Moo-vin Right Along

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These two stood and posed for me this morning as I started my drive up and over Douglas Pass south of Rangely, Colorado.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


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Guess what?

NO RAIN!

For the first time in weeks I was able to stop dressing in layers. Down to just a t-shirt and later to shorts it felt good to have warm weather again. 

This was a exceptional day for driving and for more adventures and excitement, with mostly clear skies, sunshine and the returning warmth.

Driving up and over Douglas Pass was fun. It was not particularly scary or intimidating but had plenty of sharp curves and hairpin turns. At the crest of the pass, I looked to the south, where I was headed and back to the north from where I came. Both were impressive, but the south valley was the better of the two. At Loma, CO, I merged onto I-70 and head west to the Utah border about 12 miles away. Moab, Utah was my day’s destination.

Given the choice, I always try to take the secondary roads. Utah Hwy. 128 was the route I took off of the interstate.  It follows the Colorado River and into Moab. Scenic byway is exactly what it was. Nearing the river the landscape changed dramatically. Red rocks, buttes, spires, hoodoos and the river flowing through it all were eye poppingly awesome. At times the road narrowed as it hugged along sheer cliffs while on the river side a berm was so narrow to actually be nonexistent, as well as no guard rails. Concentrating of driving was imperative. Evidence of rainfall here was present on the now dry roads - that had been plowed  of the red dirt in several places along the drive. The soils here dry quickly, but also are easily eroded during heavy downpours.


Seeing a side road, I thought I’d check it out, just to see where it led toward some fantastic rock formations. Soon after entering it became obvious I was in for another of my off road thrills. With recent rains, deep ruts and erosion were all along the way. Rough, uneven surfaces had my truck rocking and rolling, with me tossed from side to side as a result.  Not knowing what was about to come around each corner, adrenaline pumping, I stuck to the road. The further back on the “road” I drove the more severe the conditions. Finally I hit a patch that looked far too challenging for me. I stopped and got out to survey the situation. What lay before me was a layered stack of rock and beyond that, at a sharp angle, more of the same. From all angles, I determined this was going to be the end of road for me on this side adventure. Luckily I was able to back up on the layered rocks and turn back. Repeating the same suspension twisting drive, my truck, and I maneuvered over the roughness, returning to the paved road. 



With heart rate returning to normal,  I continued my drive, the surroundings becoming even more spectacular. In many respects it reminded me of the red buttes and spires in Monument Valley and of the Grand Canyon. This was as though I were driving IN the Grand Canyon, including having the Colorado River in the mix.

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Taking another unpaved road off the blacktop I followed a sign marked Fisher Towers. This road led to an incredible stand of tall spires that towered high in the distance. Although a gravel road, it was not treacherous to drive. At the end, near the spires, waa a campground and trails. Being drawn in with the incredible beauty of the place, I hiked up the trail, closer to the towering pillars. This took me to lower levels before leading in closer at higher heights. After an hour slowly traveling along the trail, often stopping to take in the immensity of the whole scene, I decided to turn around and continue my drive into Moab. 

I am tempted to find other hiking trails outside of Arches National Park, as the area is full of interesting places to explore outside of the park itself. In the morning I will decide my choices, but would like to see as many of the natural arches as well. While there are other sites I would like to visit before returning to Phoenix, I believe I will put those places on hold and later this afternoon start to make a direct route home.

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