Spring break! March 21-28
The BLM land west of Goblin Valley along road 1013 headed towards the Swell and Capitol Reef has lots of places to duck into that can 'hide' a fair sized group. Taking Goblin Valley road south to the park, turn right (West) on CR 1013 (County Road 1013) to Little Wild Horse Canyon. After crossing Wild Horse Creek there will be a turn to the South East leading to the edge of the hills.
There are a couple good sites along the bluffs. One very protected in a box canyon and another among the goblins.
Google: Goblin Camp 38° 34'15.66N , 110° 45'46.68W
Box Camp: 38° 34'21.48N , 110° 46'2.54W
Delorme: Goblin Camp 38° 34.2576N , 110° 45.7797W
Box Camp: 38° 34.3580N , 110° 46.0477W
The road behind Goblin Valley, the one that goes past Little Wild Horse, goes all the way through and comes out on the highway near Hanksville. The only real issue last time I did it was the river crossing, no bridge so you want to make sure they haven't had a lot of rain recently. There are a number of canyons to explore back there, Little Wild Horse Canyon is busy now that it's in all the guide books but it's still a great one. Do the loop up LWH and back down through Bell. Crack and Chute are also cool but a long day to do both as a loop. You can access these canyons from the top as well, follow the main road through the swell and drive along the top side to each of the canyon openings, there is camping in that area as well.
Copper Ridge Sauropod Track site N38° 49' 54" W109° 45' 43"
Dinosaur and petroglyphs map
Burr Trail? Take the Muley Twist road and check out the hike to the Waterpocket Fold overlook.
Links of interest:
Trails in the area
Goblin Valley State park just around the corner
Will pick up day pass / permits if needed.
At a minimum each vehicle should be equipped with:
Adequate all terrain tires and carry a fullsize spare.
Tools and jack to change the tire.
Front and rear recovery points.
8" ground clearance.
What You Must Bring:
* 1.5 gallons of water per person per day (for drinking, showering, washing, and food preparation.) Keep a bottle of water with you at all times.
* Enough food/beverages for your entire party
* First aid kit
* Warm clothing for evenings-this is a desert at 6000 feet elevation!
* Bedding and shelter of some type; the winds can exceed 75 mph, and the mid-day temperature can exceed 80°
* A good camp tent is recommended along with warm sleeping bags. Evening temperatures can be in the 30's.
* Garbage bags
* Any required prescriptions, contact lens supplies (disposables work great), or whatever else you need to maintain your health and comfort in a remote area with no services
* Flashlights and spare batteries (headlamps are useful)-to be sure you can see and be seen at night.
* Sunscreen/sunblock lotion and sunglasses
* Fire extinguisher
* Common sense, an open mind, and a positive attitude
We Strongly Suggest You Bring:
* A wide brim hat
* Walking staff
* A cooking stove if you expect to heat food or liquid
* Watertight / dust tight protective bags (e.g. heavy zip-type) for cameras or electronic gear
* Lotion/lip balm to treat cracked skin
* Smokers: portable ashtrays (e.g. an empty candy tin, or film canister)
* A radio (FRS preferred for hiking and vehicle to vehicle - 2m would be great!)
* Particle/dust mask/Bandanna (Dust storms are not uncommon.)
* Tent stakes (High winds are likely.)
* Goggles to protect eyes in case of dust storms
* Extra set of car keys
Helpful Things to Bring:
* Tire repair kit and air compressor
* Sewing kit
* Rope and/or string
* Handy wipes
* Duct tape
* Global Positioning System receiver.
* Porta Privy / Wag Bags / Porta potty
Things NOT to Bring:
* Excess packaging from foods (For example, remove outer box from cereals and just bring the inner bag.)
* Nuts in their shells
* Too much fresh produce. Many melons are thrown out at the end of the week.
The trip south was uneventful. Rest stop - Lunch break. I had a quick conversation with an older gentleman who had followed us to the sandwich shop. He looked to be a rancher type and was very interested in the trailer.
We arrive in Moab late the evening of the first day. It took right at 12 hours to get there.
The next morning we made a run to the City Market and T-Shirt shop for some shirts and stickers.
This trip turned out to be all about the elements. As we would later learn all elements were delivered in pairs.
The first was Water-
As we were awaiting the arrival of Jack and Eric, the motel we were watching from above, sprouted a geyser. A man had been working on a water line out front and obviously ran into problems. This was followed by the typical OCRIS (Oh, Crap, Run-In-Circles). We were expecting a real disaster when the maid came out with a steel garbage can and attempted to contain the geyser. Fortunately she did not get in the way when it blew the can upward. Quite a comical show with all the running around and crazy ideas on how to help the situation.
