Day two in Canyonlands, and this time I make it further than beyond the National Park entrance. Today I explore the vast reaches of the Island in the Sky District. I have no planned itinerary, but instead use luck and intuition as I go. The morning sun has just broke free of the clouds as I start on my first hike. Temperature is maybe 10 degrees so people are scarce.

It is an awe inspiring journey across the mesa, and when I reach the viewpoint at the end, the power from the vortex in this area has me welling up with tears of joy. Or perhaps the cold has me crying.

Next I decide to hike the Murphy trailhead to see where it leads. I am treated to perfectly placed cairns that take me along another mesa showcasing the west side of Island of the Sky. I want to go down to the valley floor, but time and a sufficient water supply holds me back.

I then find a trail that showcases the remain of an ancient volcanic eruption if one is willing to put in the effort, and be brave enough to scale the immense boulders for a jaw dropping view. I find that I have enough of both on this day….

As the sun starts to set in the early winter afternoon, I find myself at Whale Rock. My niece tells me this was her favorite spot from when she was here earlier this year. She is ten. I see why as the boulders are a crazy fun climb suitable for most ages.

At least this is the case until you make it out to the whale’s head, and the wind is unforgiving.

I hold on though and am not blown off the rock. After a safe, albeit slow descent I turn in for day, satisfied.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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