Desert Trip 2022, Tour De Hanksville (UT)

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K5 Camper guy
Day one.



The Colorado crew departs from Larry’s house at 6:30.



The sky is grey overcast and it’s cool. Very un-Pueblo-like, but it makes going to desert much more inviting. I rethought all that when I saw 107 degrees on my outside temp a couple of days later.





We head west on highway 50 and pass though Canon City and enter the canyon cut by the Arkansas river and follow it up to Salida. Bill is leading and setting the pace. We are talking to each other on the radios while driving through a light rain.




We did have a quick pit stop in Salida to use the facilities and grab road snacks/drinks. They were out of fuel though.




We proceed west along highway 50. Our first and biggest mountain pass was in front of us and I radio ahead to Bill about hijacking the fuel transport in front of him. But I get no response back. I look down to see my radio shut off.



Coming up the cloudy Monarch Pass:






This is pretty normal as my radio has an annoying feature that it shuts itself off if it is on for two hours. With it tied directly to the aux battery, it’s not a bad idea to keep the feature on as it prevents me from leaving it on after I park the truck and the radio kills the battery. So you just have to turn it back on. Nope. Not today. Power button is in responsive. Uh-oh.




I fire off a quick text telling him what’s up and to have Bill stop at the summit of the pass so I can inspect. Maybe it blew a fuse. We chug our way to the top where it was a chilly 45 degrees and I break out my volt meter to check it out.




There are inline fuses on both ends of the power lead and visually they look ok. So with the fuse holder open closest to the radio I check the voltage. It’s right at system voltage. Hmm. I’ve got my spare handheld radio I can use but it’s hard to hear it driving with the windows open at speed. But it’s all I can do because it looks like my main radio is dead at this point.




I pull mine out of the console and it’s not fully charged so Larry gave me his spare that was charged up. We slide back down the pass and encounter a newer Grand Cherokee pulling a teardrop trailer from Missouri. We end up passing the Jeep and then we heard a different voice on the radio asking for a radio check. Using GMRS we do pick up other people on the same channel from time to time. So Larry responds and the guy asked if we were in the squarebody campers in front of him. He complemented on all our rides and thought they were cool.




Conversation complete we rolled into Gunnison and topped off fuel (I got just a tick over 17mpg on that run, best so far with the 8.1). Fleeced well at the gas station we passed another 89-91 K5 rolling through town who gave us the thumbs up as we got by him.






Directly out of Gunnison is Blue Mesa Reservoir. It is lower than I’ve ever seen it. Sad really, but there were still many out on the water. We hit construction on the next little pass but nothing major.



Now on the western slope we boogied through Montrose and Delta to Grand Junction.



We are making good time and comparing with our fellow desert rats coming in from California, Arizona and southern Utah we had time to eat lunch.




After some good BBQ we gassed up again before hitting I-70 and pushing west again.







The run had us going past the Town of Green river and then turning south on state highway 24.

Coming down 24:



Those mountains on the left will be important later..





By about now I’m almost deaf. With no a/c and blasting down the interstate at 75-80 mph and the wind buffeting against the camper the sound was extreme. The stereo was cranked but couldn’t be heard much over the wind. Forget about hearing the handheld radio. I’d have to put it right to me ear to hear anything from it.




The heat was shooting up into the 90’s outside so driving with the windows up was not an option. But we eventually made it to our meet up spot in Hanksville and bought an ice cream bar at the gas station to cool off with and cold bottle of water. We refueled again and grabbed anything else we might have forgot while we waited for the rest to pull in.

Waiting in Hanksville:







The gas station is pretty cool cut out of the rock on the hillside.










Thirty minutes in our friends Ty and his wife Jody arrived in their 4x4Inn as the plate says. That’s them behind the white van:





Since our last trip he’s rebuilt the camper as it almost got destroyed bouncing in the back of the truck as he yanked Larry’s truck up the Flint switchbacks 2 years ago. He’s also upgraded to kings on all four corners to complement the Carli suspension parts he already had onboard. The 24valve 6-speed manual is humming along as always. We greet each other and catch up while we wait for the others.




The next to arrive is Tony. He’s retired from UPS and now coming out of St. George UT. He’s been out on previous Desert trips but in a Rubicon Jeep or his super duty. This time he had a Lexus LX470, otherwise known as a Toyota Prado in other countries. Really simple but with an old man emu lift the it tackled everything with ease.

