How to treat your lady to a date she will never forget?

Bring her to Canyonlands National Park.

Earlier in the day, my husband and I attempted to see the Fisher Towers but due to risks involving the type of car we drove,  we instantly decided to head out to Canyonlands National Park instead. The two parks in Moab, Utah are only an hour away from each other.

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The beauty of the West at Moab, Utah.
Canyonlands National Park is the largest national park in Utah. The park is divided into four districts: the Canyonlands Rivers, the Needles, The Maze, and the Island in the Sky.
Canyonlands National Park is the largest national park in Utah. The park is divided into four districts: the Canyonlands Rivers, the Needles, The Maze, and the Island in the Sky.

 

Canyonlands National Park, not to be confused with the Grand Canyon, is the largest national park in Utah. It is divided into four districts:  the Canyonlands Rivers, the Needles, The Maze, and the Island in the Sky. The last three districts are not connected to each other and requires a considerable time to get from one district to another. We opted to autotour the Island in the Sky district in the northern part of the park, and because Island in the Sky is a mesa on sandstone cliffs over 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain, quite literally an Island in the Sky, its dips provide a magnificent views of the canyons especially the canyons that were carved by the Colorado and Green Rivers. We are not entirely the fittest and the most athletic people in the planet, so the scenic drive around the park’s district  is just about our perfect choice with vistas and lookout points located on the rims of the mesa.

VISITORS CENTER

Our first stop is at the park’s Visitors Center where we gathered some provisions like my headlamp and a map, and also had our water bottles refilled. Just across the visitors center was our first good overview of the real Canyonlands.

Just across the Island in the Sky Visitors Center was our first good overview of the real Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
Just across the Island in the Sky Visitors Center was our first good overview of the real Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.

 

SHAFER CANYON OVERLOOK

Our next stop is at the Shafer Canyon Overlook. The most striking feature of this point is its vantage point looking down the tiny road on the Shafer Canyon floor. Shafer Canyon Road is a haven for adventurers with off-road vehicles.

At the Shafer Canyon Overlook at Island in the Sky district in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
At the Shafer Canyon Overlook at Island in the Sky district in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
At the Shafer Canyon Overlook with the La Sal Mountains in the background at Island in the Sky district in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
At the Shafer Canyon Overlook with the La Sal Mountains in the background at Island in the Sky district in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
At the Shafer Canyon Overlook with the La Sal Mountains in the background at Island in the Sky district in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
At the Shafer Canyon Overlook with the La Sal Mountains in the background at Island in the Sky district in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
Looking down the tiny road on the Shafer Canyon floor for adventures with off-road vehicles at Shafer Canyon Overlook in Island in the Sky district, Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
Looking down the tiny road on the Shafer Canyon floor for adventures with off-road vehicles at Shafer Canyon Overlook in Island in the Sky district, Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.

Show her a window to another world.

MESA ARCH

Mesa Arch is an easy walk from the parking lot, and because it was winter, we didn’t have to fight with the crowd except for a handful. The arch is one of the most recognizable and most frequently photographed part of Island in the Sky district. It may have been one of my Microsoft’s random desktop photo background. Haha. However, no matter how many times you have glanced at photos of the arch, there is truly nothing to compare upon seeing the work of nature in person. The arch is roughly 50 feet long and 15 feet high, which is nothing compared to the other arches found in Utah. However, looking out from the pothole of the arch is a breathtaking view of a deep canyon.

Walking to the Mesa Arch from the parking lot was easy.
Walking to the Mesa Arch at from the parking lot was easy.
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Animal trail on a patch of snow on our way to see the Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
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Approaching the Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park with the snow-capped La Sal Mountains in the background in Moab, Utah.
Finally, the famous Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park with the snow-capped La Sal Mountains in the background in Moab, Utah.
Finally, the famous Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park with the snow-capped La Sal Mountains in the background in Moab, Utah.
The Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park, which is roughly 50 feet long and 15 feet high on a cliff, offers an exceptional lookout of a breathtaking view of a deep canyon below.
The Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park, which is roughly 50 feet long and 15 feet high on a cliff, offers an exceptional lookout of a breathtaking view of a deep canyon below.
The breathtaking view of the canyon as seen looking out from the Mesa Arch pothole in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah. It is one of the most famous and most photographed arch in the park and is one of Microsoft's featured desktop background.
The breathtaking view of the canyon as seen looking out from the Mesa Arch pothole in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah. It is one of the most famous and most photographed arch in the park.
Looking down to the canyon floor from the side of the Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
Looking down to the canyon floor from the side of the Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
Looking out to the La Sal Mountains from the pothole of the Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
Looking out to the La Sal Mountains from the pothole of the Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
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The view of the canyon looking out from the pothole of Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park with the snow-capped La Sal Mountains in the background.
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The view of the canyon looking out from the pothole of Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park.

 

ORANGE CLIFFS OVERLOOK

The name says exactly it all, an overlook of the bright orange cliffs of the canyon. :)

Orange Cliffs Overlooks says exactly it all, an overlook of the bright orange cliffs of the canyon at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
Orange Cliffs Overlooks says exactly it all, an overlook of the bright orange cliffs of the canyon at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
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The Orange Cliffs Overlook at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
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The Orange Cliffs Overlook at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.

