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Petroglyph, Pictographs, Geologic Wonders, in Utah and Colorado

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Petroglyph, Pictographs, Geologic Wonders, in Utah and Colorado

Old May 9th, 2010, 05:10 AM
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Petroglyph, Pictographs, Geologic Wonders, in Utah and Colorado

The original plan was to visit Dinosaur National Monument and see the fossils and also the petroglyphs that are there, then re-visit Nine Mile Canyon for more petroglyphs before joining friends in Green River, UT for a few days. Then down to Mexican Hat via 24 to 95, to 261/Moki Dugway for Valley of the Gods and Goosenecks SP, and finally, a wander back to Denver for the flight home. Weather was wierd, as it has been alll winter, so we adapted the trip as needed. I’ve started to post pictures at www.flickr.com/photos/emalloy2009/sets in the Utah and Colorado 2010 set if you would like a look. I’ll be adding to the set as time goes on and the rest of the photos get processed.

April 27: Up at 4:15 to catch a 7 o’clock flight to Denver. Arrived after noon, picked up a Jeep Cherokee and hit the road. Stopped at Rifle for the night at a completely forgettable, but clean, motel close to the interstate. We took I 70 in spite of the recent road work due to the landslide. There was a section with one lane, but traffic was light so it didn’t slow things much and we didn’t have any icy/snowy conditions on the roadway to deal with.

April 28: Rose bright and early for the trip up to Dinosaur. We took rt. 13 to 64 to 40 and made a side trip a few miles down 139 to see the petroglyphs and pictographs in Canyon Pintado. The nicest here was a sun calendar that was painted on a rock wall, we weren”t there at the proper time to get bisection, but you could get the idea. Because of impending snow we decided to head for the Jensen, UT entrance of Dinosaur and see what we could in the day before the storm.

We headed up to the McKee spring area for the great concentration of petroglyphs. This involved a few miles of gravel road and a bit of a hike up a hill, but the petroglyphs were very nice. We then went back to the temporary VC and down the main road for more petroglyphs. Who knew that on Wednesdays the rangers don’t do the tour into the dinosaur bones and tracks, and the area is closed due to construction of the new VC (the old one was condemmed because it was unstable) so no dinosaurs for us. Impending snow made it wise to head south, so we took 40/191 to 191 to Price for the night. Stayed in another forgettable, but clean, motel.

April 29: Our plan was to spend the day in Nine Mile Canyon. We started out and took the road from Wellington into Nine Mile Canyon, as the road got to gravel, the snow started in ernest, when we were 5 or 7 miles in the road surface was covered with snow and it started getting greasy, so sadly we truned around and headed back to pavement. We hit some sporatic snow on the way, but as we went south it was not sticking to the road.

We were meeting friends who were driving from California in Green River, UT, so we headed down 191 and had time to go to Moab for a bit before night. We visited some dinosaur tracks just north of Moab and then went to the Potash Road and Kane Creek petroglyph sites. There was a very interesting “ladder” made with logs wedged into a crevice in the rock near the Kane Creek site. Headed to the River Terrace Inn in Green River. The inn was very nice, right on the river, nice size room, very nice breakfast included (they cook your eggs, pancakes, french toast, etc. to order). We chose this location because it would be convenient for the folks from CA and for us. We stayed here 3 nights and used it as a base for activities in Moab and then down to Mexican Hat. It was a little over $100/ night and much nicer than most of the motels in the area. Friends had just arrived at the lodging when we got there, so we chatted for a while and then went to Ray’s for supper. Not fine dining, but fun and everyone had a good meal before heading back for early to bed.

