Monday, May 23, 2016

Utah Highway 12 from Torrey to Escalante

Today was another road trip day.  This one was from Torrey to the Town of Escalante.  The trip over Utah 12 with all the side roads took us all day and it was about 150 miles round trip.  To get there we had to climb to an elevation of 9600 feet with numerous grades up to 14% with several hills in the 8 and 10% grades.  This trip was just a very small part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
This is a typical view while traveling on Hwy 12, some red but mostly a lighter color stone.

Another area with more Utah red with some of the spring green showing.

A view of Calf creek downstream from the campground of the same name.

If you click on the picture and enlarge it you can see on the far side of the creek the hiking trail.  You  can see at on the bottom of the picture a critter trail. 
We found a back country dirt road that called us to see where it went.  Thinking it went back to the highway we kept going and going until it came to an abrupt end out in the desert.  We saw what could be an interesting rock formation so it was off on foot to see what we could find.

After a short hike we found what was a very unique formation.  Dick sent Jackie up to stand between two of the columns.  This is as far as he could get her to go, until he got closer and...
...looking through the columns we realized that it was about a 1000 feet shear drop off.
This is another one of those shots that it's very hard to shoot and see such a huge area and how much lower it is than where we are standing.

Way down below you can see where the river has turned some of the area to a green string across the rock hills.
Yes Dick is sitting on the edge of a 1000 foot drop off into the huge valley below.
On the way back to the truck we ran across this dead Juniper tree.  We have seen lots of Junipers but think this is the largest we have ever found.
While in the town of Escalante we ran across a house where the owner has made a scale model of a mining town to share with the local children.  While taking some pictures the owner came out to visit with us and share the history of his property.  Then he took us thru his yard showing us all the old historical items he has collected over the years.
This is a original hand cart that a family pulled and pushed across half the Country to get to Utah.  He had to cut off most of the handles to fit into his display area.  Along with the cart were numerous pieces of old farm implements. 

His yard was also filled with rocks that he has collected for most of his life.  He has no idea what the rocks are only that if he liked it he brought it home to set out in his yard.  We spent an hour walking with him as he shared his life time collection of history.
To be continued...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Camping and rockhounding Green River Utah

Last week we had 5 days off from our camp host duties at Capitol Reef National Park so we headed out for a camping trip 10 miles north of Green River Utah at Lower Gray Canyon Camp ground.
We set up at about the only site that we could fit into right on the river.

We had a beautiful view from all directions.  The weather was in the low to mid 80s and our solar worked 100%.  A fire in the evening with roasted marshmallows over the hot coals was great. 
We spent 3 days just out in the desert and here are a very few of the things that we found out there.
Like cactus blooming in several colors.
Fields and fields of orange flowers with the snow capped mountains in the distance.

One little patch of yellow flowers trying to grow and stay alive in the red rock.
Strange looking red rock formations.

Little flowers growing up through the agates.
A view across a deep and wide desert valley.  I think Dick is standing a little close to the edge.  Good shot Jackie.
One of the reasons for the trip was to find some pretty rocks so off we went hiking into the desert and with luck we found several areas where we could collect agate and a little jasper.  This is what it looks like sitting on the ground ready to be picked up.  White and red along with lots of clear with and without bright red drops called pigeon blood.
Picked up some large pieces of agate to share with my sister and her husband,  Try and put one of these in a bowl on your kitchen counter.  They are shown sitting on our tailgate.
and here is what it looks like back home washed off and spread out on the picnic table.

Another batch

And a little jasper on the left next to some more agate.
To be continued...