Today was our 6th day since leaving home and after 2 long, hard trail days we were looking forward to a more relaxed day. After breakfast we headed out toward Moab to do a little grocery shopping, grab a few hardware items to help resolve a couple of nagging mechanical issues with Dan's Rover and my Tacoma, and have lunch at the Moab Brewery before heading to the Canyonlands National Park and the start of the White Rim Trail.
After lunch we drove out to the Canyonlands National Park where we paid our entry fee to the park on top of our Backcountry pass fees to run the White Rim trail. Just past the guard booth we turned left onto Shafer road and within a mile or so we came to a 2000'+ drop down to the White Rim trail. Much like the Moki Dugway in the Valley of the Gods the road clung to the side of the cliff face and worked its way steeply downward. Fairly smooth and maintained it was wide enough, if just, to pass any oncoming traffic. Reaching the bottom, we headed south. The going was relatively easy for our rigs, but we did pass several rigs coming out of the valley 2 of which were AWD sedans that were obviously rentals. The white knuckled grip, and wide eyed gaze of the occupants testified that they were not enjoying the trail as much as we were. We soon encountered terrain that we KNEW they could not have passed in those vehicles and decided that they were just lucky day trippers coming back from an excursion a little farther down the trail than the rental company would have advised.
About 10 miles along the trail we came to Airport Tower rock, the first camping area on the trail and our reserved spot for the evening. The plan was to camp here early, run the majority of the trail the following day and camp a second night in the valley at Zeus and Moses rock at the end of Taylor canyon, the last campground along the trail. In Canyonlands all camping is restricted to the designated camping areas and along the White Rim the campsites are dispersed so that you can just see the next campsite over and they share single vault toilets. As we setup camp that night Mike found a 2ft long rattle snake in our toilet so after clearing him out we were sure to fully inspect it each time before doing our business.
The early stop allowed us plenty of time to setup camp, cook dinner, and enjoy dinner while watching a beautiful sunset, after dinner drinks and a festival of stars make for another incredible evening.