Here he is with Don pulling up:





Last but not least is Don out of AZ. His Power Wagon is a little different with a new front bumper and Method wheels. It’s just a killer setup when combined with the Four Wheel Camper in the bed.







***Contunued….
 

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K5 Camper guy
I should introduce the Colorado crew since I didn’t do it earlier. Larry and Bill are the original Desert Rats. They started this annual cruise into the desert over a decade ago.



Larry’s K10 is like most, it’s ever evolving. Though most of the heavy lifting was done after the 2020 trip when the truck tried to rip itself in half. The truck no longer has the spaghetti type flex in the frame it once did. He fixed some nagging issues from last year’s trip and it was ready to ride.





Bill’s truck is pretty awesome in it’s own right. It’s a unicorn of a Power Wagon. The rare regular cab, 8 foot bed version. Only thing more uncommon is a regular cab manual trans Waggy. It’s perfect for him as the topper he added has allowed him to have some cozy living quarters off road. So much so he’s put 30,000 miles on it since it bought it a year and a half ago. What’s not to like in a truck with factory front and rear e-lockers and electric unlocking front swaybar.





Last and probably least, me. The narrator, map minder and off road trail boss. Little upgrades completed since the last trip the other Big Block squarebody camper was ready for another trip.





The band is back together again. Three Rams (two waggys), Two Squarebodies and a lone Lexus. Not a bad group of trucks and even better folks to hang out with.









With everyone accounted for we went ahead and aired down as our first dirt section was 1000 feet to our west leading south into the Henry Mountains. Huh? Mountains, this is our annual foray into the desert what’s the deal right? If we want to climb mountains we can do that at home. Fear not, the payoff for the mountain run comes on Day two.

The Henrys rising from the desert floor like an oasis of green trees in a desert landscape of tan/red cliffs and canyons.




I will admit when the group elects me as resident route planner and trail boss some decisions are made that might slant in my direction a wee little bit. In this case gaining elevation off of the desert floor would be a welcome relief to the sweat-fest I was enjoying down low. Just as planned the temps came down as we gained elevation. It was in the 70’s where I found a great site to park all the trucks. That was 25 degrees less than Hanksville but stopping at 6,800 feet of elevation couldn’t have been more perfect. Higher up might have required the furnace.










Camp is set up quickly and we get right back into swapping stories. With a long road day completed dinner was kept simple. Snacks and sandwiches for most.


With dinner completed and cleaned up we go back to bs’ing.





Part of the group had gone off on a little hike to find some petroglyphs on a rock below camp somewhere.








Checking out the history:









Looking back at the way we came in.







I broke out my drone for the first time on the trip. Good fight, video, and still pics of the area. Really fun for sure and got some great shots up there.



The trail in from the North we came in on.







Looking West from a couple of hundred feet over the camp.







Take a look down at the camp from above:

















We eventually break out the campfire in a can and talk later into the night. Tired from a long road day we all called it a night and hit the hay.





Day 2 the Henry’s.
 

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K5 Camper guy
Day 2.



We all get up and move into our routine of closing down camp and get ready for another trail day. This day we are going to climb over Bull Creek pass. A major elevation change.



The trail winds through pine and aspen forests as we gain elevation.



Further and further up we went.



We took a pit stop at another camp spot further up the mountain. It also happened to have a nice pit toilet, which you learn not to pass these up.





Eventually we end up above tree line. The views are looking east into Canyonlands. Amazing. Simply amazing. It was the method to my madness of trail selection. Yes, elevation menu cooler temps. But the view at the top was the main focal point.















After taking our photos and standing and staring east into the amazing landscape we eventually push on. The trail continues to twist up and around the side of the mountain. The summit is reached on a northern face and we began our decent down the west side.

The Summit:





The interesting point here is the Henry’s have two national parks it sits in between. We saw Canyonlands to the east and now we were looking west into Capital Reef national park.


Which meant more amazing views. As we descend I saw a spur on my map that led out to a lookout point to the west. I think it was a Ham repeater shack that we stopped near but the views were stellar again.







Photos snapped we rejoin the group and keep going down. The trail darn near made a complete loop as we got lower we ended up on the southeast face of the mountain where we ate lunch. It started to sprinkle a little as we finished up.

