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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Grand Tour - Glen Canyon & Grand Staircase Escalante

We had checked out the Glen Canyon Area starting at Big Water with Joanne’s Jeep a few days before but we got to a section of the dirt road that was very muddy, with large ruts, and evidence of others having difficulty passing.  We retreated for the road to dry more before our next assault.

Our travels took us on a lot of washes through scenery that changed often.

We were lucky to be able to complete our 45 mile trip with out having to turn back part way.  After investing a lot of time many miles away from civilization, passing mud and climbing rocks for hours we don’t cherish the thought of retracing our steps.

We even drove on one road up a wash and we finally turned around.  You can see the spur we took on the map above.  

Our drive eventually took us up a wash into higher elevation, climbing 2900 into the mountains.

We passed many rock formations, including the hoodoo above.

The high spot of our trip was Nipple Mt.  At this point we were about 3/4 through our trip, for distance.

Joanne did a great job again going through mud and climbing over rocks.  My job is to do the navigation by following maps.  I down load maps to my phone before we go off cell signal.  Oh, I also get out to open and close all the cattle gates we come across.

At Nipple Mt. we got high enough to get an update on the weather.  There was a slight chance of showers when we left, and showers were headed our way.  The good news from the radar loop they drifted east towards us but the showers were forming on a northeast line so we had some time to get down the mountain through the next wash before it rained here.

Trips like these require planning.  Joanne’s Jerp is high clearance 4x4.  We carry food, water, shelter, compressor, and so on.  We only carry minimal recovery equipment, and therefore we wait for more dry roads with some mud to avoid getting stuck in such a wilderness condition.

Following the weather is always important as rain 20 miles away can still create flash flood where we are.

It’s been great with Joanne’s Jeep to explore places we would never have seen.  Although I have my Tacoma with 4x4, it’s not a Jeep with its clearance and maneuverability.  

The short wheelbase really works out in tight places.


Monday, March 18, 2019

Toadstools And Beyond

There are places I do like going back to see and Toadstools in Utah, Just north of Page, AZ is one of them.  In fact I’ve been here a number of times.  This time I want you to see beyond the toadstools that are the focus of the brief hike.

First is the iconic toadstool in many photos.  Yes it is great but a bit of additional walking will open some great views and more toadstools.

Hoodoos or Toadstools are always great fun to find and see.  There are many that are not documented that you can search out for.  I’ve written about some this year.  If you have little time, then yes, see the popular sites.  If you have time to roam, veer off the worn path and see what you can see.

Check out this view above.  Look at the colors. They are great.  You can see this view by climbing a little hill near the Toadstools.

Yet another brief walk opens up this multicolored background with the toadstool front and center.

Yet another short walk in another direction gets this long view with excellent colors.  The colors rival the toadstools to me.

Not near the main toadstools that the trail takes you to is this group of toadstools.  They are there for the finding if you look around.

Lastly, this beautiful toadstool is tucked away in a corner less than a quarter of a mile away from the main ones.

So, although I have written about this Toadstool hike, I’ve never stressed the advantages of doing some of your own exploring to find the extras that are not on the brochure.

Happy hiking.


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Page Library - A Place To Work On Blog

Not every day is sunshine and weather you can do fun things.  Some days rain and some days high winds, or cold temperatures..  Those days are not days to tour muddy back roads and hike.  These days, it is nice to find refuge in a place that you can spend hours with WiFi.  McDonald’s is a great place for an hour or two but not 4 hours.

When I’m in Page when the weather is not the best I go to to the Library.  It’s a great place to work on my blog, catch-up on Youtube, social media, watch a movie, or work on taxes.

My choice is the adult reading section.  There are plenty of outlets on the wall or floors.  I can park myself for hours and not be disturbed.

The Page Library offers more.  Page has the greatest views of any library I visit in all my haunts.  The mesas and mountains never loose their luster, even in the rain.  When you see the sun come out you can see it and head back to your camping spot.

When boondocking, don’t forget the library for a place that offers a clean warm place to spend your time.  This is excellent for us that spend so much time outside.


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Epic Excursion To White Pocket

Joanne suggested today that we go to the White Pockets, that requires miles of off road adventure, and not accessible when the House Rock Ballry Road is bad from moisture between AZ and UT.  

Today was the day to try with the weather bright and no rain in s few days.  The BLM Offive in Kanab, UT tells everyone that he road may not be passable when wet.  If it is you will need 4x4 with high clearance.

After about 2.5 hours we arrived at White Pocket.  That’s about 1 hour from Page, AZ to the southern end of House Rock Valley Road and then about 1.5 hours on Southern end of House Rock Valley Road in Arizona, then a long time in 4x4 narrow roads to arrive.  The mud on House Rock Valley Road wasn’t too bad with mud but had heavy ruts that were now drying.  The wilderness roads were narrow and damp in spots with some rock crawling, but all went well. 

Here’s Joanne’s Jeep in the parking lot of White Pocket.  You can see spots of mud in the poor drainage spots.

There are a number of pockets here that have water.  A few have dams to hold water back.  I’m guessing they were put there for cooling off in the summer.

There are spots here that are reminiscent of “The Wave”, that is located a few miles to the northwest.

I look at these waves in the layered sandstone and enjoy the colors that nature gives us.

