Saturday, May 30, 2009

Still on Cedar Mesa, near Natural Bridges

It rained until after 6. 110% cloud coverage. We could have been on the Oregon Coast. Before dark, there was a tiny opening of blue in the south. We prayed.

In the afternoon, we went to a nearby pull-off where we had cell coverage on the way west. Nothing. We continued to drive east toward Blanding. Nothing. Not even in Blanding. We guessed an equipment problem. We found an on-ramp at the Super 8. Filled up Pelli and got eggs and bread.

Sunday, May 24
Dawn came with fewer clouds. Yea! By mid-morning, 40% cover. By 2pm all happy smiley cumulus clouds.

We hiked under Owachomo Bridge, which is only a half-mile down. All the other bridges are over a mile and twice or three time more elevation loss. We both huffed and puffed our way back up, but it was worth it.

From far below we noted that some Yahoo had driven a C in the ditch on the Elk Road, a rental. Great views from up there, but no place to go when it is raining and the road surface is goo. At least they did not slide down the mountain.

The weather was still good at 3., so we went back to Muley Point to celebrate sunset. The closer we got the more clouds we saw in the southern sky. By the time we parked, got the chairs out and the drinks fixed, a storm erupted in Monument Valley, 30 miles away, was tracking for us. We hid in the Jeep until it past and surfed the net. Yeah, here in nowhere, we had a decent signal.

The storm passed and we got out and hooked up with some folks who were camping there. Immediate friends. I hope they are not too sore that we did not return Monday as we said we would. See Monday.

Dorothy woke up wanting to wash clothes and take a real long bath. So we hiked Mule Canyon and then drove east to Blanding to Blue Mountain RV.

We have washed clothes, ourselves and KoKo. We dumped the tanks and filled up with fresh water. We are good for more days in the outback. Last year we went for 23 days with hookups. But Wyoming and Idaho have plenty of places to dump and take on water. Not so in Utah.

We elected to shower again before we left. We let the water run and run. It will be awhile until we have that luxury again.

The skies were mostly clear until around 9, then they started clouding up. We could see thunderheads building east and west of us. We did some marketing, made some phone calls, checked email, gassed up and headed back west.

We went about 15 miles and drove right into one of the thunderstorms hanging around the Abajo mountains. It lasted for an hour, just long enough to muddy up the road to the campground.

One of the theories about why the Anasazi left this area is due to long term drought. We think we saw some of them returning today due to the recent rainfall.

At home, 20% chance of rain means it’s not worth thinking about. In Utah, 20% means it will rain 20% of the day.

We got away early to hike Mule Canyon on the north side of UT95 to some ruins called House on Fire. See photo’s. It was an easy one mile hike along the mostly dry stream bed.

The thunderheads built all morning and we found rain about a mile from the CG. It messed up the road for Jim and Gayle to come in. I am glad crossing the ‘sippy hole” did not scare them off.

I wanted to hike Road Canyon to a ruin called House with Fallen Roof. I was able to entice everyone else into my adventure. The guidebook said this was not a difficult hike and was only an hour long. I can only speculate about the condition of the trail before the recent rains. I can say that after the rains, much of the trail was washed away. The going down was rather difficult for Dorothy and me, while it was a walk in the park for Jim and Gayle. We made it from the rougher side approach canyon into the wider Road Canyon and were soon rewarded with House with Fallen Roof perched on a ledge about 100 feet above the canyon floor. This was the best preserved ruin we have encountered. See pictures.

Jim and Gayle went around the corner to the next set of ruins. Dorothy and I parked and huffed and puffed and rested. The next ruins were from a different time period as the construction was mud and sticks, rather than stone.

Surprisingly, the hike up and out was not as ghastly as the going down. When we made it back to the Jeep we had been out for a little over four hours.

After dinner we enjoyed showing pictures of our travels.

It did not rain on us today! That breaks nine days of at least a short thunderstorm. We saw rain to our east, but we were spared.

Lay Day – Since the road was spared rain for a day, it had dried out, we all went in the Jeep up the Elk Mountain Road crossing between The Bear’s Ears at 8,600 feet. There are spectacular views of western and southern vistas from the top.

We went a few miles further on the road hoping for a view of Canyonlands or Dark Canyon, after what seemed to me to be too long without a view, I turned around and we headed back to the CG for lunch and nap.

There was a thunderstorm north of us, but maybe we will be spared again. The contrails from the jets overhead are much shorter today, indicating lower humidity.

We drove 30 miles south and perched KoKo on the edge of Muley Point. Jim and Gayle are close by. The view is incredible. No rain for over 48 hours - on us anywho. Wish you were here.

Monticello Lake on the side of the Abajo Mountains.
Not bad for free parking.









Combs Wash, another free parking spot





Combs Ridge above our campsite









Mule Canyon on Cedar Mesa





Our camp site on Cedar Mesa near Natural Bridges, also free, free, free.









Fallen Roof ruin in Road Canyon on Cedar Mesa





House on Fire ruin

More and better pictures may be found at Life's Little Adventures

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