Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 10-30-2009, 10:32 AM   #21
Site Team
 
Ford_6L_E350's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Washington - Ridgefield
Posts: 4,725
Re: Colorado Plateau Parks Tour - Fall 2009

For most Americans it is the annual two week vacation. I was always the exception - much to my boss's chagrin. For my 30 years with the same company, I always took my vacation (it grew from 2 to 3 to 4, 5 and finally 6 weeks) in one large chunk. For the last 10 or so years it was a 6 week trip. Maybe that is why I was in a group of 5 that was laid off.

Mike
__________________

__________________
SOLD04 EB350 Custom Floorplan
6.0 PSD 4.10 Posi
Salem Kroger coil spring 4wd
SMB Trailer w/AT Air Suspension
Alaska to Key West, Labrador and more
130685 miles 16.65 mpg average

Prostate cancer survivor. viewtopic.php?f=8&t=11099
2015 VW GTI
Leaving CA for WA
Ford_6L_E350 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2009, 08:27 AM   #22
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Helena, Montana
Posts: 613
Re: Colorado Plateau Parks Tour - Fall 2009

Mike, I have to chuckle at your vacation story. Back in 1969 when I first visited this part of the Southwest, we were on a ten week vacation with my oldest brother-in-law. He had just completed ten years at US Steel in Pittsburgh and was rewarded with ten weeks of annual vacation. A month after he got back, he was laid off permanently. He always joked "Ten years of work, ten weeks of vacation, GOODBYE!"
__________________

__________________
2006 Baja Tan SMB 4X4 EB50 PH 6LPSD
Mohawk Royalex Solo 14 foot canoe (light white-water)
Mad River Kevlar Explorer 17 foot canoe (flat water)
Dagger Royalex Legend 16 foot canoe (white-water)
Maravia New Wave 13.5 foot raft (fishing and white-water)
Ed in Montana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2009, 08:30 AM   #23
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Helena, Montana
Posts: 613
Re: Colorado Plateau Parks Tour - Fall 2009

DAY TEN Ė MONDAY
PAGE. AZ TO NORTH RIM GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK


Monday morning brings cooler weather here at 4,000 feet, but with much less wind. In fact there is barely a breeze. No blowing dust and patches of green grass makes the yellow labradog very happy.

We pack up in a novel way this time. Our room is on the bottom floor of the four story motel with a window just a couple of parking places down from our Sportsmobile. Rather than disturbing the labradogs by going in and out of the motel room door, and hiking down the hallway to the exit and then thru the parking lot, we just heave the duffel bags of washed clothes out the open window next to the Sporty. I will have to ask for a ground floor room more often.


First off we drive downhill crossing the Colorado River and its deep canyon on the huge arched bridge to the Glen Canyon Dam Visitor Center.



The last time I had been here was over forty years ago in June 1969 as a teenager on my first trip out west from Pennsylvania, visiting as many national parks and landmarks as we could reach. An enthusiastic Bureau of Reclamation engineer took me on tour of the great dam from the rim to the powerhouse deep in the canyon.





Surprisingly, Lake Powell behind the dam is no more full today than it was forty years ago, just 62% of full pool as the BuRec guide tells us in the visitor center. The prolonged drought in the Southwest has made it increasingly difficult to fill both Lake Powell and Lake Meade behind Hoover Dam. According to the fine display on the drought in the visitor center, Lake Powell has only been filled twice in its near 50 year history; once in the early 1980s with the huge flood year of 1983, and again in the early 1990s. There simply isnít enough water in the Colorado River to go around for all that want to use it. You can see the tall ďbathtub ringĒ on the walls of the canyon behind the dam.




As much as I dislike the BuRec and their big dam ideology, I have to give them credit for the honest display on the drought and for carrying a good collection of Edward Abbey books in the visitor. Now thatís real freedom of speech; carrying books from a staunch advocate of removing the dam at the damís visitor center.

Leaving the dam we head to the local Safeway to resupply. The rental RV folks meet us there with a fixed electrical system. It appears that the solenoid connecting the engine battery with the RV coach batteries failed, and once the RV batteries ran out there was no means to recharge them. John and the expedition wine glass washer should have light and heat again at night as we travel up to the colder reaches of the North Rim.


