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Old 04-26-2009, 08:39 PM
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MDH33 MDH33 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Trapped in a corn field
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Default Utah Road Trip - Moab to San Rafael Swell

After our original plans to visit SE Utah got put on hold due to a huge snow storm and losing power for 4 days prior to our departure, we decided to do a shorter trip into Utah. My wife Kim, and I in our FJ40 and our Brother and Sister in law Paul and Kathrynne in our FJ60 headed towards Moab 4/20.

Our stock 60 loaded down with a RTT, gear and beer sits pretty low, so our plan was to stick to easy roads and take in lots of scenery. Our route would take us through Castle Valley and the Fischer Towers, into Moab, then into the San Rafael Swell before going back to Colorado. I've been through here many times, but it was all new new to Kim, Paul and Kathrynne. It was fun experiencing Utah with first timers.

We camped up beyond Dewey Bridge Monday night and only saw one other person. A nice quiet evening and we awoke to perfect weather which we enjoyed all week.

We headed down the Colorado and visited the Fischer Towers. We hiked around for a couple of hours before continuing on to Moab.

We had left Colorado in a hurry and because we had lost power for 4 days, we were low on supplies. We hung around Moab for the afternoon, hit the brewery, stocked up on camp food and took in the Moab sites before finding a campsite up at Dead Horse Point State Park. I had wanted to camp near Monitor and Merrimack Buttes, but the whole area is now signed 'No Camping'. The state park campground was nice though and we had a fire, clean bifs and enjoyed elk steaks and copious amounts of Bell's Beer that Paul and Kathrynne brought with them from MN. Bell's was my favorite beer when I lived in Michigan. Mmmmm... Expedition Stout.

The next morning we headed towards Green River to gas up before heading to the Swell. I was able to get Perry on the phone and got some great info on a fun route into the Northern half of the Swell. We went in via Black Dragon Canyon, up onto the Jackass benches before going through Buckhorn Wash on our way to the Wedge. We did lots of exploring along the way and only saw a handful of other people.

Black Dragon Canyon

Paul really enjoyed driving our FJ60. He used to have CJ's back in the day. I made sure to fill his head with lot's 'Cruiser trivia and I think he now has the bug. We made our way onto the Jackass Benches and across Scorpion Flats before heading into Buckhorn Wash. It tried to rain, but it mostly evaporated before hitting the ground. It felt like it was pushing 90 degrees.

Buckhorn Wash pictographs

From Buckhorn Wash, we went up onto The Wedge overlook to find a campsite. Looks like the BLM is trying to control the dispersed camping. They now have only 10 designated sites. About half of them were full, but we lucked out and got a great site on the edge of the canyon. Awesome scenery, campfire, brats, kraut and beer in the Utah desert. perfect.

Next morning we headed down to Fuller Bottom and the upper San Rafael River. After fording the San Rafael, we hiked into the canyon to an area I had heard about that had a lot of Petroglyphs. We hiked a few miles and found a couple of panels. We explored several of the side canyons as well. Very cool area that I plan on exploring more.

We hiked out and headed through the sand washes south of Fuller Bottom back towards I-70 and then down to Green River for chow at Ray's Tavern. We camped out the last night before heading back to Colorado Friday morning.

Another great trip, although much too short. Hope to get out there again soon!

'85 FJ60
'91 Pickup
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