Posts Tagged ‘outdoors

01
May
16

Pups Go West 2016 – The Hunt for Rock Art

The alarm sounded, waking me from a very deep sleep, Utah was waiting and it was time to  continue westward. Being a dinosaur nerd, I’ve always wanted to get a photo of the Fruita, CO grain elevator featuring a huge mural of a T-Rex.  Immediately after snapping a shot, I thought of the terrible joke I told to coworkers a couple days before vacation.

Q:  What do you call a guy who sticks his right hand in T-Rex’s mouth?

A:  Lefty

Groan…

Pushing toward the border, the La Sal Mountains came into view to the southwest; their appearance always feels like coming home.

Fruita grain elevator

Tricera-van?

Made it!

My ultimate destination for the day was Joe’s Valley Reservoir west of Orangeville.  We camped there last year, and along with being nearly alone in the campground, we caught a number of decent Splake from shore.  Before making camp, however, I wanted to explore around the Moore area, looking for rock art.

The San Rafael Reef, a fantastic monocline that I-70 cuts through, is one of my favorite features in Utah.  The dogs and I made a quick stop at the rest stop just east of the Reef to take a couple of photos, stretch our legs and breathe in the dry Utah air.

Camera is over here dogs!

Westbound I-70 cutting through the San Rafael Reef

Moore Cutoff road was waiting, so I eased the Jeep back onto I-70 and continued westward.    I-70 through the Reef always impresses me, it’s hard to fathom the massive amounts of work that went into that short stretch of road.

I turned onto the Moore Cutoff road with Short Canyon as my first intended stop.  After a couple of misturns (and some pretty bumpy two-tracks), I found my way to the mouth of the canyon.  I loaded my pack with camera gear and water, got the dogs ready and started the hike into the canyon.  We made our way down the trail until we reached the location of the geocache we were searching for.

Bumpy drive to Short Canyon

Michigan shaped pothole and Molen Reef

Strike a pose

After the GPS jumping around, trying to find the cache’s coordinates, I located the geocache in a crack in some boulders.  I knew there were pictographs and petroglyphs in the canyon so we continued hiking a bit to try and find them.  We didn’t go far before high up on the canyon wall I spotted a pictograph.  While I knew there was additional rock art further into the canyon, we were running low on time and I had another panel I’d been looking for the past couple of years.  The rest of the canyon’s rock art would have to wait for another trip.

We turned around and headed out of the canyon, the dogs running and wrestling, burning off some of the energy they stored up on the trip out.  We reached the Jeep and started the short drive back to the Moore Cutoff road.

Found the geocache!image

Pictographs high on a canyon wallimage

Heading back to the Jeepimage

Pent up energy from the long drive from Michigan


 Back on Moore Cutoff road I headed west to the Molen Reef petroglyphs to walk around a bit.  It seems as though every rock holds an ancient image, one can find new figures on every visit.

Molen Reef Petroglyphsimage

image

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Moving on, again westward, I was looking for a panel that I’d wanted to find for several years.  I had written down clues I found in blog posts and forum trip reports, pored over maps looking for likely places and spent far too much time on Google Earth.  I was pretty confident that I had it this time.  The dogs and I started off up the steep slope to where I thought it was, this asthmatic flatlander and her flatlander dogs sucking wind as we went.  After a bit of searching, I decided I was thwarted again, which was fine – the view was pretty fantastic and it gave me another reason to visit the area and explore more next time.

Moore Cutoff Roadimage

Mira is still a little mountain goat, even at 10 yrs old!image

Mira and I (and my four chins – not the most flattering photo LOL)image

Spanish Bayonet (I think) – take care, very stabby!!image

We made it back to the car, Yukon barking like a doofus at the cars as they went by below, and started toward our destination for the evening, Joe’s Valley Reservoir and what would turn out to be a great night of fishing!

Rarely seen in the wild, a sleeping Australian Shepherd 🙂image

03
Apr
13

Pups Go West 2013 – Pre-Trip Prep

 

20130404-092353.jpg

Mira testing out her new ABO Travel Dog Bed (my Big Agnes Lulu bag behind her).

The time is upon us, time for the second annual ‘Pups Go West’ hiking and camping trip. Aside from some mishaps, dehydration and doggie seizures, the dogs and I had a great time rambling around Utah for a couple of weeks last spring so I decided I needed to make time for it again.