We head downhill on the spectacular drive out of Page to Lees Ferry on the Colorado River in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. US89 descends the Echo Cliffs and intersects ALT US89, where we turn north to Lees Ferry. We had been here once before in September 2001 on our ill-fated raft trip through the Grand Canyon (long story). It is very beautiful with expansive views as the Colorado exits Glen Canyon and enters Marble Canyon, the actual start of the Grand Canyon. Lunch is at the mostly deserted car campground on a bluff above the river.





It is nice and warm here nearly 70 degrees F at around 3,300 feet and we debate what to do about camping on the North Rim. Our reservations at the popular North Rim campground are for three nights, but the weather reports are for cool and even snowy weather up there at 8,500 feet. One of the reasons of taking a Fall trip in the Southwest was to extend our brief Montana summer camping season, and not to get into an early Winter! Eventually we decide to give the North Rim a try and head up, although it is difficult to leave the warmth and scenery of Lees Ferry.




The highway heads west past the Vermillion Cliffs and up and up to Jacob Lake on the Kaibab Plateau. The heavily loaded SMB chugs along between 45-55mph steeply uphill, and we get passed by a few small cars racing around the blind corners of the highway. At Jacob Lake the route turns south on the Kaibab Plateau-North Rim Parkway. Thereís a lot of recently burned forest along the parkway here at nearly 9,000 feet, and news reports have a forest fire kicking up smoke on the South Rim just across from us.

The parkway hits the highpoint of the plateau and descends into Grand Canyon National Park. The ranger at the entrance station says that it will be cold with freezing temperatures at night, but we have become used to not filling the vanís fresh water tank to avoid busting pipes.

Just after the entrance station we pass a small herd of bison grazing in one of the many meadows. Later on, I read that bison are not native to the Kaibab Plateau area, but were introduced in the 1930s in the House Rock Valley to the east on a private hunting ranch. Whatever the case, they are pretty rugged creatures to survive up here in the winter.

It looks like we are a little too late in the season to see the best Fall color in the aspen forests surrounding the Kaibabís meadows. The early cold snap and storms have knocked most of the leaves off of the trees already. Still as we approach the North Rim campground, there are still a few individual aspens lighting up the dark pine forest with their brilliant gold color.



After checking in and grabbing our campsites, we decide to take a short hike before dinner. The labradogs are allowed along the 2 Ĺ mile bridal trail connecting the campground with the North Rim Lodge and visitor center, so we take off in that direction. It is cool but not too cold yet this time in the late afternoon, and the sunlight in the dark forest along the trail is very pretty.

Reaching the visitor center, the Expedition Photographer and rental RV folks go on to the North Rim overlook, while I and the labradogs hurry back to the campground to start a fire for dinner. Thereís been almost no place to grill on an open fire this trip, so Iím looking forward to trying something other than using the propane Weber grill for cooking. I get a decent fire going with a mix of charcoal and fire wood, and get a large beef tri-tip on the grate, just as the wind picks up for the evening. Two hours later we are ready for dinner, with the rare tri-tip both charred and almost freezer burned from the sharp cold wind. Thank god the rental RV is fixed and we can dine in a warm place this evening.
__________________
2006 Baja Tan SMB 4X4 EB50 PH 6LPSD
Mohawk Royalex Solo 14 foot canoe (light white-water)
Mad River Kevlar Explorer 17 foot canoe (flat water)
Dagger Royalex Legend 16 foot canoe (white-water)
Maravia New Wave 13.5 foot raft (fishing and white-water)
Ed in Montana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2009, 08:55 AM   #24
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Helena, Montana
Posts: 613
Re: Colorado Plateau Parks Tour - Fall 2009

DAY ELEVEN Ė TUESDAY
NORTH RIM GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK


Another chilly morning near freezing as me and the yellow labradog continue the eternal search for a patch of grass. Luckily there are a few patches up here at 8,000 feet under the towering pines at the rim of the canyon. Today we are going to do a short drive out to the Cape Royal on the Walhalla Plateau to the east, another area we didnít get a chance to visit when we came through in 2001. But first another morning ritual must be completed.

