Friday, May 31, 2013

Grand Junction, CO

I had a few days between my Moab, UT and Zion National Park reservations.  I decided to go a bit out of the way and go to Grand Junction, CO.  I wanted to visit the Colorado National Monument and also be in a town that had a decent size grocery store!!  I was there at the end of April. 

The first day I was there, I headed to the Monument.  There are 2 tunnels carved into the rock that have a 10’ 6” Clearance or at least that’s what the sign says.  I think I saw some RVs in the campground that were taller than that, but I don’t think I would take a chance!   My guess is 10’ 6” is at the edges of the tunnel, the middle of the tunnel was probably a couple of feet higher.  

Above is the Independence Monument.  Below are some climbers on top of the rock and one almost at the top.  It was a long way up for them!

While in the park, I walked a few short trails close to the rim.  I enjoyed watching some birds enjoying the winds that were blowing like crazy.  I finally saw one that was still long enough for me to get a photo.  I believe it is a Violet-Green Swallow. 

Other Views from Colorado National Monument -

Above is a view of the Coke Ovens.  On my second day, I did the scenic drive again and at the parking lot for this overlook were a few search and rescue trucks and lots of other cars and trucks.  Someone must have been lost or hurt or a training was going on.  I hope it was a training, but it made me think about how easy it is to get hurt on some of these trails.  

Also on my second day, I enjoyed going to Walmart since there is no Walmart in South Eastern Utah!  From here I headed back across Utah to Zion National Park.  

Note – I am extremely behind in blogging.  I am currently in Huntington State Park in Utah and I have internet through my Verizon wireless card.  For the last 2 weeks, I was in Torrey, UT.  At that campground my wireless card could not pick up anything and the wireless (from My location) was not great.  Anyway – enough with the excuses.  I hope to post several blogs in the next few days.  But in an hour or so, I am off to 9-mile canyon to see a bunch of pictographs and petroglyphs. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Moab, misc–Part 2

Note – this is my third post of the day, so if you typically only read the last one – read all 3!

One day, I did a scenic drive down Utah 128 and saw several National Forest Campgrounds.  Then I headed west on I-70 and went to Sego Canyon.  This is a small canyon with many petroglyphs and pictographs.   They (whoever estimates the age of the rock art) believe this site was used over a period of 3,000 years. 

This panel was mostly pictographs (painted rather than etched/carved). 

The more recent ones are petroglyphs (etched and carved) -

I don’t always read the informational signs, but I am glad I did as I would have missed the pictographs on the above panel.  You can just make out the red characters above and under the top row of petroglyphs.  They are a little easier to see below. 

Then around the corner are much older pictographs.

Another informational sign mentioned that down the road on private property were many more pictographs.  I headed down the road and trespassed for a few minutes.  (it was obvious that many other people had been there before me!)


The ones above were beneath a ledge and had not faded as much as many of the others.

After seeing the rock art, I went dinosaur hunting.  My first stop was Copper Ridge were there are 2 different types of dino footprints.  Unfortunately I was there when the sun was directly overhead, so some of the footprints don’t look as good in pictures as in real life.  For the future, visit locations like this early the morning or late in the afternoon.  The shadows in the footprint make it show up in photos.


The footprints above were made by a sauropod, possibly a Camarasaurus, weighing close to 18 tons!!   His foot is just slightly larger than mine.  

The one above is the one that is hard to see, but you can make out 2 toenails or claws,  which are about half the size of my foot.  This was probably an Allosaurus, who was a hunter and could travel up to 30 MPH.   It was interesting looking around thinking about the dinosaurs that roamed around this area. 

Next I went to the Dinosaur Trail at Miller canyon.  Here there are many fossilized dino bones and some great views.

Another hike I did was to Corona Arch.  This was a great hike to probably my favorite arch so far.    There were a couple of very steep sections to the trail, including the section below where they had cut footholes in the rock.  These people were coming down and this is where I learned that it was easier to go down backwards. 

There are 2 arches above.  Corona Arch is the one on the right, Bowtie arch is just to the left of the center of the photo.   While I went under Corona Arch, like the people you can just make out in the above photo,  my favorite view was from around the canyon corner where I found a great rock to enjoy my lunch. 

Closer views of Corona -

and Bowtie - The trailhead sign had a warning that I wasn’t sure what they were talking about.  But it was basically saying that if something happened to you while you were there it was your responsibility.  I wish I had taken a picture of it, because it said something like accident or death.  I later learned that this arch is famous on You Tube ( for videos of people swinging from the arch.  (there are other You Tube videos about Corona, but the one above is the one that started it all – I think!) Just weeks before I was there, someone was killed swinging from a rope that was too long.  In one of the videos I looked at they first swung a weighted backpack to make sure everything was ok.  I don’t think I would swing, but I like the test swing idea!

