Thursday, April 26, 2018

Yesterday and today

We've spent the last two days doing a couple of short off road drives to wind up our time here in Moab. 

Yesterday we drove a bit south of town on rt. 191 to look for Landscape and Balcony arches.    We encountered road construction exactly at the point where we were supposed to turn so we had to continue on for almost 5 miles until we could turn around and get back into the line of traffic behind the "follow me" truck and make another attempt.    By the time we reached the turnoff again the dump trucks and graders had moved out of the way and were able to start our off road adventure.   

The decision to take this drive was a spur of the moment one so, since we got a late start, we decided to only go as far as the Picture Frame Arch.   Gay had previously suggested a similar route but continuing past and on to a beautiful overlook.   We'll take her up on it next time through!

Spring has really sprung, the sand is full of sweet little wildflowers.

These flowers smell it desert holly MonaLiza?

We drove along next to a high, smooth ridge until we saw Balcony Arch near the top.  There were a couple tents staked below and we heard music so snapped a few quick pictures and kept on driving.   It was a real shock to see people there, we're accustomed to having these beautiful places to ourselves.

almost alone......

Balcony arch is on the left of the cliff

Just past this arch we turned a corner and found what we were looking for....Picture Frame Arch.   It's square!

see Dave in purple?

Dave hiked up until he was almost under the arch, but the slick rock was just too steep.

Now for the part of the blog with pictures of Lewis.....

peek a boo!

After lunch today we loaded Lewis in the Jeep and drove out to Bartlett Slickrock, a place Pam and John took us to a couple years ago.   It's a great place to take Lewis.....he can run and play and investigate without running into anyone else.     We all enjoyed hiking around the area with no particular place to go, nothing in particular to see.   Just Lew's kind of hike!

Dave opened the gate and we walked down a narrow sandy road, following the fence line until it ended on the smooth rock terraces.

  We wandered and enjoyed the patterns and piles everywhere.

can you see where we left the Jeep, in the far distance?

Lewis romped and ran and screamed with joy.....

and posed......

and found snippets of shade to rest in....

We've all had a wonderful time here in Moab.   It's a beautiful and exciting place to spend time.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Willow Springs Road and the whale

Today we took a long drive into Grand Junction.   I wasn't a pleasure trip like our normal off road adventures are.    Dave had an appointment with a well recommended Endodontist and he ended up having a difficult root canal procedure.      He's fine and the deed is done but the Dr. said he should expect some level of pain for a few days.

Afterward we took a different route home and were treated to some beautiful views on rt. 128 near the Fisher Towers.   I'm sure it made his jaw feel much better.

this is one of my all time favorite roads

Yesterday we had a much more pleasant drive.    We took Willow Springs Road, off rt. 191 north of Moab, and followed it into the little used west entrance to Arches National Park.   Access to this entrance requires a high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle.  It's a great way to experience the Park's back country without the crowds.   You know how I feel about crowds.

The road alternated between being a sandy track and a rough path over slick rock,

with more spring flowers beginning to show their sweet faces.

Dave thought these smelled like his beloved Alyssum

 Along the way we came across a path lined with dinosaur
(Theropod) tracks. 

The creatures who made these footprints were walking along the tidal flats of an inland sea here over 165 million years ago.  It's always hard for me to wrap my head around these statistics.    And then I find myself walking along beside the rock solid proof.   It just blows me away.

A few miles after we entered the National Park's property we turned onto a very rocky and rough track that would lead us to the Eye of the Whale Arch.

can Rocky make it up that ledge?

After about 2 miles we came to a small parking area (empty) with a distant view of the arch we were looking for.

see the arch on the top left?

The hike didn't look very far so off we went.   The trail turned out to be relatively short but it was up and down little washes, something that my knee balks at so after some time I told Dave to go on ahead and I'd wait for him. 

  Curiosity overruled pain so I poked around slowly, found an easier way along the slick rock and met a surprised Dave at the base of the arch.   It was beautiful!

although it doesn't look like it, slick rock is much easier to walk on than rocky ground.

We enjoyed the arch exploration and then returned to Willow Springs Road the way we came, passing no one.    Eventually we intersected the the paved road that runs through the National Park and we took that back home.   So many people enjoying the Park and we virtually saw no one until we hit pavement.   What a great day!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Onion Creek with friends

I already did a post on our drive up Onion Creek Road so tonight I'll just show you some pictures of our second drive there with MonaLiza and Steve.

We did a fair bit of stopping to smell the flowers along the way.....and photograph them.

And to investigate the rocks both on the ground and lining the canyon walls.

Steve wanted to see the Stinking Spring, up close, so we stopped and let him gingerly cross the stream.    He put his hand into the water to see if it was wasn't, but it certainly stank!

While we were on the edge of the creek, waiting for him, I noticed what a neat pattern the sand and water made on our tire treads.    Small pleasures.....

We came across an huge old Cottonwood tree with  tremendous personality.   It beckoned us to stop and play.   So, we did.

The end was hollow and we discovered the furry remains of some sort of animal stuffed inside, but the men wouldn't pull it out for us to see, despite our repeated requests. 

Since we had no dinner plans this trip we decided to take the road to it's end (or the junction of another trail) before turning around.     It took us along a narrow spine to the top of a ridge.

We retraced our steps, crossed the creek a million times (MonaLiza says only 34 times) and ended up at the beautiful Sorrel River Ranch for wine and a light supper.

The sun was casting beautiful shadows on the cliffs on our way home.

Today Dave and I took Willow Springs Road into Arches National Park, the back way.      Along the trail we gave the Jeep a bit of a work out, saw some dinosaur tracks, a relatively remote arch and, of course, more wildflowers.      Check back tomorrow for pictures.