Tuesday, May 31, 2016

West Rim-East Rim Loop...Dead Horse Point SP

Portal RV Resort
Moab, UT
May 24, 2016

Almost three years ago Joe and I hiked the Great Pyramid Loop (part of the 16.7 mile Intrepid Bike Trail) in Dead Horse Point State Park.  I am not sure why we let so many years go by without visiting this beautiful state park again.  

This past week, we took care of that and ventured out to do the West Rim-East Rim Loop.  

This loop begins and ends at the Visitor Center.  It can be anywhere from 4 to 8 miles depending on how many spur trails you want to do. 

At the start of West Rim we were engulfed in greens, creamy yellows, piƱon pines and junipers, and the most glorious fragrance from the Cliff Roses.

 We had read in a brochure that the park only receives about 10 inches of precipitation a year and how vegetation has adapted to live.  Plants have reduced the size of their leaves because smaller leaves loose less water through evaporation.  I had not paid attention to how tiny the leaves are on the Cliff Rose are until the other day.  

Some of these plants have already seeded.  A mature seed has a long-tailed hair that attaches to it.  These hairs act like a "tiny parachute" and aid the wind in dispersing the seeds.  The fascinating part to this is that the hairs help "drill" the seeds into the ground.  Once the seeds land in the soil, the wind blows the curved hair rotating it to push the seed into the soil...amazing!

The birds were busy all around us and their chatter filled the quiet morning air.  Finding them was quite a challenge.  We were on trail by 8:15.  Of the two trials, West Rim is less used. It was just us and the birds.

According to DHPSP information, West Rim is the longest and most primitive hiking trail in the park.  Cairns mark the route over the sandstone and slick rock.

We eventually followed the cliffs that form the western boundary of the park.

 Dead Horse Point is the "main attraction" at this park.  The West Rim and East Rim join at the point with a paved walk and rock wall around the overlook.  There is a parking lot at the point.  A covered pavilion to enjoy the view,  covered picnic tables scattered among the trees, along with a vault toilet are provided.

It's easy to visualize the layers described in the sign in the picture below.  But not easy to comprehend 300 million years ago.

The last scene in the movie Thelma and Louise was filmed here. 

From the point, looking right...
...looking straight ahead and...
 ...and looking right.

A look back at the point as we continued on East Rim.

East Rim looked different from the West.  It was much more open with lots of blooming cacti and our view was focused on the snow-caped LaSals. 

Joe and I enjoyed this easy to moderate hike...a very pleasant morning.  Afterwards, we decided to take Long Canyon (top to bottom) 4-wheel drive trail back to Potash Road (Hwy 289).  Pucker Pass is always a thrill...
...passing under the huge boulder is fun...
 ...and it's just so dang beautiful!
 At the end of the trail just before we turned onto Potash Road, we saw Jug Handle Arch.

 Until next time, happy days and...


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Kane Creek Canyon Trail

Portal RV Resort
Moab, UT
May 22, 2016

Kane Creek Canyon Trail has been on our "to do" list since last year.  It was added to the Moab Friends For Wheeling calendar for this past week-end.  Charles Wells book (Guide to Moab Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails) has it listed on the difficult list.  In fact only 5 trails listed are harder than this one.  Three distinct sections make this a fun and challenging day.  At the start, the canyon is wide as we made our way on a rocky/ledgy road.  Then the canyon walls closed in as we descended on a sandy trail that crossed the creek several times with awesome cotton wood trees lining the way.  The last section of trail is very narrow as we climbed out of the canyon and faced the hardest obstacle of the day called Hamburger Hill.  All total, the length of the trail is 13.5 miles and follows the creek the entire way.   

Dee was our leader, followed by us, Glen, Dale and Roland, Al and Linda, Dave, and Jeff. 
Not long into our Sunday morning drive we came upon what Dee calls "show-off rock".  Hummmm ! 

This picture captures an example of what Glen's incredible Jeep can do.

Dale and his well built buggie had no worries!
Al's Samari took the squeeze...which is what we did too.  

Dave's two door extended JK wheeled right over  "show-off rock".

And last was Jeff trying out his new Treps (sticky tires). Yep, he was all smiles !

At about 3.8 miles we passed a large boulder on driver side with a few small petroglyphs.  I would have never noticed them...thanks Dee for the heads up.

Meandering close to the creek offers lots of green and cool breezes, the sound of running water, and makes for a shady spot for lunch.  

Having never done this trail,  Joe and I were unaware of the challenges to follow.  The best was yet to come !
Dee (driving Blanche) crawled up Hamburger Hill like a pro.    We can't take the same line as Dee so she graciously spotted Joe over and around several huge boulders and inches away from the cliff.   

It wasn't over yet.  There was one more creek crossing and a steep, gnarly climb on what the guide book calls a pipeline road.

Dee shows the way... 

After everyone climbed, we took a break to enjoy the creek.

One last play area...

 Glen and Jeff had fun going up and down in circles trying different lines...

From here, it was an easy sandy road back to Hwy 191.

 Until next time, happy days and...