From Moab, I took a short break from Utah and headed to Grand  Junction, CO.

Moab, misc–Part 1

When I was here before all I did were the parks, but there are so many other things to do within an hour or 2 of Moab. 

One day, I drove to several Rock Art locations.  I had picked up the “Moab Area Rock Art Auto Tour” brochure from the visitor center. 

The first place I visited was the Golf Course Rock Art panel.  This was just a short drive from my campground.  Interesting characters --

I also drove down the Utah Scenic Byway 279, where there is not only Rock Art sites but other interesting things to see.  The petroglyphs date from AD 1 to AD 1275. 

The above looked like paper doll cutouts.  The petroglyph below is a large bear, with a couple of hunters  and big horn sheep around him.

On this drive the river is on one side of the road and the cliffs on the other side.  This is a very popular are for rock climbers.

Further up the road, I saw some fossilized Dinosaur Tracks. The footprints are slightly smaller than a human’s head.    While I am not into dinosaurs, I found the tracks very interesting.

I also went down Kane Creek, where there are several locations with petroglyphs.  My first stop was at Moon Flower Canyon.  The petroglyphs were ok, but this is what caught my attention--

The bottom picture is looking up the crack in the rock, which you can see in the top picture.   There are 5 or 6 logs in the crack.  Looking at the top of the bottom picture you can see the log are zig zag like.   The sign said “Historically, and prehistorically, this method was used by local inhabitants for gaining access to higher areas”.  I’m not exactly sure what prehistorically means, but I thought it was a smart way to get up the cliff.   I have since seen on the web that people still use these logs to get up the cliff.  (Link to log climbers and moonflower canyon)

Continuing on down the road, I saw several places where someone had created large holes in the rock.  In one, it looked like they were creating a house.  They were working on this one and I thought that perhaps the house you can see is the front of another hole.

Continuing down Kane Creek road, I ended up on a dirt road going through a canyon.  It was a beautiful drive.

I got to where I was headed.  I had read about a rock with petroglyphs on 4 sides.  The rock was in a pretty canyon.

On the left side of the rock, you can see a birthing scene.

In my Arches blog, I mentioned that one day we had snow.  While RVs with slides may have more room, the slides can be problematic.  Twice in the last couple of months I have seen slides not sliding in correctly.  Then my neighbor was leaving the day of the snow, but the snow caused him a problem.  He had to get the snow off the slide before sliding it in.

Another reason not to have a slide!!

Someone in the group above made the snowman below on their picnic table.  I’m not sure if it is a Mexican snowman or a cowboy snowman.  I am leaning towards a snowman in a sombrero.  It was only about 12 inches tall, but I thought he was cute.

I am trying not to eat out too much, but had heard good reviews about the following place.

I ended up getting quesadillas from here twice.  They were very good!

Moab–Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point State Park

If you have been to Canyonlands National Park before, you may remember that there are 3 different sections to the park – Needles, Islands in the Sky and the Maze.  This trip, I went to the Needles and Islands in the Sky. 

My first full day in Moab, I drove down to the Needles section.  On my way there, I stopped at Newspaper Rock, which is a petroglyph panel.  They believe it has about 2000 years worth of petroglyphs on it, dating from BC time to AD 1300. 

Note the feet in the above picture. I had to include this since I sometimes post pictures of my foot on the blog.

From a roadside overlook, I saw the Wooden Shoe Arch and other interesting formations.

Then I went for a hike on the Slickrock Foot Trail.  I enjoyed this trail and scenery very much, until the wind picked up.  Towards the end of my hike we were having 30 – 40 mph gust, which makes for an interesting walk!

Note the small arch in the picture above!

A few days later, I went to the Islands in the Sky section of Canyonlands.  Below are a few pictures from some of the overlooks. 

I had heard that the view at Mesa Arch was spectacular at sunrise.  I used to get up very early, but these days getting up and being about 45 minutes away from my campsite by sunrise sounded way too early!!  I got to the trailhead about 1.5 hours after sunrise and took the very short walk to the arch. 

I visited Dead Horse Point one day and did a short walk along the rim trail.

When we visited Moab in 1999, we went on a jeep tour through part of the Maze.  I’m glad we did because the path we took is no longer accessible by jeep trail and we saw some arches that now requires about a 20 mile hike.  I am looking forward to looking at my photos from that trip when I get back to Georgia later this year.