Posts Tagged ‘escalante

04
May
16

Pups Go West 2016 – On to Warmer Climes

A ferocious barking woke me up from a dead sleep, momentarily confused, I got my wits about me and realized it was Yukon.  Now, anyone who has dogs knows they have different barks for different reasons.  Well, this was  Yukon’s serious “I mean business!” bark, Mira joined in, though I’m pretty sure she was just barking to bark (she loves barking).  I had talked to a couple people that mentioned seeing bears around the campground so while I couldn’t see anything outside the Jeep, I’m assuming a wandering bear made its way through the campground.  There was no sleeping after that rude awakening, I tossed and turned until dawn when I decided to head down to see if fishing had improved.

Unfortunately, the slow fishing streak continued on into the morning.  Fish were still rising after some invisible bugs and I did manage a few small rainbows (one of which would become dinner) on the fly rod.  As I was cleaning the sole fish I kept, a couple drove up and started unloading some fishing gear.  They introduced themselves as Keith and Tina from Arizona.  After chatting a bit, I showed them the places I usually caught fish off the dock, and then left them to their fishing.

Small rainbowsimage

image

I’ve always driven past the turnoff for Blue Spruce Campground, a rustic campground northeast of Posey Lake a short drive off of Hell’s Backbone Road, this time I made it a point to turn in and check it out.  It’s a small but pretty campground, only a handful of campsites and butted up against Pine Creek.  I let the dogs out to play in the water and considered grabbing a fly rod.  Pine Creek supposedly has small wild trout in it, and what better scenery to catch them in.  After realizing my Jetboil stove, that’s traveled with me since my first long motorcycle trip in 2010, was missing, I got the dogs back in the car and headed back to Posey Lake.  Unfortunately, my stove was nowhere to be found so I headed into town stopped at Utah Canyon Outdoors and picked up a Jetboil Flash so I could eat warm food for the rest of the trip!

Mira enjoying Pine Creekimage

The weather was still quite cold and I was ready to wear shorts, so after a stop at Nemo’s for a burger and fries, I decided I’d head to Stanton Creek Campground on Lake Powell for the night.  Last year we had a pretty miserable, windy, stormy experience there and ended up spending the night holding our tent up with out feet against 6o mph gusts and multiple thunderstorms.  Hopefully my 2016 experience would be more pleasant.

Burger and fries at Nemo’s – Michigan, you need to get on this Fry Sauce, it’s tasty!image

The lovely red rock formations of Capitol Reef National Park, made way for the barren bentonite hills on the park’s eastern end and soon Hanksville.  Southbound on UT-95 toward the lake, the scenery changed and the temperature rose.  I soon reached the Glen Canyon NRA entrance gate and Stanton Creek campground shortly thereafter.  I drove around the lake for a bit, looking for a shallow spot to let the dogs swim (Yukon was whining since the second he set eyes on the water).  They were in heaven, chasing a tennis ball out into the crystal clear water endlessly.  Attempting to herd them back to the car was like trying to drag a 4-year old away from Chuck E. Cheese – grumbling and whining (with a couple dashes back to the water) I finally got them loaded up so we could find the perfect spot to camp.

Happy dogs at Lake Powellimage

Typical photo of my two – Mira being photogenic, Yukon barking “THROW THE BALL!!”image


I eventually found a site right on the water with some decent looking structure for fishing. If you plan on camping down near the lake, it’s mandatory to have a WAG bag or some sort of toilet system, I just keep a box of WAG bags in my Jeep.  There are out houses further up in the campground.  I staked the dogs out, got them fed, donned shorts and sandals and started working the shoreline with fly and gear.