I walk over to the rental RV where the expedition wine glass washer has finished washing last nightís wine glasses. The four ďOĒ style stemless glasses are replaced in their box which I dutifully take back to the Sporty for storage. This evening the trek will be reversed as we take them out of storage for the evening and bring them over for dinner. I have always carried plastic wineglasses, until I was shamed by our friend the Sommelier, who says that just because you are camping doesnít mean that you canít have class, and always brings glass wine glasses. He also brings some of the best wines for camping that I have ever tasted. Like a magnum of California pinot noir served with cedar planked salmon from a trip last July.

The Canyon from the Transept Overlook at the campground.




Us four humans and two labradogs pile into the Sportsmobile for todayís tour, starting off with the short trail to Bright Angel Point next to the North Rim Visitor center.

The popular trail is partially filled with tourists and wanders along the quarter mile knife edge of the ridge extending to the southeast of the lodge. The views of Roaring Springs Canyon on the east and the main Grand Canyon on the west are stunning.





One guy stands in the middle of the narrow trail shouting into his cell phone ďGuess where I am? He says, ďIím standing on the north rim staring at the Grand Canyon!Ē No you are not I think. You are standing in the middle of the trail blocking traffic while bellowing into your cell phone. I canít believe national parks have started to offer cell phone coverage. I am further horrified to find signs promoting a geology talk accessible from your cell phone along the trail so that you can better understand the canyonís rocks. Yes, while you trip and fall several thousand feet over the edge because you have you cell phone screwed into your ear. Calling 911 wonít help you then!


Back at the visitor center, I pick up a copy of the new Harvey Butchart biography.


http://www.amazon.com/Grand-Obsession-H ... 208&sr=1-1


Harvey Butchart, who passed away in 2002, was a math professor from the college in Flagstaff that spent forty years exploring every corner of the Grand Canyon, doing incredibly difficult hikes, mostly on weekends, and recording them all in his journals. Although he was certainly the first white person to visit much of the nearly inaccessible places throughout the canyon, amazingly he found signs that Native Americans had been there long before him. The interesting tale of Harveyís life won the 2008 National Outdoor Book Award for biography.

Back in the Sportsmobile, we head southeast up on the Walhalla Plateau. I find this narrow winding road with no shoulders to be an irritating drive in the broad Sporty, since my eyes need to be glued to the road while watching for careless oncoming traffic driving down the middle. I take every opportunity to stop at the infrequent overlooks, starting with La Vista Encantada for lunch. Itís pretty chilly picnicking in the weak sunshine with a light breeze.

At the Walhalla overlook, the crew tours a ruin at the edge of the plateau. The ancient native Americans used to farm here at over 8,000 feet near the edge of the plateau to take advantage of warm breezes blowing up from the canyon bottom. Pretty amazing.




Looking closer I can see several rapids on the Colorado River to the southeast. Later, when I can zoom into the photo, I find bright yellow rafts from a private party floating the river above Unkar Rapid.






Having rafted the canyon at this time of year, I donít envy them having to make lots of river miles in the limited amount of daylight available past the autumnal equinox at the bottom of the canyon. There are really three different Grand Canyon experiences, rafting the Colorado through the canyon depths, hiking the vast areas above the river along with the extensive side canyons, and peering down from rim at the canyon, like we are doing now. I hiked to the bottom back in 1969, floated the river in 2001, but have done very few tourista things on the rims such as we are doing today.


At the southern end of the plateau at Cape Royal tourists clamber over the narrow bridge above Angels Window.




You can see the Colorado River through the window, which is hard to see from most places along the rim.



It is amazing that more tourists donít die each year from falls at the Grand Canyon. Several people ignore the fences and handrails at Cape Royal and jump over them to lean into the thousand-foot plus void for better pictures. I try to avoid the void watchers and stay back from the edge while they click away with their cameras. Thereís a lot of rock and space down there.





Wutans Throne (on the left) is one of the larger canyon buttes unconnected to the rims. When it was first climbed in 1937, a difficult feat at the time, the climbers found small ruins on the top of the butte.




