Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Back in Moab

Gopher Flats
Aug 9 - Sept 2. 2018
Moan, UT

I haven't finished posting our trip to the Olympic Peninsula in July, but wanted to do a "real time" post on what we have been doing .  Since our refuge to the Olympic Penninsula, it has been hot here, but the temps are creeping back into the 80s and soon we will relish in the fall weather we love. 

So what have we been up to?

Lets begin at home...

Life at Gopher Flats can be quite lazy and peaceful.  Early mornings and puppy play time go hand in hand.   

Some mornings, Dover rides to town with Joe to do errands.  She loves riding...anywhere...anytime !

Evenings are spent relaxing and sometimes enjoying colorful sunsets.  One evening, though, we had the most delightful visitors...hummingbird moths.  Sometimes referred to as hawk moths, these unique insects hover in midair, hum and drink nectar from the same flowers just like hummingbirds.


A couple of weekends ago, our friends Jeff and Susan who live a couple of houses down the street were out of town.  Guess what I did?
The rooster is black and white.
I fed the chickens !  I've never fed chickens before.  What a funny bunch they are.  One of Susan's chickens turned out to be a rooster.  In the mornings when I let them out of the hen house,  he immediately announced to the world "get the day started". 








  



Next up, trails...

Life in Moab can be exhilarating and adventurous.  In between appointments here and in Grand Junction, we have managed to get in 6 trails which includes a sunset run on Hells Revenge.  Friends from Saskatchewan arrived the second week in August.  We first met these enthusiastic and relentless trail warriors in Aug 2017 and are already looking forward to their return in 2019.
Dee followed by Marc and Janelle, Kelsie and Scott, and us.
Joe and WileE have some "flexy" going on in The Pickle.

Janelle snapped a photo of us climbing out of the Gravy Boat on Mashed Potatoes Trail. 
Dee caught us climbing Escalator on Hells Revenge.  Thank you Rory for the spot!


Sunset on Hells Revenge

And last, the area...

The area around Moab offers lots of opportunities for exploring.  I love exploring !  One morning Scott and Chris invited us to follow along to scout out the Abajo Mountains...locally known as the Blue Mountains.  It's a small mountain range west of Monticello and north of Blanding.  The highest point is Abajo Peak at 11,362 ft was our destination.   We hooked up to a trail in Monticello rode the peak and came out in Blanding...a very delightful 55 to 60 miles.  It was a wonderfully clear day with blue skies and  a good 10 to 15 degrees cooler than Moab.









One morning on the way to City Market, we took the long way through Arches NP.  It's such a nice drive...one we never tire of.












Moab Friends For Wheeling planned a rock art tour for Labor Day.  Our first stop was The Grotto.  The Moab Grotto Pictographs are a collection of rock art hidden inside a slot canyon.  
Melissa, Joe and Ginny in The Grotto


Grotto pictographs

It is a short walk from the parking area to The Grotto.  On the way back we stopped at another panel located nearby.  The art is on the under side of an overhang.






Ginny and Dee






 We took Rainbow Terrace back to Hwy 313. 


There are a lot of manganese outcroppings on Rainbow Terrace.  Due to wind and rain, the desert sand shifts to expose these tubes.  






Most manganese ores come from extensive manganese-rich sediment rocks that formed in ancient oceans.  So cool !





We also saw a section of a cliff wall that recently had rocks sheared off.  


 Back on Hwy 313, we made a quick stop to see Intestine Man.


I see a story of a man mauled by a bear and dies...notice the wings.  The bottom picture shows a large bear claw.





















Next, we made a turn off Hwy 313 into a canyon.  We stopped at a few more sites.  


At the bottom of the pour off is a panel of petroglyphs.














At another stop, there was a really clear and well preserved pictograph under an overhang...


 ...along with some others that were more faded.

Melissa points out a very skinny animal (we think a dog) next to a rather round figure.

There were a couple more panels in the canyon... each had a single figure.    

This turned out to be a longer post than I had planned.  I didn't realize we have been so busy.  So, until next time...








HAPPY TRAILS ! 




Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Olympic National Park...Hurricane Ridge

Elwha Dam RV park
Port Angeles, WA
July,  2018

Hurricane Ridge, the subalpine forest ecosystem of Olympic National Park, can be accessed by road from Port Angeles.  


Since the ONP Visitor Center is located on the way to the ridge, we made that the first stop of the day.   

There were no measurements for the diameter of this tree, only that it was 670 years old.




























The drive up to the ridge is very scenic with lots of twists and turns









and even a few tunnels.  








At an elevation of 5,242 feet, Hurricane Ridge (so named for its susceptibility to hurricane force winds) has it's own VC  with an information desk, gift shop, restrooms and snack bar.  




We arrived early to an almost empty parking lot and enjoyed the short trails in front of the VC.
  
  


















Obstruction Point Road is a must do.

It's a gravely 8 mile winding  road that can be narrow in some places to Lillian Ridge.    







Lucky for me, there was no traffic which meant we could make frequent stops.  It was wildflower season after all !





The road was lined with Avalanche Lilies.  A first for me !


 And another first, the Tiger Lily...

 And one more first, a Seep Monkeyflower...


It was a perfect day for viewing...crisp, clean air and beautiful blue skies. 





  
 The road ends at Lillian Ridge where there are several trailheads. We had planned on doing the short hike to Badger Valley, but the trail was covered in snow.
 A few days later, we returned to the ridge to hike Hurricane Hill...another must do.

The trail had been closed our first visit for trail work and the capture of mountain goats (to be relocated).  

The 3.2 mile (round trip) in and out trail may be short, but it is steep with an elevation gain of +652 feet.  









The trail begins near treeline on a paved path (broken up in lots of places for repair).





 It's a gradual climb at first...
then, we found ourselves in the clouds surrounded by alpine meadows ! 





 The trail levels out briefly at the base of Hurricane Hill's glaciated cirque... "A bowl-shaped depression with very steep sides that form at the head of a mountain glacier."...I had to look that up.
 A short section of three switchbacks resume on a steep climb to the top of Hurricane Hill at an elevation of 5,757 feet. 




Hurricane Hill is one of the most visited activities in ONP so go early to get a parking space and avoid larger crowds.  It is well worth it !
Checking out the trail as we begin the return hike.
  So until next time, 
looking down on Port Angeles...
























Peek-a-boo...I see you!
Tiny purple flowers caught my eye on Obstruction Point Road
Steep and narrow with something beautiful around every turn...

 
Nature's planter...
Hiking among the clouds...


HAPPY TRAILS !