I caught a small sunfish that looked like something had recently chomped on it.  It was fairly slow going after that, with some sort of large fish following my fly or spinner in on each cast, but never committing (I’d later find out they were Striped Bass).  Finally, something bit and while it didn’t fight too well, I was excited, it was my very first walleye (very amusing considering I grew up on Lake Huron-currently a walleye hotspot).  Lake Powell has no limits on either Walleye or Striped Bass due to their predatory effect on bait fish and their rapid proliferation, so I bonked this one on the head and proceeded to less-than-expertly fillet it.  Trout and walleye for dinner!  With the sun going down, I enjoyed a small fire, watching the stars blanketing the darkening sky and the lights in the million dollar houseboats at Bullfrog twinkling in the distance.  Lake Powell had redeemed itself.

Stanton Creek Campsiteimage

Evening’s fishing funimage

image

My first walleye – named “Dinner”image

Fresh fish on the shores of Lake Powellimage

Filthy Mira – who wants to sleep with this swamp thing?image

 

03
May
16

Pups Go West 2016 – Posey Lake or Bust

Camping is great, but a good night’s sleep in a real bed, followed by a shower is pretty OK too 🙂  I gassed up the Jeep and grabbed a breakfast sandwich before hitting the road, making my way to UT-12.  The mountains on either side of UT-20, the route that connects I-15 to US-89, were socked in with clouds, quite a surreal drive.

Head in the cloudsimage

Last October, we picked up an America the Beautiful pass prior to a trip out to Yellowstone to fish.  I’ve never stopped at Bryce with the dogs given the fact they can’t go anywhere except the paved parking lots and viewpoints.  With the pass, I didn’t feel guilty about spending the cash to make a quick drive through just to hit a couple of viewpoints.  Bypassing the busier overlooks, I stopped at a handful of the less occupied to take in the sweeping views of other worldly formations.  A light dusting of snow contrasted nicely with the deep red of the hoodoos as we moved up in elevation.

Bryce Canyon Viewpointsimage

image

Panoramasimage

image

Mira enjoyed the viewimageimage

A fellow park goer kindly offered to take a family photo – like trying to herd cats 🙂image

Exiting the park, we saw some of the park’s resident wildlife – mule deer, pronghorn antelope and prairie dogs all roaming in the meadows along either side of the park road.  Escalante is a scenic 1 hour drive east of the turn off to Bryce, the surrounding hills all had a new dusting of snow from the previous day’s flurries.  Posey Lake Road up to the campground changes drastically as you drive up in elevation.  Juniper and sage make way for tall pines and aspen as the road winds up to the lake.  The ground was covered with patchy 4-6 inches of wet snow.  The campground empty, I selected the site we stayed at the year before.  I quickly unloaded some gear and headed down to the dock to get some evening fishing in.

The past couple of springs fishing this lake had me spoiled – the fish had readily taken flies, spinners, whatever was thrown at them, the truly difficult portion of the fishing being battling the incessant wind.  The wind was still present on this visit and trout were rising after bugs left and right, but I couldn’t pay them to bite a fly.  Cast after cast, multiple fly changes and yet still nothing.  It looked as though I’d be eating a freeze dried meal for dinner this evening.

The collection of birds on this lake, ruddy ducks and coots, bring a soundtrack of mechanical clucks, whistles and whirrs.  If I closed my eyes, I could easily believe I was surrounded by their prehistoric counterparts that roamed the area in the Late Cretaceous.  A loon and its haunting, wavering call sounded out over the lake as returned to the surface after a bit of subsurface fishing (hopefully having more success than I had).  Seeing that a trout dinner wasn’t in my future, I packed my gear into the Jeep and drove back to the campsite.  The dogs happily played in the snow surrounding the site while I heated up water for my dinner.

Rewind to 3 months earlier, early February, I found myself under the knife to repair what the MRI showed as a torn rotator cuff.  I woke up in a sling and instructions for post op care for a biceps tenodesis.  What?  Apparently, once they opened me up, they found that it wasn’t a torn cuff, but rather a frayed biceps tendon and a torn rotator interval.  They clipped my tendon from its original attachment point and used a screw to reattach it to my upper humerus.  When I left for Utah, I was just beginning to work on strengthening the biceps muscle in physical therapy.  I’m sure my ortho doc would have been thrilled to see me chopping and sawing firewood with my freshly repaired arm, but what’s camping without a campfire?  I got enough wood together for the night, my arm held out,  nothing a beer and a handful of Motrin couldn’t make better!