Back at the North Rim campground later in the evening, I try outdoor grilling on an open fire again, this time with more success. A fresh bag of charcoal, no wind and some aluminum foil over the chicken does the trick in less than half the time of last nightís dinner.
__________________
2006 Baja Tan SMB 4X4 EB50 PH 6LPSD
Mohawk Royalex Solo 14 foot canoe (light white-water)
Mad River Kevlar Explorer 17 foot canoe (flat water)
Dagger Royalex Legend 16 foot canoe (white-water)
Maravia New Wave 13.5 foot raft (fishing and white-water)
Ed in Montana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2009, 10:24 AM   #25
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Helena, Montana
Posts: 613
Re: Colorado Plateau Parks Tour - Fall 2009

DAY TWELVE Ė WEDNESDAY
NORTH RIM GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK TO LEES FERRY, AZ


This morningís predawn dog walk features freezing slush on the ground and falling from the sky. Later on after breakfast, the slush has melted everywhere but on the camp chairs that were left out. I walk over to the rental RV to complete the morning wine glass transfer, and tell them of the early morning snowfall. ďIím sorry I missed it!Ē the wine glass washer exclaims.

We have one more night reserved here at the North Rim, but the forecast is grim and we have had too many cold nights on this desert trip so far. We decide to bail and retreat to a lower elevation at Lees Ferry.

The SMB is packed up and on the road by mid-morning, and we leave the rental RV folks behind for now as they do a few more chores and take showers. Going north and climbing back up to the height of the Kaibab Plateau, the weather deteriorates markedly, with the occasional snow shower turning into heavy snowfall with reduced visibility. Luckily, the roads are just wet and not icy, yet. The North Rim campground will remain open for one more week, but you can see the end of the camping season up here coming fast.

Driving down off the plateau to the east, we descend out of the clouds into the House Rock Valley. Itís cloudy but much warmer and drier down here.



We return to Lees Ferry campground in the Glen Canyon NRA, grab a couple of sites and have that unusual trip moment of having nothing scheduled to do.



The humans spend the warm afternoon cleaning and reorganizing the van, while the labradogs know what to do, take another nap.



One of the challenges is to stow all the books and maps Iíve bought on this trip. As a professional cartographer, Iím required to purchase maps along the way and this trip has accumulated more than a few. With the disappearance of local bookstores, park visitor centers have become some of the few places featuring books on the local geography. As a result we have a couple of dozen new books; biographies, photographic coffee table texts and guide books. Most get crammed in the back under the bed, while leaving just a few out to be read on the rest of the journey.

Thereís a good view of the Paria Riffle from our campsite, the first of more than 250 rapids along the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. I had thought this number to be an exaggeration, but after rowing the canyon in our old 17 foot cataraft, I believe it may be an undercount.





The North Carolinians, having survived the snowfall, catch up to us in late afternoon, and we decide to poke around Lees Ferry before heading out to dinner. The sky is still stormy but some good afternoon lightning is beginning to come out.






At the boat ramp for the put in for the Grand Canyon float are the old buildings comprising the fort at Lees Ferry, that was used to defend the crossing, from whom Iím not sure.







The actual ferry crossing, a cable ferry, was about a mile upstream from the boat ramp. From the mid 1800s until the early 1930s, this was the only crossing of the Colorado River between Hite, Utah and Pierces Ferry, Nevada, a distance of over 350 river miles.





Nearing the end of our trip, we decide to go out for dinner at Lees Ferry Lodge, a real treat after more than a week of cooking dinner every night.

http://vermilioncliffs.com/

The Lodge has a great restaurant for being in the middle of nowhere, featuring many good grilled main dishes and a 200 bottle beer list, all of it cold. A few fake condors peer down from the rafters, the Lodge being near the site of the reintroduction of the California Condors to northern Arizona, which has been a surprising success.

I try their mixed grill special, with Polish Sausage, BBQ chicken and pork ribs. Really, really good, and I didnít have to fight with the campfire this evening. The others have the ribs and order a couple of deserts to go, as we retreat to the campground for the first truly warm evening since Hovenweep.

