Canyonlands NP

We assumed from the weather forecast that Wednesday, October 6, would be a washout, but in spite of early morning rain, the morning turned off clear. With no thunderclouds building, we decided to take a brief look at the Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands. Even with the park turnoff only about 12 miles north of us, it still took over 45 minutes to get into the national park due to the distance from the main highway. After going to the main scenic overlooks and fighting the high winds around the “edge”, we were ready to depart by 1pm. Since we had brought no lunch, and we needed a grocery stop, we decided to head into town (less than 2 miles away) for lunch at the Moab Brewery and a stop at a couple of stores. There were no impending storms when we went into the restaurant, but when we emerged the wind was blowing about 50mph and the sky was black. We hurried about our errands, but by the time we came out of City Market, it was pouring and the wind was still howling. I feared for the coach awning, bicycles, and windows I had left open, and when we entered the park the first thing we saw was a huge tree, broken off at the main branch, and the second thing we saw was plant debris all over the roads. I just knew we were going to find a mangled awning and at the very least a pile of tangled up bicycles in front of the motorcoach, but we got lucky. The hard, straight-line wind had come from the passenger side of the coach and the only thing it had done was rip the sunshade from its anchor at that corner, leaving it flapping in the wind. There was some concern about damage on the roofs of several neighboring motor coaches, because there were people and in one case a repair person walking on the roofs of two untis later in the day, but as far as we know (my fingers are crossed), we don’t have damage up high. I don’t know what velocity of wind we had, but to take out the main branch of a mature tree, it had to be pretty serious. Once that storm passed the rest of the evening was beautiful, and blissfully cool.

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