My first exposure to this colorful canyon country was in the fall of 1994 at the tail end of a similar extended camping trip around the US that I now found myself on with my wife. It was November and winter had come early to the red rock I'd planned to hike in. But its majestic beauty was only enhanced by a dusting of snow that had me already planning a return the following year. In a country as big as the United States, sometimes you just run out of time.
The next year I returned on a trip tailored to see this area more extensively and planned purposely to arrive well before the snow. As pretty as it had been it had thwarted my hiking amongst the red rock indelibly etched in my mind in the interim. It was with great purpose that I visited parks I'd missed as well as returning to ones I'd only been able to skirt through. The hiking was fantastic, everything I had hoped for. Camping in the dry sunny Utah parks about as perfect as can be. But something was missing and that was someone to share it with. My first trip had been with a long term girlfriend and we had parted ways soon after. As satisfying as it was in my mind, my heart was lonely. I returned home with a lot of pretty pictures but no one in them and memories similarly empty faded quickly. (continued below in Fondest Memory)
Looking out over a sea of pink I was reminded of the past, both recent and times long gone. Just three weeks earlier I had sat on the equally impressive White Sand Dunes of their namesake Monument. It was the beginning of a seven week stretch of desert camping that would take us from the New Mexico Monument to the Valley of Fire in Nevada. Reflection comes easy in the peace and natural beauty of a place like Coral Pink Sand Dunes. The Utah State Park, while not as immense as its paler cousin in New Mexico is nonetheless expansive and in typical Utah style colorful in an otherworldly way.
It was the first of three Utah State Parks we would visit and to be honest we were initially drawn to them for their inexpensive camping and shower facilities, often lacking in their National Park counterparts in the state. With little preparation or research on the area, we were somewhat blown away by the beauty of the place. When traveling in a state blessed with so many such spots it never fails to surprise that some go less noticed than others. But part of the advantage of a long open ended trip is the lack of time restraints and the ability to see more than others rushing through. But no matter how long you have it never seems enough and with each successive visit, it seemed I accordingly planned more. (continued below in Fondest Memory)
Coral Pink Sand Dunes would have a hard act to follow but as soon as we arrived at the campground, we knew we had made the right choice in delaying our trip to The Wave by a day. Set literally amongst the dunes but with the convenience of running water, bathrooms and showers only a few steps away, we settled into our little patch of paradise quickly. After scoping out the small visitor center, there wasn't much to do so we enjoyed the little shade we had and awaited the sun's approach of the horizon. We took showers for free, laid in the tent, and generally relaxed in the serene peaceful campground. Soon enough, we found ourselves tramping up the aptly named pink sand dunes as the sun's rays shone ever warmer light on them. While not quite as desolate as White Sands Monument had been, it was by no means crowded and everyone seemed to keep their distance of each other, respecting the common desire for seeking solitude in nature's splendor.
My wife played like a kid in a big sand box, writing messages in her native German to take pictures of for her family. We marched up and down the dunes like mad nomads without a home or clear destination. We just had fun with no particular plan of action but as the sizeable mounds began to glow ever more, we sat and enjoyed their display of color and the sun setting like a ball of fire. It would have been nice even if I was sitting there alone but with my wife by my side, knowing what we had already accomplished together and were about to, it made it all that much more special.
I married nine years later and vowed to show my wife the wonders of the American west. We made the opportunity of a slow economy work in our favor when we left our commission based jobs and set off across country plenty early to enjoy the southwest to its fullest. We had arrived three weeks earlier in White Sands National Monument, a place entirely new for the two of us. It's not always easy returning to places you've done before with someone new whether the previous experiences were shared with another or not but the former situation adds a new challenge. I was to find time and again that my wife was more than up to it. She, in fact, seemed on a vendetta to make sure that this trip was by far the greatest of all my adventures west. She'd obliterated everything I'd done at the Grand Canyon and Zion but all that competition can wear even the most hearty out. So, it was nice to visit lots of new places with no history or baggage and Coral Pink Sand Dunes was yet another in a growing line of pleasant surprises.
We'd spent the morning at Zion in no hurry. I'd done a solo photo shoot at dawn and returned expecting to find my wife still asleep, much deserved after a two night backpacking trip on Zion's West Rim. But instead, she had already packed up all our camping gear and had the stove ready for her true reward-a pancake breakfast and a good strong cup of coffee. I gladly complied and soon we were enjoying yet another breakfast with Zion's towering walls as our backdrop. We sadly pulled out of Zion an hour later after nearly a week of bliss. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
Enkel de foto werd gepost, in afwachting van de informatie, deze informatie komt wat later.
bedankt voor uw bezoek en tot nog eens.
I have just posted the photograph, the text with more information will follow later on
Thanks for your visit and you are welcome to revisit later on.
Fondest memory: nice views
Let’s make no secret of it. We both like a nice cold glass of beer. Being abroad is always a challenge to find a beer we like, which reflects our taste of having a beer. In America it wasn’t really that hard to find the brand we liked, it was clearly Budweiser, popularly referred to as Bud.
Budweiser is a lager made with a proportion of rice as a substitute adjunct for barley malt. This immedaitely shows the problem for selling it in Europe as traditional brewers serve beer with only the four main ingredients (water, hops, wheat and barley). So Budweiser is not produced accoring to the German "Reinheitsgebot". But we found out that it didn’t taste distinctively different.
The Budweiser bottle is a rather familiar icon to most Americans. The bottle has remained relatively unchanged since its introduction in 1876. We liked it, but the fraze “King of all Beers” is a bid of an overstatement!
Favorite thing: Snow adds a picturesque quality to the colored topography of Utah, and the dunes are no exception. In the picture, remnants from a recent snowfall remain in stark white contrast to the pink sand beneath.
Because it's right in the middle of so many awesome natural wonders, the Kanab area has become a popular base for Hollywood film crews making western movies. James Garner and Clint Eastwood were known to frequent the town in the past. Westerns filmed in this area include:
Billy the Kid (1941)
Thunder in the Valley (1947)
Green Grass of Wyoming (1948)
Black Bart (1948)
Calamity Jane and Sam Bass(1949)
Red Canyon (1949)
Westward the Women (1952)
Pony Express (1953)
Fort Yuma (1955)
War Drums (1957)
Duel at Diablo (1966)
A Rough Night at Jericho (1967)
Brighty of the Grand Canyon (1967)
Mackenna's Gold (1969)
The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing (1973)
One Little Indian (1973)
The Outlaw Jose Wales (1976)
TV programs filmed here include:
The Lone Ranger
How the West was Won
My favorite thing about this park is the contrast in color between the pink/orange sand and the blue sky. Plus the sand felt wonderfully cool on our bare feet! We stopped here for about half an hour to stretch our legs while driving between the big national parks all around here (Zion, Bryce, the Grand Canyon).
The dunes here are created from erosion of the Navajo Sandstone hills. The park is open to Off-Highway Vehicles like dune buggies, and we saw their tracks, but never actually came across any while we were walking around.
The park also has camping spaces available - call 1-800-322-3770 to reserve a spot.