May 15, 2016
Dome Plateau is one of my favorite trail rides and I was so excited when it was added to the Moab Friends For Wheeling calendar. Last Sunday we had a large group of about 15 vehicles as we headed out Hwy 128. The 30 mile scenic drive east on Hwy 128 set the tone for an absolutely wonderful day. After airing down at the recreation area, we crossed the highway and were on our way.
John (and Nancy) did a great job traversing the trail with all its intersections and old mining roads.
Joe and I followed Jeff, in his well built Samurai buggy, who followed Ber, in his 30 year old Jeep CJ. What a treat to watch the two of them traverse the steep and rocky ledges.
We headed straight...well not to straight as the road twists and curves in all directions...to Again and Again Hill. (We missed this last time Dave and Lynn so I think this fall when you are here we have to make a return trip to Dome Plateau.)
Again and Again Hill seems to be in the middle of nowhere. I couldn't return there if I had too (Maybe Dee will lead. She likes this trail too !). There is a go around for this very ledgy, fun hill. Rear lockers were needed to step up some of the boulders. I am pretty sure it is called Again and Again because there were several spots when we thought we were done only to turn the corner and climb some more.
Of all the jeeps in line ahead of us, Dee, driving Thumper, was the first one I saw ready to make the climb.
Just ahead of us were Ber (who is 92 or 93 and has been leading trails since the 80s) and Jeff. All three skillful drivers made it look easy (although I found out later that Dee and Thumper had quite a conversation about lockers). We only had one boulder we had to back off of to take another line. Once we found the correct line Pearl climbed like a champ ! It is like Jim, a dear friend of ours back in Georgia said "It's the indian not the arrow".
At the top, we regrouped and were off to the overlook to meet three vehicles that took the go around. Dome Plateau is a large highland area on the north side of the Colorado River.
The Colorado River Canyon is an exceptional sight both from along side the river and from the cliffs 1700 feet above it. I never get tired of either.
Looking down on Professor Valley to the right towards Castle Valley...
...and to the left towards Fisher Towers.
We were the only group there and enjoyed a nice lunch with a view and of course some visiting and exploring.
It was about 5.1 miles back to the intersection for La Boca Arch. When translated to English, this wide open arch is called Mouth. FYI...about 150 million years ago desert conditions stretched over a good part of Utah, piling light dune sand atop the darker red silt and mud from a previous period. Most of the arches in the area formed in the sandstone created from these dunes.
With more exploring left to do, we were off to the Cave Springs. So many adjectives describe caves it is hard to pick one or two or three...dark, cool, damp...come to mind quickly.
The darkness swallowed everything and the cool, damp feeling in the air was a nice reprieve from the warmth of the sunshine.
Walking into the caves is hard work. It is steep and the sand is squishy and deep. But well worth the effort.
From here our adventure for the day was almost over. Just one more stop before we head out. Even though it was only a couple of miles to the dinosaur tracks, it was filled with so much beauty.
A Gold Collared Lizard...
Lots of cactus...
and more scenic views.
Until next time, happy days and...
HAPPY TRAILS !