip so far.
At the state park, there were breathtaking views of the Colorado River and its canyons, including distant potash pools with unreal colors that looked like they had been photoshopped with a comic book art filter.
Didn’t get that many good pictures because the unprotected edges of the trails triggered my fear of heights and falling. The sun was so bright again that I couldn’t see the camera screens. Some of the pictures came out ok but much like the Grand Canyon, it was hard to capture the scale of the place.
Recorded some ambient sound at the park’s visitors center. There was an interesting sounding high pitched whine coming from an insect or bird.
Dead Horse Point State Park UT visitors center 2.m4a
Overall pretty happy with the sound recordings.
After Dead Horse Point SP, I tried to go to Canyonlands NP but the line of cars stretched around a corner that was at least 1/4 mile away and was barely moving. After taking a picture of the park’s entry sign and its nearby camera perch, and doing the same for a family that was staying at the same hotel, I decided to skip visiting the park.
I regret not being able to see the park but if I had to do it over, I probably would have made the same decision.
Thought about going to Moab for lunch but was so exhausted from the heat and lack of sleep that I came back to Green River. Had a good conversation with Shaun on the way back. We started to discuss whether or not I will go to visit him and his family in Rochester New York during this trip. I would like to try to make that happen but it would add another 3000 miles to the trip. That is a lot of miles if I’m only driving 3-4 hours a day.
I decided to try the local supermarket for lunch supplies, which was…not great. I bought a small container of yogurt, a tub of cream cheese and some Goldfish crackers and then came back to the motel to have lunch and nap.
Got up around 6pm after napping hard for about 4 hours. The nap was hugely helpful in terms of catching me up on some much needed sleep. I woke up feeling well rested and ordered dinner from the Tamarisk. Came back to the hotel and ate dinner, then sat outside for a bit in the heat and did some research on NPs in nearby states. Talked with friend Stewart who consults for the National Parks Service to get some advice on where to go in New Mexico and Texas. He recommended a bunch of parks in New Mexico that I have been hearing about from other friends and family.
I need to figure out where to stay in NM so I can get to these parks. I also need to figure out my time and money budgets so I can determine where to go and how long to stay.
I learned from Stewart that Big Bend NP is often closed for parts of the summer due to excessive heat. On his advice I checked the website and it seems that most parts of the park are open as of today.
I am having a moral dilemma: Stay in Marfa, TX, commute to the parks and contribute to the Texan economy at a time when their legislature is doing some horrible things to the LGBTQ+ community (during Pride Month no less), or boycott the state and Big Bend parks.
I desperately want to return to Big Bend. My first visit was 24 years ago and I remember it fondly. However, the commute from Marfa to the NP is at least 1.5 hours each way, 3 hours of commuting across that part of west Texas is on the longer side of what I am willing to tolerate.
Big Bend Ranch State Park is even farther from Marfa, an hour longer each way than the NP. Apple Maps is also saying that the trip to the SP “may include unpaved roads”. In my experience, that usually means “does include unpaved roads”. I am not excited about putting the 2WD Prius through that. The last thing I need is to break my car in a desolate part of the Southwest.
I would like to drive from El Paso to Houston to see a few parts of the state that I haven’t been to before, If I decide to do that drive, I am undecided on returning to Austin, but am leaning towards “no”.