THIS IS SUNDAY’S POST COMING TO YOU MONDAY FROM THE PARKING LOT OF THE ‘TWIN ROCKS CAFÉ’ IN BLUFF UTAH:))
ALTHOUGH THE LIGHT WAS LOW I WAS ABLE TO TAKE A FEW SHAKY DRIVE-BY PHOTOS AS WE WERE LEAVING OUR CAMPGROUND THIS MORNING
We quietly slipped out of the Fruita campground around 8 this morning. We could have stayed one more day as originally planned but decided we’d like to have us a look at the NATURAL BRIDGES NATIONAL MONUMENT area about a hundred miles east as well. I’m hoping we can make it back to Capitol Reel again & spend at least a week there. Visiting places like this is not always the best after a long 2,000 mile drive. We need to come back again when this area is the destination & not a stop along the way.
SSSHHHHH, WE DON’T WANT TO WAKE ANYONE UP
BYE BYE CAPITOL REEF VISITOR’S CENTER
Driving separately we stopped at the Hickman Bridge Scenic Trail & thought we’d try the 1 mile hike to the scenic bridge. Capitol Reef does not allow dogs on the trails even with leashes & I must say that was a little discouraging for us at the Park. Kelly, feeling tired decided to stay in the rig with Pheebs. I did try the rocky uphill climbing hike but started out too fast & somewhere shy of half a mile my legs starting giving me some grief. I did enjoy watching a morning sunrise break over a ridge just south of the large rock formation called Capitol Dome though & that made my short hike worthwhile.
AT THE HICKMAN BRIDGE TRAILHEAD
THE FREMONT RIVER
I BEGIN MY HIKE ALONG THIS MAN MADE WALK-WAY
THAT IS CAPITOL DOME ON THE RIGHT
ALL THESE PHOTOS WERE TAKEN IN MORNING SHADOW
HIGHWAY 24 WINDS IT’S WAY THROUGH THE PARK
STANDING ON THE TRAIL I WATCHED SUNRISE APPEAR AT THE BOTTOM OF CAPITOL DOME
<<< TRAIL WAS A BIT ROCKY IN PLACES & EVERY STEP FORWARD WAS A STEP UP
I always get myself in a big hurry if I know someone is waiting for me. Had Kelly & Pheebs come along I know we could have taken our time & made it to the Hickman Bridge. The trail did remind me a bit of the Marshal South climb on California’s Ghost Mountain in a few spots.
LARGE LAVA ROCKS SCATTERED ON A HILLSIDE
HEADING BACK I CAN SEE THE RIG AHEAD
KELLY BLACKBERRIES A PHOTO FOR HER FACEBOOK PAGE
With Kelly leading in the Jeep Pheebs & brought up the rear in the rig as we headed off for Hanksville Utah. It’s a long drive but it’s such a beautiful drive. It was a gorgeous Autumn week-end yet there were not a lot of people at Capitol Reef & we figured folks didn’t want to make the long drive in to the Park & chance having bad late October weather.
CAPITOL REEF’S EAST ENTRANCE
MY NAVIGATOR WAS DOING A GREAT JOB UNTIL……..
SHE FELL ASLEEP
JUST WEST OF HANKSVILLE UTAH
Picked up some fuel in Hanksville & took an hour break in the gas station parking lot where we found a Verizon signal. I was able to publish my post but forgot to include a ‘cattle drive’ Live Writer photo album. Had planned on hooking up the Jeep in Hanksville but decided to drive both the rig & Jeep separate to Natural Bridges & that’s what we did. We had too much fuel in the Jeep & did not want to tow that extra weight up any long grades.
WE CLIMB A LONG GRADUAL GRADE AS WE HEAD EAST OUT OF HANKSVILLE WITH KELLY UP THERE LEADING THE WAY
JUST COULDN’T KEEP MY CAMERA OFF THE HENRY MOUNTAINS GOING BY ON THE PASSENGER SIDE
Highway 95 is designated as a Scenic Byway & it sure lives up to it’s reputation. A great piece of road with very little traffic, a few challenging grades, & seemingly endless miles of scenery nothing short of spectacular. Again, one of the nicest South-west drives we’ve ever been on. Have you noticed a pattern with me saying almost every drive we take is the nicest drive we have ever been on. Well it’s true & it happens over & over out here in the South-west. It’s just the way it is in these parts & why we love it so much here.
