Tag Archives: Utah

Photo Review: Manti La Sal National Forest – Indian Creek and Newspaper Rock

Most of these photos were taken during my bike/run/hike adventure on Indian Creek Trail in the Manti La Sal National Forest near Monticello, Utah a week and a half ago.  We decided to camp along Indian Creek and try biking the trail in the morning.  The trail is designed for dirt bikes / motorcycles, so we were hoping it might work for mountain bikes as well.  Unfortunately, the trail turned out to have a lot of deep sand and it was very slow and frustrating on the bike.  So… I ditched my bike and decided to hike while Jay turned around to find a better mountain bike trail.  Soon, I was inspired to run.  It was 6 miles one way to Newspaper Rock (a well known petroglyph site).  I really wanted to be able to make it the whole way so I started running all of the downhill and flat sections.  I made it there in great time but was definitely hurting some on the way back.  Not to mention I was more than an hour later than I had expected to meet up with Jay.  It was just such a beautiful trail that I wanted to complete the whole thing.  Hope you enjoy the photos.

Abajo Peak in fall colors

beautiful fall colors on the Abajos

Cottonwood trees in Fallclouds over Indian Creekindian creek

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Newspaper Rock

Anazazi petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock

buffalo petroglyph at Newspaper Rock

buffalo petroglyph at Newspaper Rock

36th Week in Review: Moab – A Future Home?

Apologies … on Sunday night right before our White Rim adventure, I got very sick with what we are guessing was food poisoning.  I had intended to finish a few posts that would go live while we were in Canyonlands, but I never got to it.  Luckily, I recovered within 24 hours and was able to enjoy the White Rim, but we now have a backlog of posts that will be going up over the upcoming week.

Sunset over Sand Flats

Sunset over Sand Flats above Moab

We have spent the entire week in Moab, Utah and the surrounding area and we LOVE it.  We suffered 35 mile per hour winds, hail, flash rain, and frost.  We still love it.  This is the first town since Rossland, British Columbia that has left us wondering how we could move here.  The locals are friendly, there are a variety of awesome restaurants, a quirky thrift store, locally planned activities every weekend, happy looking kids, and of course, world-class mountain biking.

Hours volunteered: 2 hours (Sharon) pricing halloween costumes at the Wabi Sabi Thrift Store in Moab

States: 1 – Utah, Moab, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park

Budget: under since Jay’s parents have been treating

People Visited: on Saturday we met up with the White Rim bicycle gang led by Jay’s parents, Morgan and Cindi Holt.

Nights under the stars: 6 – Sand Flats Recreation Area, Colorado River, Canyonlands Campground, Canyonlands National Park

Best meal:  We loved all of the meals on the White Rim trip.  The food was coordinated by Pat and Cindy Kennedy and they should have their own overland catering company.  Cindy made special bacon cheddar muffins for Jay and they made a special batch of chicken stew for me when the rest of the group had shrimp stew (which Jay says was one of his favorites).  There were lots of healthy delicious offerings including fresh tomatoes from their garden.  Thanks again Pat and Cindy!!

Moab Brewery, Miguels Baja Grill, Love Muffin Cafe and Wake n’ Bake Cafe also deserve shout outs for great food and fun atmospheres.

Best beer: Moab Brewery‘s Black Raven Oatmeal Stout

Photo Review: San Juan County, southwestern Utah

We entered San Juan County, Utah from the Navajo Reservation, just east of Monument Valley. Soon we crossed the San Juan River, which carved a lot of this landscape and adds color and life to the it’s rocky surroundings. After seeing the river wind around multiple bends at Goosenecks State Park, we headed north and to the infamous Moki Dugway road up onto the mesa. Cedar Mesa is an epicenter for ancient indian ruins. We hiked to Junction ruin via Kane Gulch the next day. With beautiful weather and the leaves at peak color, this was our favorite hike in a long time.

View of San Juan River from Goosenecks State Park

View of San Juan River from Goosenecks State Park

view of San Juan River from Goosenecks State Park

view of San Juan River from Goosenecks State Park

Kane Gulch

Kane Gulch

Balanced rock in Kane Gulch

Balanced rock in Kane Gulch

Butterfly taking flight

Butterfly taking flight

Bend in the canyon in Kane Gulch

Bend in the canyon in Kane Gulch

Kane Gulch

Kane Gulch

Aspens in Kane Gulch

Aspens grow in Kane Gulch even though they're not supposed to .. .something about a microclimate related to the ice age...

