Sunday, September 27, 2020

9/26 Drive to Capitol Reef National Park

 This was an interesting drive because of the varied colors and shapes on the way. It started out fairly flat and dull.  

Then it got more interesting! 

Whatever this rock was, it must have been very soft because it seems to be falling downhill constantly.

Nice to not have much traffic.

Actually, I had been driving through parts of Capitol Reef, but this sign was near the part where the valley had once been settled.

You can tell there are small streams in this area because of the greenery.  And note the color change from dull beige and brown to reddish.  This rock also seems a lot more stable.

This sign was at one of the older cabins.  Mostly, they farmed and had extensive orchards, as well as large families.

Do not worry.  This family moved closer to town by the time they had a lot of kids.  I am assuming they had a larger home there.

Home is still looking good, even if the taillights and running lights do not work.

Now these hills look really weird--something like a child will make with sand on the beach.  But notice the green trees that tell us there is a river here.

This is a settler home and museum where they sell cinnamon rolls in the morning, except they were sold out within 15 minutes of opening!! 

Fruita Campground in the park where I stayed one night.  No cell service and no power, which is a double whammy for me. 

A doe and two fawns just at the edge of the campground.  They must hang around here because there were warning signs about not feeding the deer.  And the orchards were all fenced in with 8' fences for obvious reasons. 

And dad was just down the road a bit.  Mostly, he was chewing his cud and staring at me.


It is hard to see, but this gnarled old tree had a lot of burls on it.  Would make a lot of nice bowls.

And an old blacksmith shop.  The door was open, but there was a closed sign, so I did not stop. 

Onward to Escalante, UT, where I have two nights reservations and can get good cell service.

9/25 Canyonlands National Park, Islands in the Sky Area

 Canyonlands National Park really includes several separated areas.  The part nearest Dead Horse Point SP is called the Island in the Sky.  After spending a few days at Dead Horse, and having taken a tour in the bottom of the canyonlands, I spent a few hours on this day trying to see the part of the national park on the top of the mesas. 

Unfortunately, all the people who could not take a vacation in June and July are now taking their vacations, so the national parks are incredibly crowded.  I could not find a place to park near the visitor center or a lot of scenic areas.

However, I did get some pictures of the Shafer Trail, from the top. Glad I took a tour instead of renting a jeep as I had originally planned!

Lots of zigzagging!

Back to my campground.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

9/23 Canyon Below Dead Horse Point, UT

 I have been wanting to go down into this valley for several years, but I originally thought it was accessible only by one of those dune buggy things that climbs rocks--not for me.  

However, I discovered it was accessible by a regular, enclosed 4-wheel-drive vehicle, and that there were tours available.  (That helped me eliminate my original idea of renting a jeep and driving it myself.  Another factor to taking a tour instead of driving myself was looking at the far end of Shafer road where it exited the canyon via a bunch of narrow switchbacks.)

Unfortunately, I was not able to get a reservation for earlier in the day, so I ended up with the 4 - 8 pm tour.  WARNING:  There are a lot of photos in this posting, so you might want to skim over them, but don't miss the last few photos. 

The first few miles were paved, and this part went through a wall with pictographs. 

The next section follows a quiet stretch of the Colorado River.  We are just beginning to drop down into the canyon.

The pavement does not last long, however.

This road, both the paved part and the dirt part was built to access a potash plant. The paved part is between Moab and the plant, and the dirt part goes another 20+ miles past the plant and exits in Canyonlands National Park.

No boy scout leaders in the area, so this rock is apparently safe.

These are part of the potash drying ponds seen from the top of the mesa at Dead Horse Point.

Guess I am glad I did not rent that jeep! 

Just a few photos of the mesa edges and the rock layers from the bottom.

Wonderful views!!

A long, straight section of the Shafer road.  It is regularly graded, but parts of it are really just flat rock.

This looks a little iffy!

A view of the river from about halfway up to the top of the canyon.

Getting near the top now.  No stops for photos, so I took these out of the window.


I took this looking straight up the cliff next to the vehicle.  Scary.

This is the road we were just on!!

And a section of the switchbacks.

This was the vehicle that we rode in.  At about two-thirds of the way, the driver stopped where another vehicle from the same company had broken down.  They had sent a mechanic down with a third vehicle, so the passengers from the broken down vehicle rode up to the top in that one, and we had enough space for the mechanic.  They will have to return tomorrow with parts for the broken-down vehicle.

All-in-all, this was a fantastic tour and well worth the price.  It gave me the chance to see part of the canyon I could never have seen otherwise.