We walked down and tried to assist in shutting off the water meter, but to no avail as the tools we had available were not appropriate and the valve very stuck.
Finally we convinced the gentleman to contact public works. Eventually a service vehicle arrived and the water was shut off.
Jack and Eric Joined us and as we were leaving Moab, we saw a large fire ahead. The second element- Fire. It turned out to be workers burning the large build up of tumble weeds. No emergency, although it looked impressive from the road. Firefighter types are always impressed with fire , I guess.
On to the Sauropod track site.
The short jaunt north to the track site was over quickly. It is pretty neat to see the prints and the spacing of the steps.
I know that we were told to bring a small brush and some water to clean them up so that they show up better. We had water , but no brush, and really just forgot about that until we were ready to leave.
We did a quick side attraction and found a nice Geocache nearby. TFTH!
Off to Goblin Camp!A breakfast of ziplock bag omelets and we are off to Goblin Valley. Greeting us at the entrance are the three sisters.
I was so careful to share waypoint files and load them on mine too. However, I neglected to include the route file that had waypoints for the track site and campsites. I learned a little something there. That will not happen again.
The new-to-me refurb Panasonic Toughbook did not miss a beat. What a great bargain that was.
The road to the campsite was easy to find and the reports of all the little box canyons was right on the money. We could not access what I had set as Goblin Camp. The washes had cut off access to that waypoint. The road ended before it, but there were plenty of other suitable locations. We decided on the second to last and set up camp.
Camp was all set in good time. A little work to clean the fire pit and stack the wood we brought. Then a nice dinner and second lesson on Brazillian BBQ.
This night the next of the elements was shown to us.
I don't think anyone got a good nights sleep. The wind really howled. Everything that could flap or fall over, did.
Rising early and a bit weary the morning brought calmer winds and a nice day.
The whole place really is from another planet. I understand that the Rock man scene from Galaxy Quest was filmed here.
Still a little windy, we made the most of it by flying a kite as we wandered among the rock warriors.
The whole morning was spent here. We ate lunch and the next stop was to be the waterfolds of Little Wild Horse Canyon.
The road to Little Wild Horse Canyon passes right by our campsite.
It is not a long drive , other than avoiding the constriction equipment working on the road. It is freshly graded and compacted to the canyon now.
A short trail leads to the canyon. Jack stayed behind to rid himself of some awake time. The drive left him weary and need of a nap.
Little Wild Horse and Bell canyons are linked by a path. This day we chose to venture up Little Wild Horse. We stopped for a quick group shot on a large ledge. It reminded me of something from a post apocalyptic movie with swelled and broken roadways. Charlton Heston's line from Planet of the Apes came to mind.."Damn you... you destroyed it! Damn you all to hell!"
Around each corner the folds got better and better.
Traversing the path required some minor climbing and a few places were tight enough to slide sideways.
The whole place is just amazing. Rock knurled and twisted in to such wonderful creations.
We did not travel the loop this day as it was getting late in the day so we returned as we came and headed back to camp.
This day was the second of the Wind elements. Making the most of it we hoisted the heavy kite:
Tach's Dragon kite requires lots of wind. as with anything like this when you really need it it dies down.
Dinner this evening was Laurie's pork fried noodles.
This night would bring better sleep as the wind died down and with that came a drop in temperature from the clearing skies. A little ice on the edges.
After fighting some greener than expected wood and the supply diminishing, the plan of attack for the next day was to pull up stakes and move on. Another visit to the Bell Canyon this time and off to Hanksville to replenish supplies.
It starts out wide and open. A little bit of snow in the shaded areas of this canyon. The journey started with a cache in need of replenishing. We took little and left more. Thanks Troop2! A nicely hidden cache found by our expert Steve-O.
This canyon was full of "hidey-holes"
Even our dog got into the act-
Lots of climbing over obstacles through here. With young ones along , their feet getting sore and near lunch time most of us decided to turn back. It looked to be at least a couple hours more to the half way point. Steve-O and Kira decided to make the full loop and pushed on.
We returned to the vehicles ate lunch and lazied about the rigs for a while. They did make it back in good time and said we did the right thing by turning back with the kids and dog. There were some pretty substantial climbs and drops that we missed.
The sandstone is VERY hard on things. I scratched up my camera pretty good. The dogs pads were worn clean. She was done hiking for the rest of our trip. Next time I will bring booties for her.
