Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Red Rock Country

Dear Blog, 

My hard drive went toes-up. So I lost what I had blogged, but not published after 9/23. Some pictures were also lost. Thankfully, I had a back up only two weeks old. The next few entries will capture where we were in brief, so we can read them when we are drooling in a nursing home.

Saturday - September 24

We parked at Temple Mountain to scout out where we could leave the yaks while we were in The Maze next week. 

Sunday/Thursday - September 25/29

Parked on Klondike Road 20 miles north of Moab. Great view. Spent most of the time prepping to go to The Maze. Ed and Carol joined us Monday and we got the chance to catch us with them and see their third LD and their new red Jeep. Had prime rib at Susie’s. Left the yaks in Moab.

The Klondike Bluffs - My close ups were lost

Friday - September 30
Deja Vu Back to Temple Mountain where we will leave KoKo and take the Jeep in the morning. My computer died.

Our neighbors showed us a video of a flash flood that came down the wash next to the parking area earlier in the day. It did not rain at the campground. The water came from somewhere toward I70. Only a trickle of water remained, but it was roaring in the video. The picture below shows the boulders left by the flash flood.

The rest of the pictures from Temple Mountain were lost

Saturday/Sunday - October 1/2 - The Maze

Canyonlands NP is in three districts. The more well known districts are Island In The Sky and south of there is The Needles District. The Maze is across the rivers, the Green and the Colorado. There are no paved roads into it. That alone keeps the traffic down. To enter the more desirable areas you must acquire a permit well in advance.  The Maze has some of most unusual rock formations in Utah.

This place has been on my bucket list for over 20 years. After we got the Rubicon, it moved way up the list. The Maze requires a high clearance vehicle and over night camping in a tent. We spent a few hours each day the week before buying equipment and packing the Jeep. Water, food, gas, tent, storage bins, toilet, ice chest and so forth. Most of the items we tossed after we returned having no room for them once we put the yaks back on the roof of the Jeep.

We planned to stay two days and could have extended, but we elected not to. We would have needed another few days to explore the north section of the park. Maybe another day.

What we really needed were hiking legs. There are miles and miles of trails.

It was great to get to a place without Chinese tour buses and Cruise America RV's. It's not a designated wilderness, but you are over 80 miles from a paved road, separated from civilization by two rivers.  You see few people. Of the 95 miles coming in, we only saw three Jeeps traveling together and two bikers.  On the way out, we saw one Jeep and two back country rangers doing a pack rafting trip. [That means hiking down from the ranger station, about 30 miles, to the Colorado River, carrying a pack raft, paddles, sat phone and what ever else required on your back. Floating down the river to check on visitors also pack rafting, then hiking back to the ranger station. They do this wearing their gray over green uniforms, which are not the most comfortable for back country hiking. What a life]

We got up at 5 and were on our way to Hans Flat Ranger Station by 7. That was the first 44 miles on a mostly decent dirt road.  The terrain turned from brown desert to green P and J's (Pinyon Pine and Juniper) just before the ranger station. After checking in, we headed down the Flint Trail. I was a little apprehensive about this section, but it was a breeze. The Rubicon is quite impressive. It was the only time I used 4WD Low and that was to use the engine to brake going down the steep sections. When we got to "The Ledge" at the end of the Flint Trail, the P and J’s were gone, replaced by budding cacti. 

Starting at the Teapot campground, the road gets rough, not so much technical, just plain rough. We were told the road is pretty much the same as it was in the 1920's when ranchers stared running cattle there. There are a dozen or so steps that require care not to drag on, but nothing that a stock Rubicon can not handle with good spotting. After 8 hours of driving we arrived at our first overnight location. It's called The Wall. None of the campgrounds have any amenities. You would not know it's a campground, but for the signage. The Wall is just a flat rocky place with a 40 mile view.  We made camp in an hour, watched the stars for awhile and were fast asleep before long. Each campground is all yours. You see and hear no one else. On a busy day, there are less than 20 people below the cliffs. 

