Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Good Golly Jeepers

Gopher Flats
Moab, UT
June 2017

Good golly jeepers...June just flew by.  Its been industrious, blooming, fun, crowned, celebrated and relaxing !

Industrious: Joe and I volunteered for 2 of the 3 Moab Friends For Wheeling work days.   We had a total of 7 vehicles that made their way along beautiful Kane Creek Trail through the desert, along the creek, up the switchbacks with a purpose to install 4 "You Are Here" signs.  


MFFW adopted the LaSal Loop Trail so on June 24 we high-tailed it to the LaSals  for the annual clean up from winter.  The roads were opened a couple of weeks ago just in time for us to clear them before summer traffic.

Trees were cut into manageable sizes and moved to the side. In our group, Glen did the cutting while Joe and Gary helped with the hauling. 

In a few spots, a strap and a jeep did the trick ! 

 The cooler temps and shade made for a pleasant work day.
Glen climbs the bank on the right to cut.  Joe waits...

Meadows full of green grass and yellow flowers  surrounded by huge evergreens were quite showy all day,

but my favorite were all the bushes of delicate wild roses that lined the trail.

I have enjoyed many walks early in the morning or late in the afternoon around Gopher Flats with camera in hand.  Its fun to play with lights and shadows.  This flower is two-toned...quite pretty with its red top and yellow underneath.

The Evening Primrose bud opens around 9:00 pm.

It's blooms are lemon yellow.
These beauties begin to wilt around noon.
I'll share one more...the Smoke bush/tree. 

The large, loose clusters of purplish pinkish "hairs" look like puffs of smoke...hence the name.  The foliage is a reddish purplish color from a distance, but when the light shines through them you can see the green.  I did read fall is their "claim to fame" season as the leaves deepen to brilliant colors of purple, red and orange-yellow.  

We have done lots of trails like Hell's Revenge, Fins and Things, Poison Spider, Gold Bar, and Golden Spike, Steel Bender...trails we have done many times, but new to Wile E.  But, the most fun trail was Porcupine Rim we did a few weeks ago with Dee, Paul and Chris.  Porcupine Rim is in the Sand Flats area so a fee/pass is required. 
 So what made Porcupine Trail so much fun this time? I drove !  I did a dang good job too. 
 Yep, I drove the switchback with the canyon floor on my left, I drove right around Concentration Corner without batting an eye, I hugged the wall perfectly going down big ledges, and best of all I drove down and back up a difficult set of boulders, deep holes, and gnarly ledges that give this trail a 6 rating out of 10.  I hope to get Steel Bender under my belt next month so stay tuned!       

No pictures here.  I had my teeth cleaned and the dentist found not one, but two cracked molars...YIKES ! So, I sent a morning preparing for two crowns and as I write this, I am sporting two temporary crowns.  The "real" ones go in the first of July along with a sudden drop in our checking account balance !

We enjoyed a very nice dinner at Jeffrey's to celebrate Dee's birthday and our anniversary.

Well, can't say enough about how much we are enjoying Gopher Flats and Moab.  Its not all work and play either.  Mornings after we go to the gym (3 to 4 times a week) are spent on the patio enjoying the cooler temps and a cup of Maverick coffee and cereal.  Late afternoon are also good to for sitting outside.
Our home, 
perfect harmony !,
 the little things,



and sunsets.

 Until next time, take care and...


Up next, a special trail day to Polar Mesa.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Exploring Island in the Sky

Gopher Flats
Moab, UT
May 28, 2017

This is our fifth year to spend a good amount of time in Moab.  We have enjoyed many hikes in Arches NP, Dead Horse Point State Park and on BLM land.  For some reason, maybe distance, we haven't done much exploring in Canyonlands NP.  Its about 45 miles (one way) from our home to the Island in the Sky Visitor Center.  Memorial Day week-end turned out to be an OK time to visit although we almost turned around at the pay booth.  The line was moderately long...nothing like Arches...but seemed to move fast.  The Visitor Center was packed so we didn't make a stop there.  

Once we were on the scenic drive,  it was really quite nice.  Fields of Indian ricegrass along with other grasses line the 34 mile (roundtrip) scenic drive.  There are lots of pull-outs and some paved parking areas for highlights like Mesa Arch and Upheaval Dome...all were very crowded.  I did manage a few drive by shots...

Our main goal for the day was to hike to the granaries near Aztec Butte.  Imagine my delight to pull into an almost empty parking lot...yippee !  Aztec Butte is a 2 mile hike rated moderate because of a steep climb to the top of the butte.  Some ledges to climb are 3 to 4 feet tall. Neither one of us were "in the mood" for a rock scramble, so we opted to skip the butte this time.  We opted for the trail that climbs up the smaller butte then drops below the rim to two Puebloan granaries.  Ledges were smaller and slick rock not quite as steep. 

The trail begins in a sandy wash.

Lots of little things caught my eye.
Cushion Buckwheat...

Egg Milkvetch
 Plains Prickly Pear...

Grasses taller than me...
Clumps of asters...
and birds. (I had to lighten these pictures to see the colors in the birds.)

The next part of the trail took us up a slick rock slope and onto the top of a butte.  It twisted its way to the other side of the butte then dropped below the rim to the granaries.  

As we climbed, we had a good view of Aztec Butte.  

This was an amazing new experience as I have never seen a granary or ruin up close and personal.  Roughly 2,000 years ago Ancestral Puebloans  began to rely more on domesticated animals and plants for food.  The granaries were built to store meats they hunted and crops they grew.  The granaries we saw were estimated to be about 1,000 years old.  

Totally awesome !

On the home front, we have enjoyed some of this...


Gopher Flats has lots of butterfly bushes.  They just started blooming last week.
 and this.  The gold collared lizard lives in the cactus garden in our neighbors backyard.  The garden backs up to the puppy dog fence.  

Until next time,