 

GRAND VIEW POINT

The Grand View Point is the superlative that the Canyonlands can be. This lookout provides the best panoramic view of the park’s canyon, stretching out as far as your eyes can see. I think of dinosaur’s track when I think of the canyons at Grand View Point. :)

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The Grand View Point at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah provides the best panoramic view of the park’s canyon, stretching out as far as your eyes can see.
The canyons as seen from The Grand View Point at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
The canyons as seen from The Grand View Point at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.

Show her sunset.

GREEN RIVER LOOKOUT

We could not really see the Green River from this lookout but we were told that this is the best spot to watch the sunset. As a matter of fact, there was a professional photographer with us hoping to get his shots as well. The reflection of the sun definitely made the sandstone cliffs glow into a beautiful fiery orange, and when the sun was starting to set, the details of the snow-dusted rims of the canyons below slowly began to show. The sight was glorious and it invoked a multiple array of emotions. I was ecstatic, and excited, and melancholic at the same time. I suppose that is what sunsets do to some people like me. It makes us feel something we would try to fathom but would only come as close as a sense of being alive.

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The Green River Lookout at sunset in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
Watching the sunset from The Green River Lookout in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
Watching the sunset from The Green River Lookout in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
The Green River Lookout in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
The Green River Lookout in Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
The bright orange sandstone cliffs of Canyonlands National Park as viewed from Green River Overlook in sunset.
The bright orange sandstone cliffs of Canyonlands National Park as viewed from Green River Overlook in sunset.
Canyonlands National Park in sunset as viewed from Green River Overlook.
Canyonlands National Park in sunset as viewed from Green River Overlook.
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Canyonlands National Park in sunset as viewed from Green River Overlook.
Canyonlands National Park in sunset as viewed from Green River Overlook.
Canyonlands National Park in sunset as viewed from Green River Overlook.
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The details of the slightly snow-dusted canyon at Green River Overlook at Canyonlands National Park started to show when the sun was setting down.

The details of the slightly snow-dusted canyon at Green River Overlook at Canyonlands National Park started to show when the sun was setting down.

 

How to treat your lady to a date she will never forget?

Give her the stars.

The night sky at Canyonlands National Park is so pristine that it was designated as a Gold-Tier International Dark Sky Park in 2015, and it is one of the four national parks in southern Utah with the International Dark Sky Park designation. The other three national parks are Hovenweep National Monument which was awarded an International Dark Sky Park in 2014, Natural Bridges National Monument which was designated the world’s first International Dark Sky Park in 2007, and the Arches National Park.

It was 17 degrees cold and my husband boiled water for our cup noodles to warm us up. There was nobody else around us that night and all we could hear was our breaths and occasional noise to adjust the car’s heater. We would walk out of the car to look up for Milky Way just overhead and listened to ourselves in full amazement. It was unforgettable. I still talk about that experience every so often.

The night sky at Canyonlands National Park is so pristine that it was designated as a Gold-Tier International Dark Sky Park in 2015, and it is one of the four national parks in southern Utah with the International Dark Sky Park designation. It was the best stargazing experience!
The night sky at Canyonlands National Park is so pristine that it was designated as a Gold-Tier International Dark Sky Park in 2015, and it is one of the four national parks in southern Utah with the International Dark Sky Park designation. It was the best stargazing experience!
Layering up in preparation for a stargazing at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah. This park was designated as a Gold-Tier International Dark Sky Park in 2015, and it is one of the four national parks in southern Utah with the International Dark Sky Park designation.
Layering up in preparation for a stargazing at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah. This park was designated as a Gold-Tier International Dark Sky Park in 2015, and it is one of the four national parks in southern Utah with the International Dark Sky Park designation.
Our amateur shot of the night sky while stargazing at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah. This park was designated as a Gold-Tier International Dark Sky Park in 2015, and it is one of the four national parks in southern Utah with the International Dark Sky Park designation.
Our amateur shot of the night sky while stargazing at Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah. This park was designated as a Gold-Tier International Dark Sky Park in 2015, and it is one of the four national parks in southern Utah with the International Dark Sky Park designation.

 

 

And give her the stars and watch her smile and tear up all at once, even if it is 17 degrees cold. Watch her eyes grow big in awe staring at the night sky carpeted with bright stars. Watch those same eyes disappear as she grins watching those stars fall ablaze. Watch her as she stares at the Milky Way overhead. Watch her overwhelm. Watch her as she shows you a glimpse of her soul.

And realize that your car’s front tire was flat all this time and you are two are alone in Utah’s largest national park with the nearest help about 50 miles away.

Watch her laugh in amusement.

And laugh with her too. 

It wasn’t a dream. It was a date Jon’s lady will never forget.

 

 

Even her cat agrees.

Our cat Sakura Rain sleeping comfortably at our hotel as she waits for us to come back from exploring Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.
Our cat Sakura Rain sleeping comfortably at our hotel as she waits for us to come back from exploring Canyonlands National Park in Moab, Utah.

 

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