Lunch Spot:







Rain was top of mind as just two days earlier monsoon fed thunderstorms nailed the area causing flash flooding and catching many off guard. Three off-roaders got caught somewhere in Capitol Reef and required rescue, leaving the trucks to be recovered later.



A good chunk of many of the trails we were on were running up or down dry river washes or at least crossing them many times. This threat loomed over us so we all kept a watchful eye on the sky. Strangely enough we were not picking up anything on 7 different NOAA weather frequencies.



As we continue our decent the scenery changes. The tall pines give way to shorter shrubs.













****Continued…
 

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K5 Camper guy




Somewhere during our decent where it was steep enough to require dropping into Granny gear to avoid cooking the brakes my truck developed another exhaust leak. First just a small one, then as we continued it progressively got worse. I stopped at a small ranch house to investigate.





We all took a short break and some explored while I looked things over.









Like from a slight tick to a full on demo derby car with no exhaust system at all. Running downhill the truck went just fine but climbing back up little hills caused it to struggle. The further we went the worse it got. Where we eventually hit pavement and had to cover 30 or so miles to the next trail.

Airing back up again:



Now trying to go up little hills on the road at faster speeds the truck struggled and slowed way down.



I was pretty annoyed and I think everyone heard that in my voice when questions came over the radio. I was pretty certain that it blew out another donut at the exhaust manifold outlet on the driver side. I had a spare used one that I saved when I went through this mess on the last trip. But getting under the truck with it smoking hot and still in the upper 90’s outside was not appealing at all.



We made it back to highway 24 right at the entrance to Capitol Reef and there was a little rest area with restrooms and paved parking area. Ty had gone around me as he was choking on the overly rich fumes my truck was spewing out. He was already in the rest area waiting for us.





I pulled in behind him, somewhat defeated and extremely hot, I get my head together and hop out to make sure we know where the problem is. Tools are pulled out and we try to tighten the flange and start the truck up again. Nada. No improvement. Tony was watching from under the hood and noticed the sleeve from the donut just rattling around as Larry revved the engine up. Sure enough the donut was wasted.







At this point before I could tell him no, Bill is under the truck pulling the sleeve from the pipe. I fetch the spare out of the back of the truck.





Having already been used we were concerned that it’s already been compressed to a certain point we may not be able to squish it enough to seal. Larry wondered if we had something we could wrap the donut with to “thicken” it up a little. I laughed and remembered I had a roll of aluminum tape under my front seat (no storage place is unused in my truck) from my reflectex installation. I retrieved the roll and showed it to Larry and he felt it was exactly what we needed. While Bill handled dealing with the studs on the manifold I went to work on the “orb of sealing”. I wrapped a few layers around the donut and trimmed the excess off with my knife. We deemed it needed more so I put another 8 layers on it and trimmed it up again.



The “Orb of Sealing” before trimming:





The Orb after trimming up.







By now everyone in the group has participated in one-way or another but it was a group effort. Bill checked out the orb and deemed it good to go so he dove back under and installed it. I provided the pulling power needed to get the pipe down low enough to get the donut in.



We double nutted the studs to kill the possibility of any backing off and causing the problem again. Larry fired the engine again and now all the noise went out the tailpipes where it’s supposed to go. I put away tools and clean up as a tourist in a Honda about fuel hits us up.



This lady passed two gas stations in Hanksville never looking at her fuel gauge and now was on “e” with the low fuel light on. I had 15 gallons on the back of my rig for Bill and I, Larry had 10 for himself. We would have gladly given her some if Larry hadn’t used the downtime to dump fuel in all three of our trucks. Tony still had a jerry can full and offered to give her a couple of gallons.





She was super appreciative of the gesture. Though I did ask her where she was from and she said New Jersey proudly. I replied, its no wonder Jersey girls don’t pump gas anyway. I got a laugh out of her at least as she still was looking a little stressed.



Roadside assistance completed we saddled back up and went a mere 10 miles east on 24 to our next trail.







We made the turn to dirt and went back into the routine of airing down.





At that point a plain white Expedition pulled up and rolled the window down. It was a volunteer ranger from Capital Reef NP. Asked where we were going and if we were aware of the potential for flash flooding in the area. We already knew about the flooding in Capital Reef that stranded three off roaders when they got caught off guard. She said the weather report had afternoon storms in the forecast and that brings with it flash flooding in the normally dry river washes. She broke out her map showed me where she came from and I showed her our plan. She was only making sure we were aware to be safe. I explained our combined experience, each of us carrying either a garmin InReach or spot device for emergency location but also the fact that we are prepped for a full week of travel. If rain did come and make roads impassable we could ride it out and stay put until the ground firms up. Satisfied she wished us well and continued on her way.



