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CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK: THE NEEDLES

June 2002
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Canyonlands is situated in southeastern Utah in the middle of the Colorado Plateau.
Water and gravity shaped this land of sedimentary rock into many colourful formations. The Colorado and Green Rivers join and continue in a series of powerful rapids through Cataract Canyon. The rivers' confluence divides the park into three areas: The Island in the Sky, The Maze and The Needles.
The Island in the Sky, the most accessible of the regions, offers expansive views along the scenic route. The vegetation is sparse and consists of open fields, of pinyon-juniper pygmy forests and various types of grass.
The Maze is situated west of the rivers. It remains one of the most remote and inaccessible regions of the United States. The few people who do visit are afforded the privilege of exploring the canyons and admiring the unusual rock formations.
The Needles are located in the southeast of the rivers' junction. The Anazazi Indians who inhabited this country grew such crops as corn, squash and beans. Their dwellings and storehouses, many built of stone and mud, can be found throughout the park.
Of the three districts, I visited only The Needles briefly. Most of my time was spent en route and out of the park as the colourful rock formations and the vegetation were much too "picturesque" for me to ignore.