The moon will rise late tonight, and as it gets dark, the Milky Way Galaxy stretches overhead in the now clear skies. What a visual treat! Later the moon light washes out the stars and lights up the desert flats and canyon walls. The small arroyo in back of the camp is in darkness though, filled with a black so dark that it looks like deep water seen at night. What a way to end a day that started in a snowstorm.
__________________
2006 Baja Tan SMB 4X4 EB50 PH 6LPSD
Mohawk Royalex Solo 14 foot canoe (light white-water)
Mad River Kevlar Explorer 17 foot canoe (flat water)
Dagger Royalex Legend 16 foot canoe (white-water)
Maravia New Wave 13.5 foot raft (fishing and white-water)
Ed in Montana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2009, 10:53 AM   #26
Site Team
 
Ford_6L_E350's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Washington - Ridgefield
Posts: 4,725
Re: Colorado Plateau Parks Tour - Fall 2009

Both the North Rim and Lee's Ferry are on our favorites list. There is a trail that leads up the cliff behind Lee's Ferry. Almost 2000' to the top. From the top you can see the Page Power Plant!

We used to travel in the summer and cursed the Marble Canyon area - the lowest and hottest place around. Traveling in the fall makes it a wonderful place to visit.

Mike
__________________
SOLD04 EB350 Custom Floorplan
6.0 PSD 4.10 Posi
Salem Kroger coil spring 4wd
SMB Trailer w/AT Air Suspension
Alaska to Key West, Labrador and more
130685 miles 16.65 mpg average

Prostate cancer survivor. viewtopic.php?f=8&t=11099
2015 VW GTI
Leaving CA for WA
Ford_6L_E350 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2009, 03:55 PM   #27
Senior Member
 
panion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Tucson
Posts: 183
Re: Colorado Plateau Parks Tour - Fall 2009

Very nice trip report Ed. Thanks for taking the time to do such a great job.

I used to work in the Grand Canyon area, beautiful place.

There are many deaths in the Grand Canyon. A book called Death in the Grand Canyon is an excellent read. Written by a Dr. at the Grand Canyon clinic if I remember correctly. A bit morbid, but very interesting.

tom.
__________________
2001 RB 7.3 Powerstroke 4WD.



http://sportsmobile4x4.blogspot.com/
panion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2009, 04:32 PM   #28
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Helena, Montana
Posts: 613
Re: Colorado Plateau Parks Tour - Fall 2009

DAY THIRTEEN Ė THURSDAY
LEES FERRY, AZ TO KANAB, UT



Beautiful sunrise with orange light on the cliffs to the west of the campground. They are not called the Vermillion Cliffs for nothing. Itís also great to wake up to no snow or howling wind with a miserably low chill factor this early in the Fall season.











This morning we will split up with the North Carolinians as they head south to Flagstaff, the Meteor Crater, Canyon de Chelly National Monument and eventually Denver while we turn north toward Montana and the Sportsmobile home base.

But first we pack up and drive over to tour Lonely Dell Ranch at Lees Ferry. The Lonely Dell Ranch was the homestead for the several families that ran the cable ferry for nearly fifty years. Lees Ferry was so remote that the people here had to be almost completely self sufficient. Very little food and supplies came in for the ferry workers in the early years.

In the early 1930s with the completion of the Navajo Bridge on US Highway 89 across the Colorado downstream of Lees Ferry, the homesteads fell into disrepair. But in recent years, the U.S. National Park Service has been restoring much of the ranch.

One interesting accomplishment has been the restoration of the ranch gardens and the old orchards. The ranch gardens are now filled with heirloom vegetables (corn, tomatoes, squash, beans and melons) that are similar or identical to those raised by the early homesteaders. The Park Service range, Marvin, tells of his search for a tomato that can withstand the searing heat of the Lees Ferry summer. ďMost modern tomato hybrids wonít set fruit above 95 degreesĒ he says, ďand there are many days near 110 here in the summerĒ. Finally, he found an old heirloom species from Kanab that thrived at the high temperatures. ďItís the ugliest tomatoĒ Marvin says ďWith brown warts on a thick skinned and pointy ended oval fruit. But itís one of the best tomatoes I have ever tasted!Ē



Marvin has completely restored a couple of cabins, built out of driftwood that floated down the undammed Colorado River in the old days. There were no local trees to be used for lumber in those days.





Summer days were so hot that the homesteaders would rest for part of the searing afternoons in the large root cellar.





Today everything is irrigated from water piped upslope from the Colorado River. In the old days, the gardens and orchards were irrigated by gravity fed water coming downstream from the adjacent Paria River, which is actually more of an intermittent stream. When flash floods coming down the Paria filled the irrigation ditches with dirt and debris, all of the homesteaders, men , women and children would come out and work dawn to dusk to dig them out, sometimes taking as long as a week in the roasting heat of summer to restore the water flow. If they did not restore the irrigation water quickly, all the crops and the orchard would die, and Lees Ferry would have to have been abandoned. I donít think farming on the Moon would be much harder.