Ready to go ourselves we take off.





The target was a site we camped at two years ago and it’s not too much up the trail from the highway. This site is about the only option since we already knew there weren’t other options further up. It’s at the base of two large hills of this moonscape dirt and out of the way from any main drainage.





Speaking of the drainage we could see signs of how much water flowed through the area on the way up. The normally dry wash was close to 500 feet wide at one point. It looked like it could get ugly if the rains go off again.

Camp action:



Storm clouds brewing:





****Continued…
 

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K5 Camper guy
Which once we got camp set up we was preparing to cook dinner when the rain rolled in. Crap! You could just look at the ground and tell this stuff was going to turn into gooey slimy clay. I grab a couple of beers out of my fridge and hop into Larry’s camper to hang out while the rain continues. Just before we climb in, Larry and I witnessed something very cool. On the cliff face in the background we saw a rockslide fall into the canyon. The sound was so cool and once it was done, nobody would know it had just happened.



Everyone else retreated to their respective rides to do the same.



Larry cooked up a side dish for dinner and we just hang out and catch up. After a half hour we can see the skies clear and the rain let up a bunch. Eventually I can see Don out getting stuff situated again and Ty and Jody are out. I pop out the door and first thing they all recommend is loose the foot ware. Go barefoot as it’s way easier to cleanup as the mud is sticking like mad. I kick my Tevas off on the gate and get down to the ground. Yep. It’s ooey gooey. Really smooth actually and felt pretty good.



You can see our tracks running around:





Bill has his stove out on the gate of his truck and he’s got marinated pork chops going for tacos. He brought fresh salsa and chopped up and onion and I bring over the cheese and tortillas. Larry brings the pasta side dish and some roasted green chilies to chop up.



Bill cooked the pork perfectly and cubed it up for our tacos. We eat quite well on these trips and these tacos were insane.







Everyone else cooked up something yummy, though I was too busy stuffing my face to find out what it was.




Ty cleaning his feet on Don’s tires:





I broke out the drone for another flight and got some great shots. I started low and buzzing camp. Thought it would be funny to get close to Larry. A few years back on a snow run I pulled a drone out that was nothing more than toy quality. Tried to launch off the hood of his Suburban and the wind caught it and blew the drone right into Larry’s face. Blades whirring at full speed and all. Needless to say he was not happy. So I kept my distance this time.





I took the drone up and took more shots from over our campsite.







Given the size of the hill next to camp it took some altitude to see the sunset this time around.









Eventually the campfire in a can came out and we gathered around enjoying the conversation. Soon the need to sleep took over and most turn in. I make another attempt at taking night sky shots. This time with my Iphone and I am shocked at the results.









After stumbling around in the dark for a little while I hit the sack like the rest.
 

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K5 Camper guy
Day 3



By now we are in the full routine. But our late nights are keeping us from venturing out to catch the sunrise. But the morning dew added a little more moisture to the dirt. Meaning it’s barefoot time still.



We all pack up and are ready for the run today. I managed to sort out the electrical issue with my radio so I could actually hear people again. I call out the turn and we point the trucks north to head to Factory Butte and then further into the moonscape.









As the previous days have gone, the trails aren’t crazy rock crawling technical. There are some challenging climbs or drops down that require full attention but the most part it’s unimproved roads with some spicy spots.






We are miles or better off paved roads so going nuts rock crawling is risky when you need to drive the beast home. Our trucks are capable if we run into some things but my plan was to not focus on the crawling as much.




The trail winds through the crazy grey dirt mounds eventually getting out on top and then diving back into a wash for a while. We pull up to a trail intersection at Factory Butte and head left.





The trail climbs again and then comes around a blind corner and opens up to a wide flat landscape that has such a lunar-like look to it. Just stunning and I’ve never seen anyplace like it. So cool.







You end up climbing up and over the mounds as the trail continues. We turn again and find a wide valley with a surprising amount a green in it. That green is hiding Muddy Creek somewhere within it.





