Click here for a very short story about a girl and her new friend
From our camp, we headed up along the creek to what should have been a 5-6 mile hike. Unfortunately we missed the sign, which was sitting on a pile of rocks, by the way and our loop turning into a 10 mile out and back. None the less we made some amazing discoveries along the way.
Big Frog Wilderness is an amazing place. A 4,200ft peak, creeks, animals, and wonderful views we won't soon forget. And Tennessee has been both eye-opening and friendly, we will be back to explore you more.
The things you see and feel when you walk a road or trail with historical importance is so inspiring. Picketwire Canyon one-ups the historical value with Dinosaur footprints and fossils!
Not far from our camp at Vogel Canyon is an amazing place with old ruins of a church, one of the most successful ranches in Colorado, Rourke Ranch, and a large discovery of Dinosaur prints in what used to be a large lake. Walking from the parking and camping area (4-wheel is recommended past the corrals) you start a very steep descent for about 1/3 mile. 30-45 minutes into the hike you'll run into an old home, complete with what's left of a vehicle, water well and an old stove.
Then the mostly flat to rolling road/trail winds through the canyon and ranch land past an old cemetery.
But if you'd made it to the church and cemetery without a couple of detours and stops, you may have missed some great rock carvings. This area is full of historical graffiti from native peoples of this area. If you take this hike, or even bike the trail, don't forget to stop and admire these precious carvings.
Others may argue the best part are the Dinosaur footprints found after about a 5.5 mile hike into the canyon. To see all the prints, you'll likely get a little wet as the larger sections are across Purgatoire River.
But for me, it was my imagination, thinking about how and why, over hundreds and millions of years, this place attracted animals and humans alike.
We plopped Teardrop just off Willow Creek Road in a nice little spot with views of La Salle Mountain, red mounds and arches off in the distance. After spending a much needed down day working on some rig projects and being lazy, we headed East on Willow Creek to Arches. Willow Creek is what I'd call a mostly easy 4WD road, with about 1km of some rougher road. After entering the park we made a left up a somewhat difficult 4WD road to Eye of the Whale arch.
But our destination for the day was the 7-mile loop called Devils Garden. It's filled with numerous arches and some amazing views. Double O is a requirement on this hike, but really the beauty was the entire loop including the primitive trail. Though we seemed to agree it wasn't very primitive, it was, at times, a bit difficult to follow. But if you keep your eyes open and follow the obvious warn path along the slick rock, you'll be just fine. Also don't forget to take the side trail to Private Arch. Somewhat "new" it's tucked into a pocket at the end of the trail.
We headed back to Arches the next day to visit Windows which was equally stunning, worth every step and view.
Moab... I guess I was confused what "Moab" was... I thought it was an area, but honestly it's just a town. But of course Moab means off-road, trails, mountain bikes and everything extreme. If you are serious about dirt, come here for anything from easy to extreme.
White Rim (Road) Trail. First, getting this permit was more time consuming than my JMT permit. It's a process and one that does require some thought. Bruce, our ranger with over 20 years experience made this processes not only informative but thoughtful. He helped with our location choices and route as I've never experienced before. Bruce clearly had this trail down and knew every bend and view possible.
Due to the season, not only was our permit free, but we had to enter WRT via Potash. This cut off about 15-ish miles of trail that is closed during the Winter months due to snow and ice. None-the-less we were off on our adventure to see Canyonlands from the middle section... Where few(er) dare to travel.
We drove the loop clockwise and to be honest, the first 20 miles was rough. Not difficult, but very slow going and undulating. By the time we arrived at our first camp, Airport, we were beat up! Day 2 heading to Murphy was gorgeous! The road was difficult but so stunning it was worth every inch and bump. Murphy hill was quite the climb... I didn't take any chances pulling Teardrop so 4-low and rear lockers were engaged. Though I'm glad I did, i'm sure lockers were not needed and I didn't engage them for the rest of the trip despite several more difficult sections including the climb up hardscrabble. Speaking of, day 3 and 4 were spent at Hardscrabble which allowed us some lovely time next to Green River and hiking around the area.