Junction House Ruin at intersection of Kane Gulch and Grand Gulch

Junction House Ruin at intersection of Kane Gulch and Grand Gulch

Kane Gulch

Kane Gulch

Kane Gulch

Kane Gulch

view of Cedar Mesa

view of Cedar Mesa

natural rock coloring near Cedar Mesa

natural rock coloring near Cedar Mesa

 

35th Week in Review: Entering a Landscape of Canyons

hogan in chinle

Our home for 2 nights, a hogan near Chinle on the Navajo Reservation

This week started with us volunteering at Chinle Junior High School through the Muskoka Foundation.  This is our second project with the Muskoka Foundation and it was easier the second time around.  We only had two days with the students and we were fortunate to be able to stay in the school counselor’s family hogan just outside of Chinle.  I still consider this sleeping under the stars since a hogan is designed with a large hole in the roof for smoke to escape out of.  For us it afforded a chance to watch the stars.  The hogan was surrounded by houses and dirt roads and we also got to watch a young cowboy herding some horses over the hillside.  We noted the irony that all the true cowboys left are indians.

goat heads

Turns out there is another desert plant at least as evil as Russian Thistle... the Goat Head!! These are the seed pods which have multiple thorns so that they are sure to stick to you no matter which way you step on them.

After Chinle, we headed north and crossed into Utah again.  We enjoyed Goosenecks state park, braved the Moki Dugway road up the mesa, and hiked to Anazazi ruins in Grand Gulch primitive area.  We continued to move closer and closer to canyon country, biking in the Manti La Sal national forest and finally coming into Moab, Utah where we will stay through the next week.

Abajo peak in fall

Abajo peak is all kinds of colorful right now

Hours volunteered: 20 hours (combined) to run a mini photography workshop at Chinle Junior High School through the Muskoka Foundation

States: 2 – Arizona, Chinle;  and Utah, Blanding, Goosenecks State Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, Monticello, Moab

Budget: may have gone over with our splurge on a restaurant meal this week

People Visited: none

Nights under the stars: 7, hogan in Chinle, Cedar Mesa, Manti La Sal National Forest, Sand Flats Recreation Area

Best meal: Butternut squash ravioli with red onion, bacon, and asparagus (cooked by Jay)

Best beer:  Uinta Brewery‘s Kings Peak Porter

Photo Review: Esalante- Grand Staircase National Monument

After leaving Capitol Reef we headed south and west along the semi famous Highway 12 and the Scutumpah road. We were in the Escalante – Grand Staircase National Monument almost the entire time and it was incredible! image

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Photo review: Capitol Reef National Park

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Capitol Reef is a less well known, but just as amazing park in southern Utah.  We were grateful to spend two days there this past weekend.

33rd Week in Review: Natural Wonders of Southern Utah

our tent site in the Manti La Sal National Forest at sunset

our tent site in the Manti La Sal National Forest at sunset

We have been experiencing all types of nature travelling across central/southern Utah this week.  We started in the Fishlake National Forest near Loa, Utah measuring willow plants.  Next we travelled with our Grand Canyon Trust team to the Manti La Sal National Forest a bit further north and east.  The road up to the plateau was slippery clay after a few days of rain.  A bit more exciting than I would have hoped for.  The heart pounding continued as we counted cows in a lightning storm.  If we hadn’t been part of a volunteer project we would have headed to warmer and drier climes, but as it was, we really enjoyed meeting the other great volunteers and staff and learning new things in the name of conservation.  However, by Saturday we were thrilled to have a hotel room thanks to my mom’s hotel rewards points.  (BTW, If you have rewards points and would be willing to donate them, please let us know).

Hawk on Aspen tree

This amazing hawk was just hanging out in the tree closest to our tent

We got our wish for clear skies and warm weather in Capitol Reef National Park.  This is a real gem which seems to be seriously under visited.  After a night in the park and a morning lopping bushes and pulling up invasive plants, we headed south on the Scenic Byway 12.  We are spending next week at Kane Ranch on the Arizona strip for a second project with the Grand Canyon Trust.

Hours volunteered: 44 hours (combined) logging native plants and counting cows in the Manti La Sal National Forest with the Grand Canyon Trust and 10 hours (combined) clearing brush and pulling up Russian Thistle in Capitol Reef National Park

States: 1 – Utah – Gentry mountain near Huntington, Torrey, Capitol Reef National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante

Budget: under  — thanks to Sharon’s mom for donating her points so that we could have a free hotel stay!

People Visited: none

Nights under the stars: 6 – Manti La Sal National Forest, Capitol Reef National Park, Dixie National Forest, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Best meal:  Spinach and cheese enchiladas baked in a dutch oven by Emily and Gayle of Grand Canyon Trust

Best beer:  Wasatch’s Devastator Double Bock  — Utah is definitely not known for beer, but this one is worth a try