A creek we will have to cross to proceed. My previous Gaia track led me right to it and I stop to inspect with the group. It’s a steep entry into the water and the water is moving fairly quickly. You can see a higher waterline from the recent rains too. No recent tracks either. So with the group watching over me I put the trans in low gear and creep into the water.



It’s steep enough and deep enough that my front bumper enters the water. I start applying power and it’s not going anywhere. Crap. I put it in reverse and it’s pretty obvious to those outside my front wheels aren’t driving.



My hubs are well under water and the creek is living up to its name as it looks like a river of chocolate milk. We need to check the hubs but I’m not quite ready to go swimming. So Larry hooked up his which an tugged my Blazer back up to higher ground.



Sure enough the left hub was unlocked. I think I unlocked it on the last air up, but missed doing the other side. But it don’t work unlocked. Ty locked it in and Don checked the other and confirmed it was locked. I dropped back in and had a hump on the creek floor to go over. It took a couple of tries but I packed it down and drove out of the creek. The rest crossed with ease behind me.



More moonlike landscapes.













I found a spot in the crook of one of the dry riverbed where the wall provided some shade to stop for lunch.






We compared fuel levels and all agreed we could make a run back to Hanksville to refuel and resupply.



Now entering Ding and Dang canyons.





So after lunch we exited the canyon and pounded a little pavement to take a dirt shortcut back to highway 24 past Goblin Valley state park.





***Continued…
 

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K5 Camper guy
The Henry Mountains on the horizon give an idea of the ground we had covered in two days.





The trail is a fun one with a lot of sand to cruise through. We came back to highway 24 and was far enough out of Hanksville to need to air up again. While doing so Bill and I both heard a horrible dragging noise as a car sped down the road with a pop up trailer behind it and dragging a large 5 gallon orange water container under the front of the trailer. Shortly after passing us the container exploded all over the road sending orange and white plastic shards everywhere.



We laughed.



Aired up we sped back to Hanksville and topped off again. Tony decided to split off to go find a family mining claim. Truck count down to five we head south another 1/2 mile and make a left turn to the east to run a trail that skirts the rim of the canyon the Dirty Devil River runs through. We got close to the river in the canyon but with dark skies to the west we all agreed to keep moving and gain elevation for safer camping. The new trail now has us heading east with the sun behind us in the afternoon.





We loop back away from the river and find we are running in dry fluffy sand. Almost like flour.







On our way up we hit a deep sandy climb that was quite the challenge. Fun to hit sand but as Don found out too hard to run in 2wd. He got stuck good. Myself and Ty had already got up and over and moved up to a higher spot expecting all to follow. Radio chatter proved what was the delay. Don needed help so Larry and Bill went back for the rescue. It took a few tugs with Don’s Yankum kinetic rope but once he realized the problem and shifted into 4hi he popped right over.







The crisis tended to we started moving again noting the dark cloud is getting closer. Efforts are stepped up to find a spot to camp at. The track was dead straight and I could see a corral a ways out.



It was big enough for all. Pretty basic but It did have a great view of the Henry mountains.







The rain blew through quickly and didn’t make the mess it did the night before. I cooked up some Marinated flank steak for another run of tacos.







Again amazing with the fresh salsa and roasted chilies.





The drone went up again for more shots. I caught Ty and Jody out for a walk.







Good camp shots.













Looking back on the Henry’s.





*** Continued…
 

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K5 Camper guy
Day 4



We woke up to another great morning at the cow corral. As we go through our morning chores Larry had some unfinished business with a tablet he was going to use for his navigation on the trip. He had all his maps loaded with my tracks and the morning we left it would not turn on. Attempts were made to revive it but frustration won out and Larry advised we were going to go “office space” on it at some point on the trip. That point was now.



Bill pulled out a sweet little “pistol” and Larry set the target out in the dirt. It still didn’t power up after it had a few .223 sized holes punched in it. Larry was satisfied and we finished packing up to move out again.





Larry getting his caffeine fix.





The trail cut back to the east to a nice overlook point of the canyon cut by the Dirty Devil river.



Much to our surprise Larry zoomed in on the map on his phone to find it was indeed named “Larry’s Canyon”.



Pretty cool, though Don did quip it was a bit shallow. We took in the sights and stretched out a little before taking off again.







That’s a wellhead poking up out of the ground there.





The trail points us back at the Henry’s again.









The next target trail was only a mile or two down the highway from where this one ended.