I’ve made a few changes to our sleeping accommodations: a curtain between the front and back seats instead of Reflectix, thinner more travel friendly dog beds (that can also be used outside at the campsite), an ENO Hammock and my Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 tent. We’ll be sleeping mostly in the Jeep but I wanted some additional options in case we wanted to sleep under the stars (without the risk of rattlesnakes and scorpions). The dogs still don’t quite grasp the concept of the mesh tent but we all fit it fine and have spent several nights in it.

We’ll be heading out bright and early on April 11th, hoping to hit Western Nebraska our first evening and Utah the next afternoon. For the better part of the vacation, we’ll be spending time exploring the San Rafael Swell/Reef area, Escalante and if road conditions permit Cottonwood Canyon Rd. This year my goal is to be a better blogger and not wait and entire year to start my trip report. Any followers have suggestions on good hikes (with dogs) or must see features in the areas above?

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

23
Apr
12

Pups Go West 2012 – Day 4

After poring over the Utah Recreation Map and the Gazetteer, my plan for the day was to explore Black Dragon Canyon and it’s pictographs, visit Swasey’s Cabin, explore along Temple Mountain Rd ending up at Goblin Valley State Park for the evening.  Well, I accomplished two of the four planned stops for the day – driving Temple Mountain Rd. and Goblin Valley State Park.

Heading west out of Green River, I had my eyes peeled looking for the ranch exit that led to Black Dragon Canyon.  Argggh…blew right past it and decided it would have to wait for another trip.  I started making my way toward Swasey’s Cabin and decided to turn around at a washed out area as I was concerned about the Jeep’s (and my) ability to navigate rougher obstacles.   Temple Mountain Rd. turned out to be a nice, scenic back road.

CrossroadsTemple Mountain Road Sign

A little frisbee at the base of Temple Mountain to occupy the dogs (and a Pawsitive Vybe cameo appearance)templemtfrisbee

Tired dogs after an impromptu frisbee session at the base of Temple Mountainyukmiratemplemt1

I arrived at Goblin Valley State Park campground early afternoon, chose site #1 and after paying for a night heading into Hanksville to pick up supplies.  Back at camp, I got the firewood and kindling ready for later in the evening and made some lunch (gourmet Ramen noodles with canned chicken – LOL).

Making lunch and kindling before an afternoon hike at Goblin Valley State ParkMaking Kindling

The sun was quite hot so I waited until late afternoon to take the dogs for a hike.  I had picked out the short Entrada Canyon hike from the brochure.  Though it was short, it sounded interesting, running through an arroyo until it opened up into the field of hoodoo formations that Goblin Valley is known for.

Ready to roll – the first portion of the hike made its way across this hot, dried mud landscapeenteringentrada

As we hiked further into the canyon, the temperature increased – what was intended to be a short, easy afternoon hike turned into a panicky fiasco.  Yukon became increasingly sluggish as the sloping muddy walls closed in.  Mira’s pack came in handy as it carries 1L of water which I used to dump on an overheating Yukon head so we could get back to camp.  I’m generally pretty good at reading how my dogs are feeling, but I dropped the ball on this one.  At one point, my furry black buddy stopped dead in the middle of the trail, laid on the ground and refused to move.  We continued this pattern of stopping, wetting Yukon’s head and getting water into him for the mile back to our campsite.

This is what most of the hike looked like (sorry for the lens flare)entrada1

Yukon and Mira taking a cool down break in Entrada Canyonentradacanyon2

Mira basking in the sun on a break from hiking Entrada Canyonmiraentrada

We got back to camp fine, and after filling Yukon with more water, we loaded into the Jeep and drove down to the valley overlook and explored the endless hoodoos with the Henry Mountains in the distance.

Mira climbing around the hoodoosDesert Dreaming

Mira with the Henry Mountains in the distancemiragoblin1

One of the many interesting hoodoos in Goblin Valleyhoodoo1

Climbing on hoodoos – Mira, Yukon and me in shadow
goblinshadow

After the amazing sunset in the valley, we headed back to camp and started a campfire while the moon rose over the red rock walls surrounding the campground.  Although I know it’s not the best for me, I stuck a can of beanless chili in the fire and ate it with bread (I know, camp gourmet). 

After a frustrating previous day (scary incident on the trail with the dogs and an asthma attack) it was nice to sit by the fire with Mira on my lap and Yukon at my side.  The only way I could think to describe it was explosive bliss…the perfect end to a great day.

goblinvalleyfire




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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
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