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Old 08-12-2018, 06:11 PM   #1
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July 2018 Trip AZ,UT,CO (Picture Heavy)

Hello from Chris and Bev. This is a description of our trip to Arizona, Utah and a bit of Colorado from July 7-20, 2018.
Day 1-2

We started out from San Diego on the morning of July 7 and headed out I-8 and up through Phoenix to finally end up at the Potato Patch campground in the Prescott National Forest above Jerome. The second day we went down to Clarkdale where we had reservations to take the excursion train which runs up the Verde River gorge. Our ride didnít start until 1 PM so to fill the time we went exploring on some dirt roads which parallel the river on the opposite side from the railroad. From here we could see portions of the railroad including some bridges. After that we visited Tuzigoot national Monument. The railroad follows the Verde River and is about 20 miles out and back and takes about 4 hours. Along the way one passes cliff dwellings and spectacular scenery. After completing that we headed up to a National Forest campground just outside of Sunset Crater National Monument.


To be continued...
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:15 PM   #2
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The 3rd day we headed up towards Utah driving up highway 89 and then up through Kayenta and Monument Valley. We took a side trip over to Mexican Hat and went down to the San Juan River and put our feet in the river to cool off. After that we headed over to Valley of the Gods where we camped for the night. Coming out of there we then took a side trip to Goose Necks State Park.



To be continued...
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:21 PM   #3
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After leaving there we passed through Bluff and continued over to Hovenweep National Monument to see Ancestral Puebloan ruins. We took a 2-mile hike near the visitor center which goes around and down into a canyon just loaded with ruins. Some of the masonry work here is amazing and very spectacular. We looked for a dispersed campsite and found a spectacular place but we were the tallest thing around and the time between lightening and thunder was rapidly heading down to zero so chose to go back to the established park campground where we were no longer as vulnerable to the lightening. The next day we headed on up the road and found a side dirt road which took up out about 5 miles to the head of canyon where there were more ruins. This area is just crawling with ruins.


To be continued...
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:27 PM   #4
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By this point we were into Colorado and rather than backtracking we continued on up. That night we boondocked along the Dolores River in the Lone Dome State Wildlife Area. The next day we headed back into Utah and stopped at a visitor information center in Monticello. Here they told us about Montezuma Canyon which starts about 5 miles south of Monticello. Here we saw steps chipped into the canyon walls, modern cliff cave dwellers, more ruins, stairs up the rock wall from uranium miners and old rock art. Those most interesting of these being a drawing which appears to show the arrival of white pioneers to the area. After leaving Montezuma Canyon we popped out near Blanding and headed over to Comb Wash where we boondock camped for the night across from the cliffs and under a nice shady cottonwood. On the way in we crossed and drove through the dry wash. That evening we had spectacular thunder storms and rain surrounding us. The next morning the washes we no longer dry and down the road a way we had to ford a stream about hub deep. Along the way to here we passed several rocks with Petroglyphs on them. We also passed a cabin left over from the days of ranching in the area.


To be continued...
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:33 PM   #5
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After coming out of there we stopped near Bluff and visited the Sand Island Petroglyph site where there are about 100 yards of rock face with petroglyphs. We passed through Bluff (again) and headed up to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.

On the way in we pass Newspaper rock where there are 3000 years worth of rock art. We stopped at a private campground just outside the park to but a shower, $6 for 5 minutes. Money well spent. The next day went and had a look at the base of the Elephant Trail and did some hiking over several slick rock trails. The second trail had lots of depressions which might fill up after rain storms. We hiked a trail which took up past a cowboy camp tucked into a cave along with more examples of rock art. We then did a seven mile drive out to an overlook of the Colorado River. The last 2 miles or so was over slick rock. We actually stopped short of the overlook and I walked the last ĺ mile or so. We spent another night at the park campground after getting back from that. While there we had a spectacular thunderstorm which had water pouring down from the rim rock and thunder following immediately after lightening. After the most violent part of the storm passed but it still drizzling we went for a stroll and say the most spectacular double rainbow Iíve ever seen. A full 180 degrees. Unfortunately, the camera was back in the van and it is only recorded in my memory. We went back the next morning a revisited the area with sandstone pot holes and they were filled with water. I expect that if we waited around long enough some of them would have been teeming with life.


To be continued...
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:38 PM   #6
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We then headed on up to the Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands. Along the way we drove out to the Needles Overlook. Spectacular views. We continued on up to Canyonlands where we camped there two nights. We shared our campsite the second night with a young couple, he from England, she from Holland. While there we went to the overlooks and among other things looked down on the White Rim trail. I’ll have to do that again sometime. We did some hiking there but the temperatures were around 100 degrees so not too far. Leaving there we headed down the Shafer Trail and headed on out to Moab and back south again spending the night at Natural Bridge National Monument.


Too be continued...
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:42 PM   #7
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After leaving there we headed up towards the actual Bears Ears and passed over Bears Ears Pass at 8500 ft. We pulled out on a side trail along the main road and made use of the shower fitting in the back of the van. We went up another side road and found debris from what appeared to be an old logging camp including the remains of several truck pushed over the side into a canyon. We headed down south and picked up a bicyclist in Monument Valley who was pretty much wiped out. Heíd ridden all the way from North Carolina. We gave him a ride to a campground and continues on our way. We camped that night at Navajo National Monument. The next day we headed down through the Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations and headed through Petrified Forest National Park and ended up camping near Flagstaff for our last night. The next day we headed on back down to home in San Diego.
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:50 PM   #8
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Here is the track of our trip.
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Old 08-12-2018, 07:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
After leaving there we passed through Bluff and continued over to Hovenweep National Monument to see Ancestral Puebloan ruins. We took a 2-mile hike near the visitor center which goes around and down into a canyon just loaded with ruins. Some of the masonry work here is amazing and very spectacular. We looked for a dispersed campsite and found a spectacular place but we were the tallest thing around and the time between lightening and thunder was rapidly heading down to zero so chose to go back to the established park campground where we were no longer as vulnerable to the lightening. The next day we headed on up the road and found a side dirt road which took up out about 5 miles to the head of canyon where there were more ruins. This area is just crawling with ruins.
That area's so amazing, esp with the spectacular weather. I slept in the drivers seat (ouch!) of my Honda Accord (car was packed) at our Hovenweep campsite when the storm not only interrupted the evening Park Ranger talk, but then sat over the area for several hours with real close lightning, rather than blow through like we thought it would.

Thanks for posting such great pictures and other good options for when I get back to that area.
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:20 PM   #10
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Nice trip report, thanks for posting. Just curious about the average day and night temps you were exposed to? I'd think that time of year would be a bit toasty.
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