Poison Spring Canyon was the next to hit. It was funny to compare notes as Larry, Ty and Jody, our buddy Ian and myself hit this trail two years ago. Don had realized he was on it also that year with another guy after we split up the large group after Reds canyon. They were probably no more than an hour or two behind us that time.



The trail starts into another little canyon.









Now this is my opinion, but Poison Spring Canyon is the coolest and most picturesque way to get to Canyonlands. It’s very similar to the Grand Canyon but the key thing is you can drive it. From one side down to the Dirty Devil River and back to the other side. It’s a place where you really can’t have a bad view or take a bad picture.



The trail drops into the first of three distinct separate canyons. The first being the tightest of all. It’s another dry wash but since far the weather is clear for the area. The wash seems much more rocky than last time.









I think the blow sand was washed out by the previous flash flooding in the canyon. Travel through it is slower but it just gives us longer to enjoy the view.





Eventually I find a shady spot in the canyon to have lunch.











***Continued
 

zoomad75

K5 Camper guy
With our bellies fueled up we took back off. I came into an oasis with leafy cottonwoods and water. I was pretty far ahead so I stopped for a soak with my feet to cool off. Maybe take a pic or two.





Same canyon, slightly different spot two years earlier, truck is slightly different too:









I won’t lie I almost went all the way in by accident. I walked behind the truck and found the tire ruts were a solid foot deeper than up front. Stepped into the rut and kept going when my foot didn’t hit bottom where I thought it would.





Given the heat I probably would have been dry in minutes but the water was more like chocolate milk and full of bugs. I let the guys catch up and we take back off again.



Eventually we spill out into the next larger canyon.



That one leads to a really steep decent into the main canyon.







The improved granny gear on my truck was making short work of the steep downhill runs.











We make it to the Dirty Devil river crossing. I park on the bank and immediately walk out in the river to check the depth and cool off.







Again, the water is fitting of the name as it’s brown. Two years ago the depth was barely to my ankle. Now it’s darn near to my knee at it’s deepest.





Looking at the banks showed a much higher level and zero evidence of any recent crossing. This was going to be fun.





The entry to the river is pretty shallow and at a low angle. The exit goes up quickly and the bank was really soft and gooey. Crossing the river itself was easy as it had a firm rocky bottom. I squared up to the bank and fed it some beans. I got the front tires up the bank but the rears were in a hole and felt like they needed to get over a hump.



I backed down for another shot and I noticed the ruts I created close up due to the firm pudding-like mud. In the end it took four runs at it to pave the way and pop over the bank. The rest cruise right up the bank that I paved the way for them. I park up from the bank to give everybody room and come back to take pics of the rest crossing. I figured they would wait for me. They must not have got the memo because I barely caught them. Here’s Ty getting up the bank.



Don’s turn:





****Continued
 

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K5 Camper guy
The long climb up and out of the canyon begins right away. We wind up and around as we go. With each switchback we climb the river below gets smaller and smaller again.






The views are so epic it’s almost a distraction. This section is a shelf so there’s a good risk to going over if you aren’t paying attention. So it’s best to stop and snap pics rather than driving and taking pics at the same time. Pictures like this take me back to childhood playing with Hotwheels in the dirt having an imaginary adventure.



Same trucks, just from below instead of above.













I got to a great spot to take a group shot when some smart guy (Larry) recommended to send the drone out and take the pics that way.



I’ve got a grand total of maybe 30 minutes flight time with fairly calm winds and there’s a definite added risk off of the side of a canyon and the winds were higher than I’ve had flown in yet. I only get it a few feet off the trail and you can see the drone is struggling to stay stable. So I take it higher and fly out over the edge, because I’m smart that way. I fumble around and click off a couple of pics and barely record video as the drone is now dropping below the trail with a strong downdraft negating the upward thrust I give it.



Not quite full panic mode I keep giving it throttle to climb. It barely crests the trail side and get the drone over the trail and get it on the ground. Whew.



Moving on, the trail gets to a point it winds along the base of a large butte. In and out of individual fingers of the larger canyon.



We are spending just and much time going north and south as we make an easterly heading to the climb out.



It’s pretty cool to note that outside of the volunteer park ranger we passed on the trail on day two we haven’t passed anybody else all week. That’s partially by design heading into this area in June when it’s hot as hell. Plus weekdays limit the weekend warriors.



