Monday, September 5, 2016

More tidbits from our time in Vernal

Our original purpose for staying in Vernal, Utah was to see the Flaming Gorge.  We had planned visits there two times before and something always caused us to change our plans.

  After a quick stop at the visitor's center we realized that we couldn't see everything in our 4 day stay so we (I)  relaxed and decided to just see what we could see.    Always a good plan.

One of our days we decided to drive up to the southern end of the Flaming Gorge, check out the dam, stop at a few viewpoints and take the Sheep Creek Loop.   The Gorge Reservoir runs for about 91 miles in Utah and Wyoming so there was no way we could cover more of it in our time frame.    There was much traffic.....

view from the bridge

Dave was disappointed that he could not walk out over the dam.   Only those taking the "tour" could do that so we decided to drive over it and down to the river on the other side to look up at it.

the precarious drive below the dam

The road was narrow and very steep winding down from the top of the dam to the river, about 500 feet below.    We thought we would be able to find a spot to eat our lunch beside the water, but the area was really only there to launch rafts.

serene lunch spot

We found a beautiful, peaceful spot beside the West Greens Lake (I think that was the name....) on our way to the Red Canyon Visitor's Center overlook.

We had a visitor for lunch that day....

The Red Canyon Visitor's Center is perched high on a cliff over the Green River.
When we walked around the side of the building looking for the restrooms,  we (I) was jolted by the sudden view....

I wasn't aware of just how close I was to the edge, I need to slowly creep up to a vista like that in order to even try and look.      At any rate, no restroom break for me!

brave tree standing on the edge

There was a lovely, paved and fenced  path following the edge so Dave walked on it and I walked on the dirt beside it in order to stay as far away from the edge as possible.

brave Dave standing on the edge

Of course, Dave had no problem standing directly over the abyss and even leaning over the fence!    I handed him the camera.

I used my camera time to photograph smaller and more manageable things.

The other problem I had walking that overlook trail were the deep cracks or crevices in the rock running across the path, and sometimes directly under the path,  towards their relief point at the edge of the 1700 foot drop.     It made me feel as if large chunks of the cliff were ripe to just separate from the rest and drop, a thought that gave me the squeezies!  I know I'm my own worst enemy, but my imagination is just too strong.   I didn't take any pictures to show you, I tried to ignore them altogether - with only moderate success.

So.....back to the jeep and off to find the turn off for Sheep Creek Canyon Geological Loop drive.    Since we had that one inquisitive lunch visitor, I wasn't really looking to see any Bighorn Sheep (although I would have enjoyed seeing more).    I had read about the unusual rock formations along the creek and that is what we were really seeking.

the massive Uinta Fault was obvious in the twisted rock layers before us

We weren't disappointed on this short be fantastic drive along the creek.   We even saw a small herd of female Bighorn's with their middle school youngsters.

We got out and walked along the racing stream a bit but mostly just drove along slowly through the narrow canyon, ooohing and ahhhing as we went.

tiny red rock waterfall with thistle.....

canyon walls up close

We broke out of the canyon after a while and as we climbed on our way home we were rewarded with more stunning views of the Flaming Gorge.   The colors were incredible.


  1. The tour of the dam was excellent, as was the video. Sorry you missed it, but with your short time to visit so much, this would have taken a half time:) Too bad you didn't go into the Red Canyon VC. They were in the middle of completely remodeling it last year during our visit, but the back and side are all glass that over looks the gorge. You may have been able to enjoy the view from inside knowing the wall wasn't going to fall away. Getting close to edge can be tough when you aren't sure about the ground under your feet. The mind is a strange thing at times:) You got great photos of the rock formations on the Sheep Creek Road! Love all the sheep you saw:) Your last photo is beautiful. I loved that view from there:)

  2. "Squeezies" ??? Now, is that a word?

    Anyhow... I totally get your apprehension (acrophobia).

  3. What a beautiful area and a nice tour. Great pictures of the sheep.

  4. Gosh I just love that country, thanks for taking me back there! Love all the sheep!

  5. I like your plan of just relaxing and not trying to see everything. Something I must remind myself of on a daily basis. You saw so many sheep! And I love your photos of the tiny things while you were keeping yourself from thinking about the cliff falling away. Your photo of the Douglas fir cone is lovely.

  6. Between the dangling rock and the collapsing cliff you got some really great pics around the Gorge! I totally get the "squeezies" :-) And not needing a restroom after all :-))) Did Dave really have to lean on the fence?? Love your little lunch visitor. The canyon is beautiful, we would (will) love that area!!