Everyone fed and rested a little we headed out the "other" way. We were soon greeted by a road sign saying that this road was no longer maintained and may not be passable. Woo Hoo! Our kind of road!
The terrain was not too bad. Some climbs, rocky areas and soft stuff. I greatly contrasted with the first half of the road. This was barren almost dark dirt mining type terrain.
This road did not show up on my maps. It did roughly follow the direction of one in a USGS map, but cut back an fourth in different directions. Jack said he did find it in another of his mapping programs. I don't recall which.
Up on top again.
This landscape was rough , barren and alien. Piles almost like a crusher had been in piling the grindings. A beautiful multi colored layer pyramid right in the middle of it all. Almost out of place, but perfectly natural. It all opened up to a huge flat.
In the distance I could see a structure. It was off the road and bordering a fenced area.
With the names of the road and canyon being related to horses, I will assume that this must have been some sort of corral and line shack for a horse ranch.
The first structure was collapsed.
Rough hewn lumber, mudded joints and chicken wire stucco interior. Roof ridge made from gallon steel (rusted) cans. From here you could see the "new" house.
This one was really upscale with a loft, or second story, although we really found on way to access it. Under the spacious porch was a nice fire place. Lots of work went into this one and I bet it was quite a nice shack in its day.
Back to the rigs and on the road. Mapping shows our point of decision ahead.
I could clearly see at least three washes lie ahead. One pretty wide blue line. I knew that we were in for something as I had seen the picture of the red truck negotiating a cut into the banks of a wash. Thus far the signs had been light. We had been watching the drainage along the way for signs of erosion and the chance that we might meet doom at the banks of a river cut.
Our first decision.
This was a twin channel. On the other side a set of tracks coming toward us stopped deep and I assume were pulled back. They were deep and the tracks in front of us I had to assume could be the same. The width of the tires that had tracked through had me assume 35"-36" tires as they were a full 12" tread width. Jack and I run 33" tires. Kira's rig 31".
Poking around a little it did feel like it had a bottom. The problem would be if the ruts were too deep. The right bank was silt and very soft mud. The best option looked to be hugging the left bank.
We talked it over and decided Jack would go first. I have the winch and could pull him back if need be. kira would go second as Jack could hook a strap and pull her through. The two of them together could anchor me if I needed to winch through.
A little bounce to the left and Jack pulled through with out a problem.
Kira's tires were not as aggressive as the BFG TAKO Jack and I run. About half way through she slipped to the side and into the ruts. I think she was past the worst of it and stayed in to to pull through with out a problem.
A battery failure in Laurie's camera happened just as I entered. Just as well as it was nothing special. It felt good and no issues pulling through for me. On I go and around the next turn...
We looked this over just as carefully. A blade had cut down the top foot. Still it was down probably another two foot to a briskly flowing Muddy Creek. It was maybe 60' across, with a muddy bar in the middle.
A little poking from the shore was not going to tell us enough about this crossing.
Off with the shoes and into the FREEZING water I go! Dumb? Crazy? Well... no one else volunteered. The mud at the mid point was maybe 10" deep. It had a good solid bottom. Jack and Kira should do fine there as they would get a little run at it once they dropped into the creek. I had to wait for the trailer to drop before I "get after it". That would put me into it before I could gain momentum.
The other side was not nearly as deep. Overall the deepest part was maybe calf deep on me. My left pant leg did get a little wet.
We chose the same order for the same reasons. Jack was the guinea pig.
He made it look easy. The wet sand of the bank really held the weight well. Nice and easy in then across.
A call on the radio and Jack ran ahead a little way to see if there was anything more in our path. Coming back up this slope would not be as easy as it was going down. He went quite a distance and said, although soft there did not appear to be another crossing or further obstacles in our near future.
With reports of good trail ahead, Kira went into the drink
And on across like she had been doing this forever.
No one would know that this was her first real 4x4 trip. My crossing went just as smoothly. My photographers preferred to ride rather than wade, so those photos of my crossing lie with my traveling partners.
The road had been very soft. Ruts shown deep where others had done this trail earlier. The road was funny. Sort of soft and dragging. In places you could see a dusting of white crust. Jack though he was having transmission problems and down shifted. The pull to the top was harder than expected. It did not stop to examine the conditions as I felt it more prudent to maintain what little momentum that I had.
The road yielded wondrous sights. Boulders dropped from the top of a small island in the terrain.
The monument in the distance reminded Jack of a fortress in Israel. He did relate the story and the tale of this place, but I forget the details.