Itís time for us to abandon Lonely Dell Ranch and say goodbye to the North Carolinians after another enjoyable vacation, our seventh together but our first with a rented RV.

The Sportsmobile crew heads back up the mesa north to Page, Arizona, were we top off the diesel and head toward Kodachrome Basin State Park through Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument. The drive west of Page is peculiar, passing several huge motorboat storage installations for Lake Powell and a couple of forlorn looking vacation subdivisions plopped down in the barren desert landscape.

We stop at the Escalante Grand Staircase NM Visitor Center at Big Water to check out road conditions in the monument, and see these wildflowers (a type of Morning Glory?) blooming next to the parking lot.







The helpful volunteer at the visitor center says the Cottonwood Canyon road is passable to a 4WD Sportsmobile, but is deeply rutted and wash-boarded. The Kane County commissioners, continuing their jihad against the evils of protecting public land, have refused to maintain county roads like Cottonwood Canyon in the monument for several years. Bet they took their federal stimulus money this year though!

I try to refill some of our water containers at the visitor center, but run into a strange situation; the rest area only has very hot water. I give up after filling a couple of steaming quarts, and we drive onward to Cottonwood Canyon.

Reaching the Cottonwood Canyon turnoff, I begin to have second thoughts. Itís 3:30 in the afternoon with 35 miles of slow washboard to drive to Kodachrome Basin, and we only have a couple of gallons of water on board. Thatís enough to dry camp with the humans but not enough for the labradogs if we stop short of the state park. We decide to turn south to White House BLM campground just two miles off of US 89.

This proves to be easier said then done as well. The first mile and a half is slow bone-jarring wash board which puts my teeth on edge and keeps the labradogs awake and crabby. Finally after crossing several dry washes, the small campground comes into view at the base of the large white cliffs. But as we make a slow turn to the west, a long stretch of deep sand fills the track. I get out and lock the hubs and go to 4WD low.

The Sporty makes it a couple of van lengths into the soft sand, and begins to auger in. I could air down the tires, but I have no way of airing back up, having left our compressor at home for this trip. The nearest gas station is 40 to 50 miles west, too long to travel on a paved highway with soft tires.

I carefully back out of the deep sand, turn around and bump our way back over the wash board to the paved highway. We will have to find another place to camp.

Driving west toward Kanab I consult the maps but canít find any place to pull off and camp that has access to water. We zoom past a couple of guys standing next to a silver Sportsmobile pulled off to the side, but donít think of stopping and asking them for advice for some reason.

The next developed campgrounds on public land are an hour or two away north of Kanab, and itís getting late in the afternoon. We decide to divert to an RV park in Kanab, certainly not my first choice of great places to spend the night with RVs packed tightly together on the gravel pads. But it has trees, showers and a doggy park, so it could be worse.



Checking in at the RV park headquarters, an older couple ahead of me asks if the parkís Internet connection is working. It is, and the older guy jokes that he has to check to see if the stock market is down and whether they have any retirement money left. I tell him Iím still on vacation and refuse to pay attention to the market fluctuations and he laughs. ďDonít worry thenĒ he says ďJust pretend that the market is up!Ē

We settle in with pasta and Italian sausage for dinner and get ready for another freezing night.
__________________
2006 Baja Tan SMB 4X4 EB50 PH 6LPSD
Mohawk Royalex Solo 14 foot canoe (light white-water)
Mad River Kevlar Explorer 17 foot canoe (flat water)
Dagger Royalex Legend 16 foot canoe (white-water)
Maravia New Wave 13.5 foot raft (fishing and white-water)
Ed in Montana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2009, 06:37 AM   #29
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Helena, Montana
Posts: 613
Re: Colorado Plateau Parks Tour - Fall 2009

DAY FOURTEEN Ė FRIDAY
KANAB, UT TO POCATELLO, ID


The yellow labradog really appreciates the small grassed expanse of the doggy area at this RV park. But the giant black labradog hates the sharp edges of the new gravel which fills the parkís driveways. He hates it so much that he carefully tip toes on the garden timbers separating the gravel from the plantings going to and from the doggy area. He has great balance for dog approaching the size of small livestock.