KELLY BRAKES FOR A SLOW MOVING RENTAL RV
A LEG STRETCH STOP AT A SCENIC REST AREA
MIGHT BE ANOTHER FACEBOOK PHOTO HAPPENING HERE
It was about a hundred mile drive from Hanksville to Natural Bridges & we both found ourselves very tired by the time we reached our day’s boondocking destination. Drives are very long & tiresome when there are no towns along the way or milepost signs telling a driver how many miles to the next destination. Without those indicators one has no idea how much farther they have to travel & it can become very tiresome indeed when it doesn’t feel like progress is being made. Luckily the scenery made the long drive totally worth while & very enjoyable.
KELLY’S DOING A GREAT JOB LEADING US THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS
DESCENDING AN 8% GRADE TO THE COLORADO RIVER AT RIGHT
NOTICE AGAIN THE ABSENCE OF TRAFFIC & WE BASICALLY HAD THE WHOLE ROAD TO OURSELVES AGAIN
KELLY REACHES & CROSSES OVER THE COLORADO RIVER
MY NAVIGATOR FINALLY WOKE UP
THE SCENERY JUST NEVER STOPS HERE IN THE SOUTH-WEST
THAT LARGE ROCK FORMATION IS KNOWN AS JACOB’S CHAIR
ALMOST AT OUR DESTINATION……I THINK
We knew of a boondocking spot just past the Natural Bridges turn-off so headed a short distance to highway 261 & made a right hand turn. Drove about 50 yards & turned left onto a dirt road. Half a mile down is a large partially graveled area known as an overflow area for Natural Bridges. It’s big rig friendly but we found out today the half mile road leading to it wasn’t. Recent rains had carved out some trenches & ruts. It was not impossible to get a big rig down the road but we opted not to do it. Besides we had just driven by a lane leading into cleared area with a corral to one side. I backed the Motorhome down the road & swung into the dirt lane & up into the corral pasture & that is where we spent the night just totally relaxing. We both felt drained again today & I must say we are so looking forward to reaching Congress soon.
In the morning we plan to slip back to the Natural Bridges Monument & spend some time looking around. Again, I look at this as another scouting trip for future travels & longer stays. From Natural Bridges we will continue our southern journey through Medicine Hat, Monument Valley, & Kayenta maybe stopping in Tuba City for the night. We’ll see how we feel when we get there.
We have us a lot of thinking to do this winter about future travel plans. This is our tenth winter season traveling to the South-west & I must admit I don’t think we ever thought we would get 10 years of travel in. Fact is I don’t know what we thought. We never did have a plan or a set number of years to travel we always took each year as it came with fingers firmly crossed we would could return another year. Oh how many times we have wished the American South-west wasn’t so far for us to travel to, how many times we have wished we were 10 or 20 years younger, & oh how we wished we could have found & made this RV Lifestyle possible much, much, sooner in life. And I know we are not alone with those thoughts.
When I stepped out of the Motorhome with Pheebs tonight I found myself under the darkest night sky I have ever been under. The sky was literally ablaze with starlight as the Milky Way stretched all the way down to the Southern Horizon. Constellation Cygnus the Swan is normally easily to pick out with it’s brighter stars set against a black sky but tonight Cygnus was harder to find & almost lost in the star glow behind as light from ka-zillions of unseen stars flooded the blackened background giving it an almost Moon glow affect. I don’t have the internet available to look up the facts about the dark night skies over Natural Bridges but I know Natural Bridges is designated as having one of the darkest night skies anywhere. DARK MIDNIGHT SKIES And I saw the Big Dipper like I never saw it before too. It was absolutely huge & it was sitting perfectly on a far off plateau just as if someone had set a big pot on a counter. We were also on high ground & as far as the eye could see there was not a single solitary light anywhere & not even a low horizon glow from a large distant city. Nothing, just inky blackness glowing from the light of endless stars. For me these are the kinds of things lasting memories are made of & anyone standing alone under a horizon to horizon star studded sky will understand what I mean………….
GROANER’S CORNER:(( I’ll get groaner’s corner going again when we have a stable internet connection which could be tonight or tomorrow.