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Island in the Sky: Watching the Sunrise from Canyonlands

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Where the Wind Blows

Sleeping in the back seat of an Elantra was definitely worth it last Spring. I curled up as best I could in my sleeping bag, parked under the lights at the rest stop. Sleep came relatively easy after eight or nine hours of driving. Fleeting fears of strange passerby coming up to my  car blinked out as exhaustion whisked me away to sleepy town.

My Car/Tent

Five hours of cramped sleep later and I'm waking before the alarm, desperate to stretch my legs. The drive to Island in the Sky is about half an hour from the rest stop, and it was in that time just before everyone else has started their day.

The Road to the Park

 The drive itself was through grand monuments of stone and sand that gradually grew clearer with the dawning light. Only myself and one other vehicle wound around the road toward the park. There is a great view from the information center at the entrance. I whipped into the empty parking lot and ran out to it. This was my first (and so far only) time traveling alone. This is exactly what I was looking for.

View from the Visitor Center

Excited now, I darted back to my car and drove along the road until the very end, look for Grand View Point.

Island in the Sky Park Map
I was very relieved to discover that this parking lot was empty as well. I got out of the car and walked over to the railing. For a moment, there was an incredible silence. Then the wind blew, a nice gust, and all the bushes shook. The view was spectacular, incredible, and every other synonym of good.

View from Grand View Point Parking Lot
I followed a small dirt trail out toward the point, speechless and wearing a big grin. It was a fun and new experience having to follow a trail made from stacked stones. Walking along expanses of flat boulders was so different than the forested trails I'm used to at home. The trail was relatively short and took me through some enclosed floral areas until popping out at the end, giving me a view of the other side.

View from the Other Side of Grand View Point
I sat for fifteen or twenty minutes just taking it in. The view. The wind. My whole trip was a struggle for balance. I was rushing from park to park, trying to see as much as I could with the time I had. I was also trying to give myself time to appreciate what I was looking at, appreciate where I was standing. On the entirety of my week-long trip, I didn't find another opportunity to experience this type of solitude. I will never forget watching the sunrise here. I can't recommend visiting there enough. Be sure to get there early!


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