Friday, August 28, 2015

Rainbow Terrace

Portal RV Resort
Moab, UT
August 26 & 27, 2015

Rainbow Rocks Rim is a beautiful area with a 4 wheel drive trail rated easy to moderate.  The trailhead is about 20 miles on the northwest side of Moab. 

We headed toward Tombstone Rock under gray clouds.

We followed Dee out Spring Canyon Point Road just past Tombstone Rock where we made a right turn at the trailhead. 

 This is not a frequently driven trail for some reason.

Even with dull skies, the rocks and scenery were breathtaking.
 The first part of the 12.6 mile trail is a terrace road following the base of Rainbow Rock.  It is mainly a twisty section of slickrock traversing around and between ginormous boulders 

The base of Rainbow Rock Rim 

We followed a fun sandy trail through open rangeland. The misty rain turned into droplets. 

We reached a T in the road and turned right onto Levi Well Road.  I guess now would be a good time to say this section of Levi Well Road is really a wash.  And by this time, the rain droplets were becoming big drops.  We accessed the situation, checked the radar, and decided we had plenty of time to traverse the 6 mile drive to our next turn onto Blue Hill Road. So off we went...

The trail very quickly, and I do mean QUICKLY turned from this......

to this.  Clearly it was now time to exit the wash 

to safely on higher ground!
 We were so close to the point where the road veered left out of the wash.  The picture below shows how the raging waters closed this exit to us..

Dee and Joe searching for a way out...

So what to do?  The rain came and went, several times before it finally cleared.  All the while we waited for the rushing water to subside.  During this five hour plus wait, Dee was constantly working on plans that would hopefully keep us from having to spend the night there stranded in our Jeeps.  She called our friends Steve and Jim to further explore possible options.  The resulting plan was no less than brilliant.  We were to hike approximately a mile and a half over muddy and rocky hills to a point on Dubinky Well Road where Steve and Jim were to pick us up.  Before we secured the Jeeps and began our hike out, Dee clearly marked her map "We are here", took a cell phone picture of it and sent it to Steve.  It was now 7:30 PM and time to begin our hike out.  We made it to the crest overlooking the desert floor with a very prominent bluff opposite us on the horizon.  Dee had me take a picture of the bluff making sure I captured the moon situated directly above it.  

The picture was attached to a text to Steve with a comment "this is directly opposite us".  In later discussions with him, he credited this photo for guiding them to reverse their westerly direction and head east for our rendezvous. 

Pearl and Thumper spent the night alone, thank goodness, at the location Dee has now dubbed Wrangler's Roost. Our hike out took us up, along the crest, and down the hills you see behind the jeeps.

As we were leaving, I looked back for a photo...

Yesterday, Steve, Jim, his wife Barbara, Dee and Joe recovered 2 very muddy jeeps...thank you so much Steve and Jim ! 

The now semi dry wash they crawled in and out of. Dee went first...

driving out of the wash with Steve looking on.

Jim stayed close by and coached Joe out.

 We loved everything about this adventure.  It combined elements of excitement related to driving challenges and uncertainty about the ultimate outcome.  Having said that, it would be seriously irresponsible for me to suggest we were not in a potentially dangerous situation.  Had we not been with Dee or another very experienced and competent trail leader, the outcome could have easily ended with lost Jeeps and/or bodily harm or worse. 

During the 5 hours we waited, we explored, climbed rocks, found petrified wood, and I was camera happy!  Pictures of Wrangler's Roost to follow on the next post.

I am most thankful for my wonderful husband and dear friends Dee, Steve and Jim. 

Until next time...



  1. Those washes can get scary and fast. Glad everything worked out and it was a memorable adventure.

  2. I agree. Better you than me too.

  3. What a crazy exciting day! Glad you made it out safely and had an adventure to remember always!

  4. Another very exciting adventure, glad all worked out well. More wonderful memories.

  5. So glad to read that you made it out all right and Pearl also survived:) Traveling in a wash really can be scary with rain around since you don't know exactly where it rained earlier. Smart decision to get to high ground. How lucky that you had enough cell service to call for help. Boy, Pearl really needed a bath after that!

  6. Oh my goodness, I probably would be unhappy :( but all is well that ends well. Glad that you were able to get out of there with help from friends.