To be continued
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Old May 9th, 2010, 06:25 AM
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emalloy,

Thanks for the report! I have been wondering how the crazy "spring time in the Rockies" weather would turn out for the Fodorites traveling to southern UT & CO. Lookign forward to more!
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Old May 9th, 2010, 03:16 PM
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On with the story

April 30: Up for early, delicious breakfast with friends and off to Canyonlands Island in the Sky district. The ride from Green River to the entrance road was about 30 minutes and then another 30 to the VC. Drove to all the overlooks took very small walks, and took a ton of pictures then out for a very late lunch in Moab. Then we headed up to Sego Canyon/Thompson Springs for a look at the pictographs and petroglyphs. We hit a small snow squall, so sat in the car at the site untill it passed. There are petroglyphs from the Utes and Freemont culture and pictographs in the Basketmaker styles here. There are some on the west side and more on the northeast inside the corral. This day they were seperating the calves from the mothers and loading cattle cars to take them to another grazing place, so we couldn’t get in to take pictures on the corral side, but it was interesting to see the cowboys work the animals, even though the cows protested loudly to be separated from the calves. Weaning time was here and it was time for fresh pasture. The site is easy to get to, go east from 191 on I 70 a few miles to the Thompson Spring exit, then go north, on the only road a couple of miles to a parking area with pit toilets. After this we went back to Green river, at supper at the resturaunt next to the River Terrace, then sat outside our room and watched sunset over the Green River, very pretty.

May 1: Up before 7 for another yummy breakfast and then off for Arches. We stopped at all the major sites and did a few of the easier hikes to Double Arch, Pine Tree Arch, Tunnel Arch, Balanced Rock, and some of the overlooks. We’re wimpy enough not to try the really challenging hikes, but some time I will sign up for the firey furnace ranger led hike.
We then decided we had time to go down to Needles District of Canyonlands. We stopped at Newspaper Rock, and took the hike in to Cowboy camp and Cave spring. Interesting look at Canyonlands from inside the canyons and also to see the places where people lived down there. As it was getting late, we headed back and stopped at a fun ribs place along 191 before we were back to Moab. Then back to Green River for a night’s rest.

I'll finish as soon as I get a few minutes, promise.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 03:52 AM
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the end

May 2: Slept in until 7:30 and then went for breakfast before the trip to Mexican Hat. Filled the gas tanks and headed west on I 70 for a short ride to UT 24 south to 95. Beautiful scenery on 24 and fantastic on 95. We did stop for pictures at a rest area with pit bathrooms and then went to Walnut Canyon NM. It was cool and windy at Walnut, but we did hike out to several overlooks, a nice break on the trip. The question was if we should go around to Blanding and back through Bluff to Mexican Hat or head down 261 through Moki Dugway to Mexican Hat. What the heck, go for Moki. If you fear several hundred foot drop offs with no guard rails on gravel/dirt/mud roads with narrow hairpin turns, then skip Moki Dugway. If you want fantastic views and a bit of an adrenalin rush, go for it. We went for it and encountered a few spots that were a bit slipery where the sun hadn’t reached the road so they were still wet, but both cars made it safely back to paved road. Then it was on to Mexican Hat for a night at the San Juan Inn. This was a very basic motel, clean, fantastic location on the San Juan river, but small, tired rooms. We met a couple there who had come up from Kayenta, AZ where they had reservations, but the snow was so bad there it had knocked out the electricity and the motel could not check them in and said it might be 12 hours before they got it back. Ah, spring in the southwest.

May 3: After breakfast we said goodby to our friends who were heading back to LA through snow covered Monument Valley (they said the roads were fine and the valley was spectacular with the contrast between the snow and the monuments). We headed to Goosenecks of the San Juan SP for some pictures then through Valley of the Gods. VOG was very nice, the road could benefit from a pass with a grader, but there were only two water filled low spots, 4-6 inches and not two wide, but I was glad we had the Jeep. From there we headed east on 160, stopped at Sand Island for more petroglyphs then as it was afternoon we were close to Mesa Verde, so we decided to revisit it and inquire about lodging there. They had a room at Far View Lodge for us, so we took it and did a ride out along the Mesa top loop for some afternoon shots of the ruins. The road in was having work done, so we had to wait for a lead car in a couple of one lane areas. Had a very nice dinner at the dining room (Metate Room) at Far View that evening.

