Our Vantage Points
Needles District
ontinuing on the same day, we returned to US-191 and went just a bit farther south to state road 211. 

Although the sage brush along the Needles Overlook road was much greener than I had expected, the area was none-the-less quite un-interesting and flat.  But road 211 has some charm.  Just south are the Abajo Mountains and the road follows tree shaded Indian Creek a good part of the way. 

At the point where the road meets Indian Creek, we came to Newspaper Rock, a collection of petroglyphs.  However, it appears to me that this site has a few "forgeries."  It's hard for me, but I'm sure the experts can readily make the distinction.  I'm glad this is not Slauson Avenue or even Belmont Street.  Although most graffiti "artists" don't have the patience to fake it, they do have the urge to destroy.

Across the road was a primitive campground beside the creek.

I was a little disappointed that this road did not end up at an overlook of the canyon network.  But I didn't realize, until I later reviewed a topographical map, that road 211 gradually drops below the 6000 foot plateau level as it follows Indian Creek.  Nothing like canyon walls were apparent, but we were descending so that at the end of the road we were down to the 5000 foot level.  This is the same level as White Rim but it looks very different.  Here we have a large open area of orange sandstone formations reaching for that 6000 foot level. It includes the dense grouping of spires to the south called "The Needles."  Exploring most of these features to the south requires driving on difficult roads recommended only for 4-wheel drive vehicles.  Hiking is also an option.

This map comes from one of the free downloads available at: http://www.nps.gov/cany/maps.htm

At the west end of the main road is Big Spring Canyon Overlook.  Big spring is in a depression about 500 feet below, not really a canyon in the Canyonlands context.  Also from here a 5-1/2 mile fairly level trail leads to an overlook at the confluence of the Green River and the Colorado River.

The Needles Visitor Center is here with nearby Squaw Creek Campground where we had planned to set up camp.  However, there were no vacant sites.  Had we stayed here I might have attempted the hike to the confluence of these major Western rivers.  What a bummer to miss it....

I took a few of pictures in the area, then we headed back the 25 miles to Indian Creek Campground at Newspaper Rock.  There we shoe-horned our tent trailer into a small, brushy campsite next to a German couple with a small motorhome they had rented in El Monte, California.

In our brief conversations with them we learned that they had come up through Arizona and were planning to visit acquintances in Boise and perhaps explore in that area.  It was good to hear their compliments of our large and beautiful country.  After their meal, they brought out some ribs for Appy.

That evening as I opened my laptop computer and wrote an e-mail for the day, I apparently forgot to upload the photos from my camera.  So the next day when I cleared the camera's memory to prepare for another day of picture-taking, all the photos of the Needles District went "puff!" .  . . . Phooey!

Another tourist's nightmare comes true.  Fortunately I had a couple of paltry shots at Needles Overlook retrievable from the video camera. 
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