I could imagine wafts of smoke coming from encampments all around the base. All waiting to siege the fortress. Something out of a "Lord of the Rings" Novel. Breathtaking.
We made good time and pulled into Hanksville. Dinner at Stan's that night. Those are some big milkshakes!
So dinner in Hanksville sort of set the beginning of the end.
Jack had business in Vegas and tomorrow he needed to head that way. Moki ruins and the petroglyphs were on our agenda.
I took the information posted by another member and the one reference on a Benchmark maps as direction to the "Moki ruins".
As it turns out this was a Fremont Indian granary:
Jack read up on the details.
I guess I expected more? Neat, but not quite what I had expected I guess.
Next stop was the petrpoglyphs.
Lots of them , but many do not photograph well and are quite a distance away. Still pretty cool. This is where Jack and Eric parted our company and set sail for Vegas. Thanks for sharing the trip!
One rig down we are , on to the visitors center for Capitol Reef NP. There we saw a reference and picture of the same granary we just saw. No charge to enter today as most all access roads were closed due to muddy conditions.
This place would have been more impressive it we had not just experienced such a fantastic area earlier in the trip.
Standing at a view point above the park we decided that Bryce was in our plans. Steve and Kira take the lead and we head...UP.
Cold and climb was the day this day. Over the top and to Bryce.
Still snow covered. The lower trails looked just too sketchy for kids. We decided to pass on those. It was late in the day and more than we wanted to take on for the day.
We checked out several view points took quite a few photos.
The dinner was at a delightful little diner just down the road from Bryce. Good pies and a nice atmosphere. Our night was spent in a motel.
The next morning had a forecast of 12"-18" of snow in the next 12 hours.
We were quite a way south and needed to have two days to return. With the threat of snow and no chains for the truck or trailer. We decided to point the truck to home.
We parted ways with our last traveling companions as they wanted to see more of Bryce canyon.
The road was snow packed as we left and we had one good pass to make before we could reduce our altitude.
Not more than an hour or so down the road we get a call from Kira and Steve. They too had decided to return home. The weather was just too bad. Nothing to see in the canyon due to the limited visibility.
Over the pass we saw one Ford truck that had crashed into the rocky hill. Airbags deployed and law enforcement onscene. No way were we stopping on a corner. I needed to keep my momentum and get down before things got worse. Local PD had things well in hand.
Finally down to the interstate roads were improving.
By the time we hit Salt Lake the weather was rainy. The worst part was the wind. All the way home. A strong headwind. As we neared home at least the sun broke in under the clouds for a while.
That concludes the journey.
What worked well:
Fridge. Everyone will tell you that a fridge is a good investment. Believe them. It is spendy, but well worth the investment.
I gave Jack a hard time about twisting my arm to buy the $350 Toughbook. It too was worth the expense. Trouble free and very handy. No worries about durability.
Roof Top Tents rock.
Kira and Steve's campfire grille. Lots of room, simple and very functional. Thanks you two for donating it to my trailer!
The hitch works great. Out goes the ball and ball hitch. No need to pack them any more. The hitch has proven itself.
Vacuum packed meals. Awesome. Quick and easy.
Pop up dog kennel. So simple and functional. What a space saver and comfort for our dog. Her home away from home.
What needed improvement:
Well seasoned wood! I had no idea the wood we had was so wet. It was miserable. Next time I will choose better.
Tent heater. I only tried it one night and my tarp wrap did nothing but flap and carry on all night. When I finally lighted the heater in the morning the enclosure was all gone and very little heated the tent. That has since been fixed. I made an attachment for one side of the tent to enclose the heater. Some canvas stitched to form an enclosure, some grommets and snaps. All done and ready for the next trip to test.
Axle upgrade. Grossing 1920 this trip had me nervous. Add to that a lack of brakes. I did not need heavier or the brakes this trip, but I think having a better cushion and the ability to brake should I need it would be a very good idea. The axle is ordered and should be here next week.
Better retention for the fridge. I had a load bar in place , but it moved a little and did not keep the fridge far enough from the side to unlatch it. I built a new bar that will bolt in this time and will install it in the morning.
All the chargers and cables.
That spaghetti has since been organized. The chargers moved to the outside of the console. Much more organized.
Cables for the trailer. I did not need them, but with brakes and the potential for slick roads, why not carry a set?
Solar panel. The jury is still out. Maybe a summer sun thing?
Dry box. It may need some adjustments. It is rather unorganized and getting too full to be convenient.
Potty enclosure. Pops up nice and folds up nice too. Only not when it should. A slight breeze will fold it up. I need to study it closer.