I happened see a white Jeep Rubicon coming at me. I think are streak got broken. He pulled to the side to let me pass and I stop to see it’s a park ranger from Canyonlands national park. He asked where we were going and how the river crossing was. He was heading this way to warn anybody of the continued threat of flash flooding in the forecast. He was headed back to the highway and appreciated our report on how the crossing was. He said all that rain that flooded Capitol Reef all drains into the Dirty Devil river. The park service has a flow gauge at the crossing and they measured 1,200 cubic feet per minute. As in a lot of water. We got lucky it was low enough to cross.



The Ranger was cool to talk to. He waited for everyone to pass before proceeding.



It was about then I could see more dark clouds to the west and we didn’t want to make it to the final climb if it was wet.


The climb drops right back down the other side. Steep too.







The campsite isn’t much further and we make it there well before the storm.















Happy hour before dinner was well earned..





We had enough time to cook up some great steaks and pasta for dinner. Bills grill didn’t seem to have a big enough flame to cook right so we took the regulator apart to find out why. The oriface on the inlet side was too restrictive so we opened it up a little. Bingo. Good flame. Bill cooked the steak while I cooked up the pasta. It was yummy as usual and we hung out again until dark.













***Continued
 

zoomad75

K5 Camper guy
Day 5



Last full trail day. From our campsite under the orange cliffs of Glen canyon we were again under overcast skies and according to the NOAA station I was monitoring it was going to be that way until later in the day.







Loose plans were set to get to the end of the trail near Hite and pound pavement to Mexican hat for fuel and supplies. From there we would venture into Valley of the Gods and find a place for the night.



Southbound we head on the trail to Hite.







We follow around buttes and in and out of washes the entire way down.



Another picturesque drive even with the low clouds. It’s pretty rare to see rain in these parts so it adds to the experience.





Rain comes and goes through the drive but it never got to a full blown downpour. But it was enough to cut the dust down on the trail.









We make our way back to the highway and proceed to air up again.







Bill is leading the way now and we cross the bridge over the Colorado River and head to the Moki dugway.






While on the highway we caught another group using the same GMRS channel that we were on. We passed the group of Overland Jeeps going the other way. It was pretty funny as they totally thought Don’s Power Wagon the was the one from the YouTube channel TrailRecon. They kept calling it Brad’s truck. It was pretty funny.



We ran out of range for the others and made it to the dugway. The Moki Dugway is a road cut out of the side of a sheer cliff that takes you down to the floor of the Valley of the Gods. It’s just a lot of switchbacks but the dirt road is wide enough for two way traffic. The ride down is fun.





















We get back to pavement and run down the highway to the town of Mexican Hat. The refuel and restock mission complete we head back out to Valley of the Gods.





It’s still early but we were due for some extended time to veg out and soak in the scenery.





Bill finds a great spot over a bend in a dry wash. It’s a 360 degree view but the best is looking west with another storm rolling in.




We can sit back and relax in the sun and have some beverages.







***** Continued..
 

zoomad75

K5 Camper guy
















A view from Bill’s house looking out.





Siesta time..





Larry prepped the outside shower off the side of his camper. The privacy enclosure was hosed from the wind two nights before. So we got to shower Al fresco (individually of course). Keep this in mind anybody with wheels can drive through the Valley of the Gods, as it’s a basic wide dirt road. So basic that as I’m butt ass naked soaping up I notice a family in a minivan cruise by. Thankfully the road was a few hundred feet away and I had the driver side door open for a towel rack. I stepped behind the door to spare the horror on the folks driving by.





Still the shower hit the spot. Cleaning up with wet wipes just don’t cut it. Refreshed and cleaned up I rejoined the group and we hung out in the shade of Bill’s truck.















Desert Rats..





I had the task of whipping up dinner this night and had an easy one planned. Shaved steak to fry up for some cheesesteak sandwiches.



Quick and easy on the stove with the griddle on it. Add some cheese, throw a lid on to melt the cheese and toast the bun with a little butter. So good.





Bill was able to get some great shots of the landscape with the late afternoon sun and storm moving through in the distance.
















Pictures are great to share, but they absolutely do not do the land justice from how it looks in person. I caught myself just staring out into the view in awe. This is one of those places you just have to see to believe. It’s amazing.





I took the drone up for the longest flight yet. Great shots for sure of the camp and the scenery.





*** Continued…
 

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