May 4: Nice breakfast buffet in the Metate Room, I think they offered it because other places were not open yet and they had a group of elderhostel folks there that morning. We then drove a bit through the park before headin out. Stopped for construction on the way out then continued east on 160. Unfortunately, the ruins at Chimney Rock State Park were not open yet, so we could not visit there, but the secenery along the way was very nice and going over the mountain passes was beautiful. There was plenty of snow on the mountains, but roads were clear, only icy in the tunnels. Made it to Pueblo for the night .

May 5: Got a lazy start, headed to Denver for our flight out. Stopped at a Wallmart to get the digital pictures printed and CD s made. Not enough time for the film to be done before we flew home so those will have to wait for later. Home before 2 am, tired and happy.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 09:06 AM
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Thanks for the report...sounds like a great trip!
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Old May 10th, 2010, 04:37 PM
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Great trip, crazy weather, looks like mid 80s this weekend in Moab, so why did we get snow?
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Old May 10th, 2010, 05:10 PM
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emalloy,

It's just called springtime in the Rockies! Yesterday it was almost 60 in Park City and 70 in Salt Lake. Tee shirt weather. Today it's raining, Park City is barely 40, Snowbird is expected to get over a foot of new snow, and this weekend it's supposed to be 77 in Salt Lake.

People here like to brag that they ski powder in the morning and golf in the afternoon. And, that's exactly right.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 06:28 PM
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Nice pics. We have done a lot of this area over the past 2 or 3 years. Don't know if you have ever done The Great Gallery, not far from Goblin Valley, but it is has a lot of Petroglyphs. I haven't done Sego Canyon, those were nice. We did the Moki, I would hate to be on that with snow. I thought the goosenecks were pretty cool. Muley Point didn't do much for me. I thought the food at Far View was really good.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 06:48 PM
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We have considered The Great Gallery, but have chickened out with the thoughts of climbing out through the sand and up the cliff after hiking in. If there were outfitters who would go down through the maze to the bottom of the canyon so you would only have to hike on the bottom, we would consider it. Should have done this years ago. We were really knocked out by the petroglyphs in Dinosaur NP though. We too were surprised by how good the food was for a National Park.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 02:59 AM
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We probably crossed each other in MOAB! We also saw the Petroglyphs along the Colorado/Green River area! Went to Arches and Canyonlands!

Sounds like an amazing trip! MOAB had great weather when we were there! Looks like we went in right after you..
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Old May 11th, 2010, 03:25 AM
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The climb out really isn't that bad. They do a ranger-led hike every Saturday. The hiking through the sand is a little tiring.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 03:26 AM
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I haven't been to Dinosaur, but it does look neat. Thanks for the report.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 03:51 AM
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emalloy,
Thanks for the report. Sounds like a fun trip. The Great Gallery is awesome but the hike can be challenging even though it isn't very long - just incredibly hot. I believe that the Canyonland rangers lead a hike each week into the Gallery during summer months. It is worth the hard work.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 03:53 AM
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Considering that we didn't get to see the dinosaurs at Dinosaur, the rock art made the trip very worthwhile. We're living at sea level and are 68 + and 70 + yrs old and hiking above 5000 feet is a challenge since we usually have only a week or so at a time and just start to acclimate when we have to go home. Maybe when/if DH retires we can take the time to do the trip without having to be hauled out on a stretcher.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2010, 05:03 AM
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I've finally finished loading the pictures from the trip for anyone interested at www.flickr.com/photos/emalloy2009/sets in the 2010 set. Some of the dates on the pictures are wrong because the camera was reset wrong. They are in the order that they were taken now.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2010, 08:27 AM
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Thanks for sharing...pictures always bring a trip report to life...I can't wait to return to the area.
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