Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, May 7-8

When we were at the visitor center in Dinosaur, Utah, I met a couple that had traveled from Arkansas and were just raving about Flaming Gorge. National Recreation Area.   They were so enamored with the area that they were thinking about not continuing there travels to the other areas of Utah and just staying at Flaming Gorge for the remainder of there trip.  OK, I'll bite.  We headed to Flaming Gorge before making our push to Reno.

Most of the campgrounds were not open yet, and the one that was open didn't have water.  The sign informed a discount was given and the campground would be $23 instead of $25.00.  To me, that's pretty steep for dry camping and not much of a discount.

Unfortunately, the weather turned ugly and the flaming red rocks were muted to say the least.  In fact, Red Canyon was socked it with rain and clouds so I didn't even take one photo.  However, we did take the tour of the dam which was interesting....for a small dam, which goes nearly 420 down.   The docent was interesting and provided lots of information and history.  I've toured Hoover Dam which is spectacular and no comparison to Flaming Gorge, but the tour of Flaming Gorge Dam was much more personal and was well worth the time.

Flaming Gorge Dam:
 View of the Green River from the top of the dam:

 Look closely and you can see trout.  They gather at the bottom of the dam where water temps are perfect.
 The dam is very full this year.
 View of part of the Flaming Gorge Rec area:
It was recommended we drive the Sheep Creek Canyon  which is a designated Geologic Loop.  Part of the loop was closed but most of the unusual rock formation were visible.

 Red Canyon is another highlight of the Gorge, but it was socked in.  However, we did see a herd of Big Horn Sheep.  This guy just stood still while I snapped pictures.

I also caught this little guy.  I think he is a marmot.  

It poured rain  and spit snow the whole time,  so Mothers Day was celebrated leaving Flaming Gorge in pursuit of some drying weather.

The best part of the day was receiving a text from my son and daughter-in-law:

We continued towards Salt Lake City, spending the night at Rockport State Park where we snagged water and electric hookups.  Yes, the weather did clear in the morning.  Now there will be a serious push to Reno.

Dinosaur National Monument, May 4-6, 2016

We continued to travel on highway 14 from Walden where it intersects with Highway 40 and then  followed Highway 40 to  Steamboat Springs. My goodness, Steamboat Springs is a mini Vale and lots of traffic so we continued on and our final stop which  was Dinosaur National Monument.

What a pleasant surprise this place is.  It is really diverse and not just dinosaur stuff.  There are several entrances to the monument and it meanders it way  through Utah and Colorado.  Two days was not enough time to explore everything, but we crammed as much as we could in two days.

Spit Mountain. The Green River splits the mountain, rather than going around it.

The Green River runs through the monument and the only campground that was open sits within a stones throw of the river. If you look closely, you can see the trailer.

The Dinosaur Quarry is the highlight of the park and the only place to see dinosaur fossils.  Earl Douglass discovered the dinosaur quarry in 1909. A quarry was set up in 1915 to protect the fossils and later expanded. The "bone wall" contains thousands of fossils in relief.

Wow, that is a huge bone.

After exploring the dinosaur quarry we drove the Harpers Corner Auto Tour which provided vast vistas of canyons and mountains.

Echo Park is another interesting segment of the monument.  The dirt road takes off from Harpers Corner is winding and steep in places. It terminates at Echo Park and the confluence of the Green River and Yampa River.  You can see a tiny section of the road in the middle of the pictures near the river.
More Echo Park Road
Lots of interesting rock formations

The Chew Ranch.  The Chews were one of the original homesteaders in the area.  Mr. Chew eventually sold his ranch to the Park Service.

A prototype of an Airstream?
 Including built-ins:
 The monument also contains many petroglyphs.  This one was made by the Fremont Indians.  Most of the petroglyph sites are not listed.  This one is now more than 30 feet off the ground. This is an unusual petroglyph because it is made of dots.  Look towards the left of the photograph.
 One of the high canyon walls on the way to Echo Park.
 The entrance to Echo Park
 The confluence of the Green River and Yampa River.

This heard of deer  were pretty curious.
Another auto tour was the Tilted Rock Auto Tour.  The drive follows the river.

 Titled rocks.
 The Tilted Rock Tour ends at the Josie Morris homestead.  Josie Morris was a very independent woman who built her cabin and lived without the accoutrements of the 20th century.  She lived on her homestead until the age of 89 doing all of the work required by herself.
 A few steps away from the homestead was this box canyon.

This is one of those places you want to spend more than a couple of days if you are into exploring and hiking.  It is under utilized and as I said before I was really pleasantly surprised because I expected so much less.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Cache la Poudre River -North Park and Scenic Byway , May 3, 2016

The Cache la Poudre river runs through Ft Collin and we traveled on Highway 287 outside of Ft Collins to Highway 14, known as the Cache La Poudre  Scenic By Way which follows along the Cache la Poudre Canyon.  This is one curvey and steep drive  and it is something Joel would have never attempted in the 40 foot Beaver and I probably would have struggled driving my Born Free with car in tow.  He is finding there is a whole different RV world out there traveling in the Airstream Trailer.

The Cache la Poudre River Canyon is steep and rugged and the river is one of the few federal designated wild and scenic rivers.  The drive follows the rugged canyon and tops out at Cameron Pass with spectacular views of North Park.  The drive continues as North Park to the little town of Walden.  

We breezed through this tunnel.

Steep and rugged canyon walls along the Cache la Poudre River Canyon.

A stop at a beautiful little picnic area and a chance for Tara to swim in the crystal clear waters.  The water was really cold, so she didn't stay in it too long.

These bighorn sheep  were licking salt along the road.  They still have their heavy winter coats on.

 Cache la Poudre falls.  

 At the bottom of Cameron Pass looking back

 This was the only moose we saw.  It greeted us at the visitor center at the bottom of Cameron Pass.

We continued on down to Walden located in a vast bowl shape known as North Park surrounded Rabbit Ears, Never Summer mountains. 

Vistas from our overnight spot at the Kiosk at Walden.