The next morning, it took us an hour to have breakfast and pack everything back into the Jeep. Our next stop, The Dollhouse, only 13 miles downhill toward the river took us 90 minutes. A much shorter day. We made camp by noon and spent the afternoon under a Juniper tree taking in the view. In less than 24 hours, we turned animalistic. We saw creatures in almost every rock. Ducks, bears eating fish, dinosaur heads, etc. And we did not take a single peyote button. It's no wonder the Indians saw animals in rock formations. When you see nothing manmade you soon starting seeing "things".

I would have liked to hike down to the river, but it was three mile round turn and a 800 foot elevation loss and gain.

About 4, the wind picked up and we noted the tent fluttering. The wind continued all night and from time-to-time the wind overpowered the side flaps and we got dusted with red dirt. It was not a restful night by any measure. We did learn first-hand a tad of what the settlers went through. 

Through we were over 80 miles from a paved road in any direction, we got two bars of Verizon in some places. The ranger had told us to call him if we wanted to extend our stay.

It was an enjoyable experience, but I doubt we will do it again. We are just not tent people.

Our first overlook

The start of the Flint Trail decent. These people are in trucks, not good. Have biker friends to build up the road for them. They never made all the way.

Another overlook
Over the ledge, now the road gets rough 

Our first campsite

 View from our first campsite

Our second campsite - sand, not rock, for tent stakes
What we came for - The Dollhouses

Just before sunset at our campsite

Monday - October 3

Back to Temple Mountain again and dead tired after our 7 hour return drive. Frolicked like seals in the shower getting the red dirt off.

Tuesday - October 4

We spent almost four hours putting things back to normal in the vehicles and did not leave Temple Mountain until after 2. I wanted to stay in the Henry Mountains, but I did not want to drive KoKo 20 miles on a dirt road, so we passed the mountains by and continued south on US95 to near Hite. There is an overlook there of the Colorado River that is one of the best overlooks in the country - from a paved road that is. We decided to park there for the night. The State of Utah thoughtfully provided garbage disposal so we could unload five days of trash.
 Where Lake Powell was 20 years ago. That's the boat ramp on the right

The Colorado and the bridge that was built in 1974 - No road until then

I had forgotten what a scenic road US95 is south of Hanksville to the river. First you wind through a long canyon and then you reach the river. There is scarce traffic on the road. I wanted to take the road to Bullfrog and cross the river on the ferry. But, the ferry was closed for repairs, saving us $55 in toll fees. They could have placed the Ferry Closed sign on US95, before you make the turn on a road with no pull off's. 

Wednesday - October 5

We went to Cedar Mesa to see if there were any ruins we had not already seen, that we could get to. Moon House was on my list, but after looking at a picture of a way too high for us drop off, we crossed the thought from our minds.

Thursday/Friday - October 6/7

Stopped by the Post Office at Blanding and picked up our care package. We parked at Ken’s Lakes south of Moab. Did shopping and washing. Found the start of the Steel Bender Jeep trail. One look convinced us that it could indeed bend steel. We had prime rib once again at Susie’s Branding Iron.

Saturday - October 8

We both felt like we were in prison in the campground after being free for so long, so we drove just north of Moab and parked on Willow Springs road. I had no idea this was a MAJOR thruway for fat tire bikers. The traffic was non stop carrying bikes in and out.

Sunday - October 9

We moved two miles north to Dalton Springs Road. Almost no traffic. That means there is no dust from dirt bikes, ATV’s, cars or RV’s.  It’s not the view we had on Klondike, but it’s fine with us. We are the only motor home here, as there is some kinda deep sand on the road in. I checked it with the Jeep and was comfortable that KoKo could handle it. A combination of no fear, stupidy, and knowing how to drive in sand worked.

Heavy clouds are making us think of heading home. It's about time to do so anyway. Not looking forward to it.


1 comment:

  1. Here is our post about Moon House Ruin. One real tough part getting there.