Ranger Kathryn's Arches

August 11, 2010

Peekaboo Springs, Needles: packed with surprises

Kathryn and shield pictographs at Peekaboo Springs

Sunflowers gone wild... tens of thousands of them

…or is it LIFE, packed with surprises? Every day is such an adventure. It’s an adventure to wake up and be breathing.

As three of us undertook a ten-mile hike in the gorgeous summer weather, we were not prepared for the audacity of the day’s gifts to us. It’s as if the Giver of all good gifts delighted to open his hand and unleash nonstop beauty and joy, just for us. Endless fields of sunflowers welcomed us to the parkland, an oddity in any other August. A Collared Lizard (my favorite reptile, remember?) startled us at the beginning of the hike, and a Long-Nosed Leopard Lizard (second fave) at the end. Cumulus clouds shadowed us, keeping the heat down and providing much-needed shade intervals as well as photographic interest. Most of the hike was high on the exposed sandstone benches, giving birds’-eye views of the canyons and washes, with stunning vistas across miles of national parkland. Vast stone walls were pierced by clefts and openings that gave sneak previews into upcoming canyons. A powerful panel of pictographs awaited us at the 5-mile far point, infusing wonder and intrigue as we pondered the inhabitants who painted them 800 and 3000 years ago. As we started back, we stumbled upon an area of ancient granaries, finding seven (7!) structures in one little neighborhood. To top it off, a majestic golden eagle posed for photographs as we drove out of the park. I could hardly take it all in; it is securely in my top five favorite hikes of all time. I must go back, in another season. I may take with me those who have eyes with which to see and savor the beauty; I may journey alone with my grateful heart.

Collared Lizard studying me

My hand... another's hand. Eight centuries apart.

Kathryn & Mariana hike the Needles.

This sentinel stands watch over the pictographs


A granary for crop storage -- sadly, some oaf "helped" rebuild the top

Useful 12-rung ladder, courtesy of NPS

Rocks have such beauty.


  1. You seem to find those collared lizards everywhere. Must be your power animal.

    Comment by Ed Oak — August 11, 2010 @ 8:42 pm | Reply

    • It’s only the third one in my life… and they find ME!

      Comment by kath56ryn — August 12, 2010 @ 7:05 am | Reply

  2. Having been to the SW a couple times in the last few years, I can see why you are so in love. There is a part of me that wants to say, “what the (insert choice of word here) and pack up and move out there.

    Comment by john — August 12, 2010 @ 10:10 am | Reply

    • I’m trying to remain open to all options, John. That is one of them — even if there are a lot of “buts” in my mind…

      OH!!! You meant YOU pack up and move out here! Well! That lends even more interest to the idea. Get your boss to open a branch in Moab. You could volunteer to be the start-up guy.

      Comment by kath56ryn — August 12, 2010 @ 10:17 am | Reply

  3. May one assume that becoming jaded is not a significant hazard in your line of work?

    Comment by leroque — August 13, 2010 @ 6:04 am | Reply

    • It is — just never for me. I am blessed with a sensitivity toward nature that prevents anything from getting old. When park rangers tire of where they’re at, they often apply to a different park and start the whole thing over again so they don’t take their work for granted.

      Comment by kath56ryn — August 13, 2010 @ 8:30 am | Reply

  4. […] Read about our 10-mile hike in the Needles District of Canyonlands here: https://arches.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/peekaboo-springs-needles-packed-with-surprises/ […]

    Pingback by Dreaming of Spring… « The Road Less Traveled — March 7, 2011 @ 10:58 pm | Reply

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