As with many of my adventures, I can only give you a sample of what is available to see.  The important thing is to climb and change your view to see what is different.  Susan who also came with us, and Joanne didn’t climb where I went to find the above colors.  Wen we met up later I took them to see this formation.  I can’t stress enough that you must go looking to find what I see and take pictures of.

Here I am sitting on swirling sandstone.  I don’t get tired of seeing these formations.

Here is an excellent example of the sand layering.  I can’t get my head around what happened way back when these layers were formed that caused the various colors.

As I said I have many more phots but it’s time to move along in this blog.

We drove back to House Rock Valley Road with the assumption that we may make it back to Page by going north to US89 as it was shorter.

The road goes north and it got increasingly more difficult with mud rutted sections where the Jeep’s axle was riding in the center ridge as we couldn’t ride the ridge as it was too slippery.  We went past the state line into Utah.  We went past the trailhead for “The Wave”.

We continued on and met a couple in a AWD car heading south.  They were trying to get to Kanab by going north.  We couldn’t believe they make it all the way through the ruts we went through.  We couldn’t believe that they were to try to drive back through them.  They told us that the river washed out the road and couldn’t get through.

Joanne didn’t want to drive back through the mud we just came through.  She brought up that if we turned around, and this car got stuck in front of us, we may not make it past. We decided to go to the river.  It was the river to Buckskin Gulch.  The main road was washed out with 12” deep ruts leading to the river.  The river drop was 2 feet on either side!  The river was flowing fast and about 12” deep we guessed!

We found a second crossing about 200’ down street that had less of s drop.  We tossed stones to check the depth and Joanne’s tried the depth by walking into it. We decided it was worth trying.  We did it!!!

We found more mud and ruts going north after the river.  Above is an example of some of what we went through.  This is not dry, but wet and slippery.  It fills every crack in your tires do you loose tracking to turn or climb your way through this mud and ruts,

Above is our dirt road track from the south at US89A in AZ to US89 in UT to the north.  The line to the right off the main road was our trip to White Pocket.  Yes that’s right 66.5 miles of driving some tedious 4x4 roads.  Also 5.5 hours of driving.  This is why I say it was an epic trip.

The three of us look back now at it and say it was a great day.  Joanne has accomplished a lot of off road leaning since we started.  She is getting very experienced.

The BLM will not come help you out of your problem.  They say a wrecker, if they can make it to you starts at $2K.


Friday, March 15, 2019

Disc Golf In Page, AZ

In past years I have not looked into Disc Golf when I’m in Page, Arizona.  This year I did look and find this 9 hole course adjacent to the Page Library and Community College.

Like many small towns Page started out with a 9 hole course.  Although there are no trees to give the player some difficulty, there is some interesting holes because of elevation. 

I use the U-Disc App with the insignia above to find courses to play.

U-Disc provides a map and comments about the course.  You can also save your score card if you like.  I don’t track my play using the app.

The app was right in saying that it is hard to find the tee boxes and related baskets.  I hadcexactly that problem.  Baskets blend into the background with each a different color.  Baskets and tees are not all numbered.

Despite these problems I enjoyed being able to get out and play as it has been a couple weeks.

When traveling I keep 3 discs with me to jump on a course and enjoy the game.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Sunrises & Sunsets - Page, AZ

I don’t go looking for pleasant sunrises or fabulous sunsets.  They just fall at my feet here in the west.  Of course not every day leaves you in wonder over what you just saw, but you can’t beat it.

I’ve been on the border of Arizona and Utah in the Page, AZ area for the last couple of weeks having a great time in moderate, but a bit cooler than I like.  I move on to southeastern UT to explore next, and figured I would leave you with a few pictures of my sunrises and sunsets.

Here I am at my campsite, up to see the first light on my camper and hills behind.  Sun is shining under the mostly overcast sky.

Above is sunset looking east at the Mesa off in the distance.  I think this would make a great 1000 piece puzzle with the wonderful pink to purple sky.

Above is another sunset catching a stripe of sun across my friend’s camper.

Another sunset catching a passing shower, with rain called Verga.  I enjoy weather events and forecasting based on weather models and radar.  The back light with the streaking makes the picture more multi demential.

Here is the Google search definition of Verga

“In meteorology, a virga is an observable streak or shaft of precipitation falling from a cloud that evaporates or sublimates before reaching the ground. A shaft of precipitation that does not evaporate before reaching the ground is a precipitation shaft.”

Nature is wonderful.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Exploring Finds Hoodoos And Epic Views

Joanne took Susan and me out for some exploring her Jeep she bought this year to search out new places.  We went looking on a number of roads but as you can see above they are still a bit rough and slippery from still being wet.

Although thwarted on the one road above, I had found another road off into the wilderness that was dry and free of mud.

We knew there was an overlook if we followed a Jeep trail but we didn’t know about the Hoodoos up there until we saw them.

Above is a beautiful view of Navajo Mountain in Northern Arizona, Near Page.  The water is the Glen Camyon Reservoir.

There are so many Hoodoos of various size and shape around here all in a 25 mile radius.

I have taken so many pictures on my adventures that I have to pause so often to decide what to include.  I’m amazed every year to find more beautiful things to see.

This was a 13 mile off-road 4 wheel drive high clearance adventure.  Joanne is practicing off-roading with her Jeep to develop skills.  Today there was some good rock crawling up the cliff to the overlook.