We are on the road by 8:30AM headed north on US 89. Itís slower going than on I-15 to the west, but less boring, and we get glimpses of good Fall colors as the road follows several small streams.

In mid-morning, we stop at Piute State Park to stretch our legs, and the four leggeds have a great time running about and trying to roll in the dead fish that litter the shores of the small lake. The Cottonwoods have great color here as well.



We are listening to Ken Burnsí Dayton Duncanís audio book, the National Parks as we go along, and it has great history of some of the parks that we have visited on this trip such as Mesa Verde. I will have to watch the series on DVD when we get home to Montana.

Our route north reaches I-15 at Scipio and after stopping for lunch at Nephi, Utah itís my turn to drive the dreaded Salt Lake City stretch of Interstate. As expected the traffic builds steadily as the highway reaches Provo on this Friday mid-afternoon, and by the time we enter south SLC, all four lanes grind to a halt. It is stop and wait for about two miles for an hour until we reach the scene of a two car accident that has been the cause of the holdup. Finally we reach the western SLC bypass and get around the worst of the traffic and head north to Ogden. The Expedition Photographer takes over driving north of Ogden after I threaten to run over people driving 40 mph in the right lane in heavy traffic while everyone in the passing lane is whizzing past at 70 mph.

The clear warm weather deteriorates north of Ogden and dark storm clouds gather in central Idaho as we reach our destination, a Best Western in Pocatello. The motel stands on a small hill north of downtown and has an amazing view of the sunset over the vast Snake River Plain to the northwest with distant white shining mountains glittering in the slanted sun under thick black clouds.

Dinner is steak takeout from the AppleBees next door as we watch the news on TV for the first time in two weeks.
__________________
2006 Baja Tan SMB 4X4 EB50 PH 6LPSD
Mohawk Royalex Solo 14 foot canoe (light white-water)
Mad River Kevlar Explorer 17 foot canoe (flat water)
Dagger Royalex Legend 16 foot canoe (white-water)
Maravia New Wave 13.5 foot raft (fishing and white-water)
Ed in Montana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2009, 07:27 AM   #30
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Helena, Montana
Posts: 613
Re: Colorado Plateau Parks Tour - Fall 2009

DAY FIFTEEN Ė SATURDAY
POCATELLO, ID TO HELENA, MT


In the morning, thereís still clouds to the north in our direction of travel, but they are not anywhere near as stormy looking as yesterday. We try to grab a quick bite to eat at the motelís breakfast bar, but have to fight our way through two busloads of high school students on a chorale tour to somewhere. And they have drunk all the coffee!

Thereís just a few skiffs of snow along the Interstate in Idaho, as we stop to refuel at the town of Dubois at the southern foot of Monida Pass. On the north side of Monida, the Montana mountains are completely snow covered and thereís six to eight inches of the white stuff covering the valley bottoms. The highway department has obviously plowed the road recently by the looks of the piles of snow in the borrow pits. I have to shake my head in amazement that this is just the first week in October, and not the first week in January.

We stop at the Front Street Market, an Italian grocery in Butte, for pasta, anchovy-stuffed olives, bread and wine, and drive the last stretch of 60 miles of Interstate to Helena.

We reach home at 2:30PM, and check the thermometer. Todayís high temp is 26 degrees F. The dogís water bucket, which I had forgotten to empty two weeks ago, is frozen solid on back deck, indicating that it is been very cold for some time. If the temps had been above freezing for most of the last two weeks, the water would have totally evaporated in this dry climate over that time.

We left fifteen days ago at 95 degrees F, and have returned to a record low on this Saturday night of 9 degrees above zero. We left in late summer, and have returned to mid-winter. What happened to Fall?
__________________

__________________
2006 Baja Tan SMB 4X4 EB50 PH 6LPSD
Mohawk Royalex Solo 14 foot canoe (light white-water)
Mad River Kevlar Explorer 17 foot canoe (flat water)
Dagger Royalex Legend 16 foot canoe (white-water)
Maravia New Wave 13.5 foot raft (fishing and white-water)
Ed in Montana is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:36 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.