Thursday, the 19th, we left Monument Valley Heading for Torrey, Utah, with more wind and gray skies. We loved the giant red rocks but what a harsh place. I think we have red dust in everything! We got some great shots in the early morning light.
We left before eight because we expected an interesting trip through some rough terrain-the fun had just begun! The hills were actually mountains with 6-8-10 degree grades—up and down. Not easy driving the big rig on skinny two-lane roads. We had light snow flurries then, at the summit of 7900, the rain turned to ice on the windshield. None of this was a major problem, except to say we are nearing the end of May and spring has yet to settle into the southwest.
We crossed the Colorado River, passed Lake Powell and into more rain.
The terrain was still beautiful, just clouds all around us. We did see Jacob’s Chair Butte, near White Canyon. Named for a cowboy who lost his life in a flash flood, the sandstone shape was veiled in cloud cover. We were impressed by the massive Factory Butte in the badlands area, the house in front is a tiny dot.
Our eyes popped when we hit Capitol Reef National Park, between Hanksville and Torrey. Butch Cassidy and his gang hid out in the remote canyons here. The area has a unique geologic history—a 90 mile long water pocket fold, a buckling of rock in the earth’s crust 65 million years ago, is the biggest in North America. It has created a fantastic display of the colored striations in the sandstone cliffs, along with domes, spires, fins, arches and of course the hoodoos, the monoliths topping many mounts.
We got to Torrey with tiny hail falling as we set up camp—better than rain! The RV park has fantastic fluted red rock mountains at its back and Bolder Mountain in front. What a spot!
The next day we headed up Bolder in our car, toward Escalante, into the Ponderosa pines. We moved our next stop from Escalante because of information from RV neighbors. They were so right- the mountain grades are loooong and steep. The RV would really struggle. It’s perfect for our little car, so we’ll make day trips into the area. We went up to 8600 on a chilly day, to find more beautiful views and a light snow patches left from the previous day’s weather.
The pups had a great time “hunting.” We’re pretty sure we saw bear and badger tracks in the mud and Jim surprised a small herd of mule deer. Great scents in the air all over as we moved over the mountain, through groves of aspen, waiting to leaf out.
We ended up in the Grand Staircase area, known for dinosaur fossils. We came upon giant white mounts covered with cross-hatched patterns. I thought they may have been petrified dinosaur scat—the Sugarloaf formations are actually Navajo sandstone mounds created from ancient sand dunes about 65 million years ago.
On the way home we found a fantastic restaurant, Hells Backbone Grill, nestled in with spa-like cabins. The restaurant is owned by two women who left corporate America. How do people find their way… to move their lives to the middle of way-beyond-rural? Dinner was outstanding, by the way!
Great cloud colors from the sunset on the way home. Oh, added treat…at 50 mph we came across a deer standing in the middle of the road. Luckily it was pretty visible, even at dusk, and it moved off quickly, in the right direction.
More from the Torrey area tomorrow.