We’ve hiked most of the trails in Needles during our five week volunteer stint, but still hadn’t been able to replicate the hike we did a decade ago with Northwest friends, Jack and Mary Lange. We remembered that we had started and ended in Loop A of the campground
The Joint trail in Needles district of Canyonlands National Park is really a destination, a long crack between rock masses. It can be reached by a mix of trail loops ranging from ten to 15 miles. Any combination of these loops offers up a panoply of rock sculptures standing sentry over sage, juniper, pine meadows, perhaps even rock art if you go off trail (carefully!) a bit.
At Devils Kitchen we parked our bikes and did a five mile loop hike to Chesler Park, a large meadow area surrounded by red and cream sandstone spires, The Needles. For the entirety of the five miles we were surrounded by neck straining (both vertical and horizontal) vistas of, often anthropomorphic, specters of amazement. An Imax could not do the experience justice.
While camping and hiking in Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, we mentioned to a ranger that we hoped to volunteer in a national park someday. The ranger was the volunteer coordinator. Two days later, boondocked at another spectacular site new to us, Muley Point, there was a message on our phone from Dorita. The volunteer slated for the fall stint had become ill; could we fill in for as little or as long as possible? We were just a few days from Tucson to begin our “normal” winter activities, but we do tend to grab opportunities, so we said yes. We begin as soon as we gather a month’s worth of food, add some winter clothes and blankets (thrift store) and return to Needles. Read the post to see a special panorama that shows how we like to get the most out of Turtle, our motorhome.