Moab, Utah – Finally open: Potash Road

Longed for long time, finally we can drive the Potash Road. The search for the shooter, who injured the park ranger, was called off. The police assume that the criminal either left the area, or more likely could not survive his own bullet wound(s), the wetness, and the coldness. However, his body wasn’t found yet. Who was ever in one of Utah’s stony deserts with thousands of clefts, holes and caves will understand that it is likely to not find a dead man who crept away to hide himself, since it is not possible to locate the body with a thermal image camera.

The two flyers from Moab’s visitor information are essential to drive and hike Potash Road. Because Schafer Trail, the connector into Canyonlands National Park / Island in the Sky District remains closed for ice and snow we have to come from Hwy # 191 into # 279 and go the same way back later. Having the choice it would be preferable to start from the national park. The initial miles are paved and lead beside Colorado River through a lovely, round shaped red canyon. After five miles a sign indicates “Indian Writings”, petroglyphs that are images of animals and humans, carved into the stone by early Indians. Unfortunately white citizens of the modern age allowed themselves to be driven to creative creation, and left their marks like “Vicky”, “Tom”, “Randy”, or “Sally” for posterity. Other activists even shot on targets carved into the wall. Just a few metres further we can see dinosaur tracks that a representative of its species trampled into the mud before this one petrified. The paws came to light when the stone fell off the mountain and broke apart. Now the negatives are on one slab, the positives on the other. Terribly genuine, terribly large.

The trailhead to Corona Arch starts ten miles from beginning of the road. On the 2.5 km way there we have to overcome 135 m elevation gain, two sections secured with steel cable, and one ladder. During the first cable is just for safeguarding against slipping, the second hill-climbing is a real obstacle. Shallow hollows were carved into the stone to give shoes some support. Not every hiker likes this test of courage and turns round. That’s not too bad since Corona Arch is visible from here. This is one of the world’s largest arches with an opening of 43 times 32 m and to us one of the most beautiful and elegant ones. Right beside there is a huge semi-sphere with a perfect round hole above in the rock ceiling – a horizontal arch so to speak. Allow two to three hours for this worthwhile hike to have enough time for photos.

Several miles further the pavement ends and an easy off-road trail (as long as it is dry) starts into Canyonlands Park; 4-wheel-drive is necessary nevertheless. The powder sand turns into soft soap when wet; you’d better think if you want to dry here in the rain.

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