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!


  1. Joe and I sure hope Dave will be back to normal soon. Your picture taken on Hwy 128 is a keeper ! It is a beautiful drive.

    Willow Springs has always been our favorite way to enter Arches NP. Taking the "off the beaten path" is way more fun ! So cool seeing Rocky climb those ledges ! Eye of the Whale is a cool arch...and, I agree that slick rock makes for a much better hike !

  2. This is a great drive. Those dinosaur tracks are so vivid and easy to see the print. I love that there is rarely anyone around that area. Glad you got back to the arch:)

  3. Jeeps are the best! Looks like another "no others" day of playing in the red dirt. One nice thing about being behind is that Dave is likely all healed up now! Those are great tracks. Makes me wonder how many natives and settlers crossed over them, never knowing they were there. Love the arch - and the fun road to get there.