On Thursday we left Williams headed to Cortez, CO and Mesa Verde NP. Along the way we stopped off at Four Corners. Four Corners is the intersection of 4 states: Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. A very nice facility has been built there and it includes booths where native Americans can show there arts and crafts. Jean, Joan and I all did our part to contribute to the local economy. Several of our readers will benefit from our purchases later this year (see Christmas, birthdays, etc)
|Cliff Palace - Mesa Verde NP|
|The Road to Moab - La Sal Mountains just east of town|
|That's HWY 191 below our vantage point on Gemini Trail|
|Look Behind the Arch to see the washout|
|Joan on top of the Arch|
Sunday we drove out to Dead Horse Point State Park taking a few short excursions along the way whenever we saw an interesting looking dirt trail. Once we arrived we visited the Visitor Center before taking a short hike along the canyon rim. We found a good place to stop and have lunch.
After lunch Joan was feeling adventurous so she went out on a ledge......6' wide and 1000' above the valley floor. It offered a great overlook on the Colorado River.
|Colorado River - Goose Neck|
Check out the road. You'll read about it later
Sunday afternoon we met up with John and Pam of They have been in Moab for a few days already and have been out on some great hikes. We went out for supper and had a great evening spending a couple of hours just talking and getting to know them.
Monday's weather forecast was for scattered showers so we decided not to hike, but to just drive around checking out the area. Next thing you know we're on Potash Road. We stopped at Poison Spider Trail pull off to see dinosaur tracks. We saw a couple higher up on the rocks so we climbed a little further and found several petroglyphs. Unfortunately too many previous visitors have defaced or destroyed several of the petroglyphs by adding their own graffiti.
We returned to Potash Road and continued further out to discover a mining operation. Between Moab and Dead Horse SP is a large underground deposit of potassium salt that is actively mined. Potash Road connects to Shafer Basin and crosses the mining property. We drove past the storage warehouse and the pavement ended. We drove another couple of miles and were stopped by one of the mine employees. They had been prepping an area for blasting and were just about to set off the dynamite. A few minutes later there was a big BOOM and a huge cloud of dust. We continued on and drove alongside several evaporation ponds. The salt is mined by pumping water into the underground salt deposit where the salt is absorbed into the water before being pumped to the evaporation ponds. Once the water evaporates large earthmovers are used to scrape up the salt.
During our wait at the mining site we asked about the road we were on and discovered it travesed Shafer Basin and exited in Canyonland NP. That sounded like an adventure so we continued on.
There were several locations where we were driving within 10'-15' of the cliffs overlooking the Colorado.
As we got closer to the basin wall the road became rockier and rockier and we noticed a series of switchbacks that appeared to climb a huge sheer wall out of the basin to the top of the mesa.
When we arrived at the switchbacks the adventure really began. It had been raining off and on, so we had been careful to watch for any signs of flowing water in the numerous washes we had crossed. And because it was currently raining I was concerned about the road conditions on the switchbacks.
We had planned to leave today, but the weather forecast is for snow along our route into Colorado for the next few days; so we think we'll stay here a little longer and wait for better road conditions before taking on the mountains.
Stay Tuned. More to Come.