|turning into Portal's driveway....many improvements since we were last here.|
|site M29 faces a pretty pond and natural area|
|we have a large site with a shade pergola|
Sunday morning, after a delicious breakfast with the Lowes, we made the relatively short drive up from Bluff.
|beginning to see the distinctive Moab rock formations with the snow covered La Sal Mtns. in the background|
Today we spent a little time getting reacquainted with the town, grocery shopping and getting the Jeep's flat tire fixed. Well, that is what we planned on doing but when we talked a little about the tires, we decided to just bite the bullet and buy four new ones. We'd planned on buying replacements once we got home, more aggressive tires that would be safer for us since we spend quite a bit of time bouncing around on unpaved roads. We'll be here, doing just that, for the next three weeks so the decision was to get those better tires now when we can really use them.
Getting back to our time in Bluff.....
We spent most of our time on those back country roads. One day, as we followed a dirt road toward the San Juan River (where we wanted to eat lunch) we found ourselves at the end of the unfenced Bluff airport runway.
|we kept our eye on the sky as we drove past the runway|
|There's the San Juan River.....down there|
The road did end at the River, but about 200 feet ABOVE the River... the map didn't show that. Since none of us wanted to scramble down that far just to eat lunch, we turned around and took a spur road to it's end.
We set up our chairs on the slick rock amongst piles of very interesting stones and rocks. Sound like fun? We had a ball eating lunch and sorting through the rocks, finding many to add to my collection. Simple pleasures, I know.
Another day we drove down the back of Comb Ridge on Butler Wash Road but didn't take it the entire way because we didn't find it very interesting. There were several interesting hikes to Native American ruins off the road, but my knee still isn't up to much so we just turned around.
I'm fascinated by Comb Ridge. It's huge pale spine seems to dominate the landscape and I found myself giving directions using it as a reference for everything. It is a linear north-south trending monocline nearly 80 miles long and tilted at a 20 degree angle.
There are long dirt/sand roads running it's length, one the upper side (Butler Wash Road) and Comb Wash Road below. One day we drove through a huge cut in the Ridge and then took the lower road to it's end, on route 95, about 25 miles.
It was a very dry and dusty road. There is virtually no humidity in the air here and the resulting static electricity causes the sand and dust to cling to the Jeep in most interesting patterns.
We stopped here and there to wander off and explore an interesting rock formation, or an unusual color, or to let Lewis "stretch his legs".
One day we drove through a fascinating area similar to Monument Valley, called Valley of the Gods. We had done this drive before but it never fails to impress us.
The size and shape and color of the formations on this loop road just floor us.
It is public land, land that belongs to all of us. People are free to camp amongst these giants and enjoy everything this area has to offer.
|lunch in the rocks|
can you see the jeep at it's base?
We were still trying to find a way to the San Juan River. We have seen places where people were camping on it's shoreline, and places where river rafting companies were putting in, but we wanted to find a place all to ourselves. We thought Lewis would enjoy a dip in the cool water and it may wash off some of the dust clinging to his curly body. We wanted him to be black again!
|this formation reminded me of the flame stitch pattern on my dining room chairs!|
We drove around behind a rock formation called the Mexican Hat. The river runs behind it, through a thick margin of reeds and locust. In one direction I saw two campers but the path leading off in the other way seemed rough and narrow, but empty.
|see the campers on the left?|
Dave walked down to check out the conditions before we turned and headed off on our mission.
|my driver checks the road conditions ahead|
It was rough with deep sand and only two tracks to follow, but we had it all to ourselves.
|10 or 15 crows on the cliffside yelled something nasty as we passed by|
It ended at a bend in the river, just where we wanted to be. No scrambling through the thorny underbrush to reach the water.
|this is exactly what we had in mind!|
The water was fast moving and beautiful. Lewis went right in but there was some deep mud at the shoreline that made it difficult for him to enjoy himself so we walked along the narrow shore towards a rocky area jutting into the stream.
At one point he chased his stick into the water and fell into a deep hole. He couldn't get out the way he went in and there were a few tense moments as he clung to the rock trying to get a purchase. Eventually he turned and found another way...he's a trouper.
We had one more fun adventure with friends. I'll tell you about that tomorrow.