My wood selection was damp and the resulting fire was unimpressive and very smoky.  The temperature dropped, and while it was still light out the dogs and I retired to the Jeep to warm up and read for a bit before drifting off to sleep.

Mira enjoying the campsite, and her new ballimage

Our accommodations for the trip – a bit smaller than the old Jeepimage

Mira cuddled up, watching the campsite as I readimage

02
May
16

Pups Go West 2016 – Snowed Out

Up early, the surface of the water was like glass, I unloaded the fly rod and headed back to the water with the dogs.  Knowing that the prolific Utah Chub was a major food source in the reservoir, I tied a bunch of white and gold streamers in the weeks leading up to departure.  I tied one on and made a couple casts, still targeting stumps and their roots.  Just as the fly neared shore, a cutthroat shot out from under the stump and grabbed my fly.  Unfortunately, it was a short lived fight as the fish shook its head and gained its freedom.

The reservoir’s water was so clear, anything cruising near shore is visible.  I saw a couple cutthroat swimming back and forth and shortly thereafter a musky, about the size of the one I caught the night before, was on the prowl along the shoreline looking for a meal.  Very neat to see!  Another of the reservoir’s resident aquatic life was slowly crawling from the shore looking for deeper water, a large crayfish I named Pinchy.  No wonder the fish get big in this reservoir, the food sources are large and plentiful!

Pinchy, my new crayfish friend.  WARNING:  Doesn’t like hugs!!13151555_10103133460207635_4257204435007531465_n

13164296_10103133460202645_262632788616104627_n

With the dogs again wet and muddy, it was time to make our way to the day’s intended final destination, the Escalante area.  Thankfully, since we were sleeping in the Jeep, it didn’t take much time to break down camp and be on our way.  Driving south on UT-72, the winding road and scenery were beautiful, eventually opening to the alfalfa fields and pastures of Loa.

Panorama of the view to the east of UT-72image

Our first stop of the day would be to a panel I had recently read about, the Fish Creek Cove Panel.  While the panel has some visible vandalism, it’s still very nice with large headless elk in a procession, dual color shields, hunters bearing bows.  Nobody was in the parking lot when we arrived, so the dogs and I wandered the area, looking at the amazing images.

The road in to the panelimage

Mira relaxing in the cool sand under the elk procession on the panel13100748_10103133442463195_7935185213939966467_n

Procession of headless elkimage

Hunterimage

Additional images on the panelimage

image

image

There were a couple of geocaches near the panel, so we hiked the surrounding terrain, looking for them.  We found the first, after a bit of searching, I chuckled when I finally noticed it.  As we were heading to where I thought the other cache was, a group of people arrived at the panel.  The dogs were wound up at the surprise appearance of strangers, so I decided to save the second cache for another time and hightailed it back to the Jeep.

Found it!13094249_10103133698959175_8296038805328287261_n

13083215_10103133698984125_5185550629863383260_n

I’ve hit all kinds of weather traveling over Boulder Mountain:  fog, bright sunshine, hail (on a motorcycle) and this time heavy snow.  I hoped this wasn’t a sign of how the rest of the day would end up.  Part way across the mountain, I drove down into Lower Bowns Reservoir to take a look, the snow stopping as I left UT-12.  Last year, we didn’t have any luck at this reservoir so I didn’t break out the rods, just driving through the campground and heading back up.

