The arch is called Tower Arch because it looks as though there is a tower on top of it. That however is an optical illusion. The tower is actually a 'fin' rock formation immediately behind the arch. John and I explored the tower by climbing a few rocks. Standing at the base of the tower we were afforded a beautiful view of the surrounding area.
The next day we decided to go off road again and check out Long Valley. Somewhere near the end of Tower Arch hike I twisted my ankle, so Joan and I thought this would be a good chance for her to 'earn her wings' and drive her 1st off road trail. Long Valley was one of 2 trails recommended to us when we first arrived. And the recommendation was spot on. The trail pulls off Potash Road and parallels the Potash Road/Shafer Basin trail we took earlier in the week (see the previous blog entry) eventually coming out on the entrance road to Dead Horse SP. The views of needle and fin rock formations, Arches NP and the LaSal Mountains were fantastic.
No real obstacles except for a huge rock that had fallen from a cliff face and came to rest leaning on the cliff face. The trail forces vehicles to drive under the rock.
When we finished Long Valley we continued on to explore Canyonlands NP. Two great rivers converge here, the Colorado and Green Rivers merge among over 500 square miles of canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches and spires.
On the way out of Canyonlands Joan was feeling confident and decided she would like to drive the switchbacks we had driven a couple days earlier in Shafer Basin. This time the road was dry and I enjoyed being able to relax and view the scenery as Joan drove down. We turned around at the bottom and headed back up. Everything was going well until we started to slide towards the cliff face. Joan was paying attention to the drop off and got a little too close to the waist-deep ditch along the cliff face.
We forgot to take a pic until we were
out of trouble
Too late....we slid until the car grounded on the frame. No serious damage, but with the chassis on the ground and both right side tires spinning freely off the ground we weren't going anywhere soon even with 4-wheel drive. Fortunately we carry a small folding shovel and I started to work building a ramp out of nearby large rocks and the dirt I dug out from under the car. 2 large blisters and 45 minutes later we were free and on our way home...with Joan driving. Joan did great and intends to continue practicing her off road driving.
The weather forecast for Friday and Saturday was for sunshine and dry roads so we headed towards Colorado. We stayed overnight in Montrose and then left early Saturday for Nathrop via Gunnison and 11,300' Monarch Pass.
We drove into nearby Buena Vista to explore and decided to stop at a local pub for dinner. Joan has really enjoyed sampling the local beers while we were in Oregon and Nevada. The pub EddyLine brews several different beers and offered a beer paddle to allow sampling.
Joan really liked 5 of the 6 she sampled. We returned home and went to bed with another winter storm forecast for overnight.
We awoke Sunday morning with 1" of snow covering everything. Our 1st ever snowfall (other than a small snow flurry while driving through Cuba, NM last year) since we've been full-timing. Cool!
We've been doing a little more exploring of the area and I've been doing some odds and ends around the MH the last few days. Our internet access has been spotty at several of our stops so I ordered and installed the WiFiRanger Go. The install was easy and I had all 4 of our WiFi devices up and running with a 4 of 4 bar signal strength private wireless LAN within 30 minutes.
We're hoping the weather clears up so that we can take a drive to Denver and take in a Rockies game next week. Other than that we're just enjoying experiencing the mountain weather and exploring the area.
Stay Tuned. More to Come.