The road into Lower Bowns with the Henry Mountains in the distanceimage

Took Lower Bowns road rather than end up in Tartarus eternally chasing fruit I could never eat 🙂image

Back up on UT-12 over Boulder Mountain heading west toward Boulderimage

 Once down off the mountain and into Boulder, the heavy snow turned into rain and continued on and off, all the way to Escalante.  I stopped at Head of the Rocks, as I always do, because I love the different colors of rock layers segmented by the winding road below.  Over the Hogback and past Calf Creek campground we pulled into Escalante.  I hoped to head up to Posey Lake for a couple of days to fish brookies and rainbows and enjoy the solitude of the mountain.  Unfortunately, weather wasn’t our friend and the mountain was shrouded in snow clouds.  After a bit of thinking, I decided I’d make a quick trip over to Beaver for the night and come back the next day for a night at Posey Lake.  I made a quick stop out on the outskirts of Escalante to fish North Creek Reservoir for a few minutes, but after one hookup, heavy rains and stormy clouds again pushed me back into the safety of the Jeep.  The nasty weather would follow be all the way to the night’s motel where a rainbow awaited.

Head of the Rocks panoramaimage

North Creek Reservoir panoramaimage

Bad weather all the way to Beaver, UTimage

image

The rainbow at the end of the dayimage

24
Apr
12

Pups Go West 2012 – Day 5

Loaded up and ready to go – Goblin Valley State Park Site #1loadedupgv

I woke up the second morning spent in the Jeep to a beautiful, sunny blue sky.   I didn’t have a set plan for where we would go, just in the general direction of Escalante via UT-12 and my favorite, The Hogback.  Using the Jeep as a “camper’ instead of the tent makes for easy take-down – just had to load the cooler and chair back in, tidy up the site a bit , feed the beasts and we were on our way!

South on UT24,  our first stop would be Capitol Reef National Park.  While researching, I came across a loop on my Utah Recreational Map that mentioned Temple of the Sun/Temple of the Moon in Cathedral Valley.  After researching on the internet, I planned on driving the loop and camping in Cathedral Valley for the night.  I stopped at the visitor center in Fruita and asked about conditions on the road and decided against it.  Back to the Jeep, I noticed an amazing Overland vehicle with European plates and started chatting with the couple standing outside.  They were from Amsterdam and were traveling around the world in their van…pretty awesome setup!  I quickly checked out the campground that was near the visitor center, it was quite full and sites were close together so I opted to keep rolling, stopping for a couple of photos in front of the Capitol Reef National Park sign.

Mira and Yukon at Capitol Reef National Parkmirayukcapitolreef

Family shadow portrait (couldn’t keep the dogs still long enough for a real portrait)capitolshadows

After a quick stop for Subway (a staple meal on this trip) in Torrey, we set off down UT12 toward Boulder Mountain.  The last time I was on Boulder Mountain was September 2011 near the end of a 3 week long motorcycle trip.  Part way up the mountain I was pummeled with dime sized hailstones, not very comfortable on a motorcycle!  The weather this time up the mountain was much sunnier, albeit windy, and we made stops at each of the Boulder Mountain overlooks.

Panorama from one of the Boulder Mountain overlooks (the Henry Mountains in the distance to the left of the photo)bouldermtpano

We kept heading west toward Escalante and the Hogback, a stretch of UT12 that sits atop a thin ridge of sandstone wide enough for the two-lane road, with dropoffs on each side.  This is an amazing ride on a motorcycle, one of my favorites, unless you get stuck behind a motorhome.  We took a moment to walk around Head of the Rocks view point, an overlook over Escalante Canyon and vast stretches of slickrock with UT12 winding its way through.

Yukon and Mira at Head of the Rocks overlookyukmirahofr

View from Head of the Rocks overlookheadofrocks

Head of the Rocks panoramaheadoftherockspano

Upon arrival in Escalante, I looked for established campsites but everything was full.  New to dispersed camping, I didn’t consider that at the time and ended up in one of the pet-friendly cabins at Escalante Outfitters.  The dogs were quite hot due to the unseasonably warm weather so I asked at the desk if there was an area to take the dogs swimming.  I was directed to Wide Hollow Reservoir, a body of water formed by a dammed Escalante River.  The dogs were in their glory (especially Yukon) splashing around in the cool water.  Unfortunately, this outing ended any hope of hiking for the rest of the trip as Mira pulled up her rear leg with a torn pad.

Mira cooling down at the edge of Wide Hollow Reservoirmirawidehollow

Yukon bringing back his stick – blissful at being in water again!yukonwidehollow

Due to the circumstances, I took the opportunity to drive Hells Backbone Road instead of the hike I had planned to Calf Creek falls.  I had been wanting to check this road (and its famous bridge) out for a while but always arrived in town with too little time to do so.  Starting out in Escalante, I wound my way through a juniper covered desert landscape which made way for pines and aspen as the road climbed its way to a higher elevation.  We stopped near Pine Creek to play in the snow and wade in the ice cold water before arriving at the historic Hell’s Backbone Bridge.

While climbing around the rocks near the bridge and taking in the stunning view of the Box Death Hollow Wilderness Area, I noticed another vehicle slowly making its way across the chasm.  The brown Chevy pickup, bearing a ‘Beaver Island’ license plate, pulled behind the Jeep – a fellow Michigander perhaps?  An older man, in his late 70s as I would come to find out, stepped out of the cab and came over to say hello.  He was touring around Utah, camping in his truck on what he called his last big trip, though judging by his spryness I suspect there will be many more trips in his future.  As I suspected, he was indeed a Michigan native, a resident of Whitehall, a mere hour north of me.  Though I’m an extroverted introvert, one of my favorite parts of road trips is the people met along the way. This gentleman was no different, I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and after 20 minutes of story swapping, he was off to his campsite for the night.  The dogs and I continued exploring around the bridge before heading back to the Escalante Outfitter cabin.

Heading up Hell’s Backbone Roadhellsbackbonejeep

View over Box Death Hollow Wilderness from Hell’s Backbone bridgehellsbackbone1

Bristlecone Pine with Hell’s Backbone Bridge in the backgroundhellsbackbonebridgecolor

Mira and Yukon begging to join me on the porch of the cabinpleaseyukmira

Back in the cabin – time for bed after planning for the next dayescalantecabin




Archives

Instagram Feed

Yesterday was a Surf N Turf kind of day.  Turkey hunting in the morning, bluegill fishing in the afternoon.  First time out with the new @cabelas CGR 3 weight-what a hoot! #flyfishing #fishing #bluegill #panfishonthefly #bluegillonthefly #glassisnotdead #michigan Didn't think I'd be able to get out for this turkey season, but made it out this morning.  This Tom came in strutting with another tom and two jakes following a hen.  Talk about getting your heart racing, the hen yelping angrily and the boys behind her gobbling their heads off!  21.5 lbs, 10" beard and 1 1/8" spurs - turkey schnitzel pieces and fried heart for lunch (after bluegill fishing 😉). #turkeyseason #turkeyhunting #wildturkey #michigan #spring #womenhunt #woodstotable #compnchoke #browning Did some last minute packing for the one day I'd get to go turkey hunting this season.  I guess I forgot my hunting boots.  My non-waterproof Salomon trail runners must have attracted the birds in because it was a successful hunt!  My feet are soaked 😂 #turkeyhunting #wildturkey #turkeyseason #michigan #spring #womenhunt #dressforsuccess Finally made time to visit the McConkie Ranch Petroglyphs on this trip.  It's on private property but the owners have kept the rock art accessible to the public as long as they respect the property (small $5 donation, totally worth it). I lost some of my photos from here in the phone drowning but thankfully still have some good examples of the amazing Fremont rock art.  We saved the Three Kings panel located in a different spot on the property for a different trip. #rockart #petroglyphs #fremontculture #utah #vernal #mcconkieranch #roadtrip #dryforkcanyon
Follow heronwheels on Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 249 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 11,737 hits