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Old 10-25-2012, 10:52 PM
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MountainGoat MountainGoat is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Conifer, CO
Posts: 1,578

Originally Posted by Jacket View Post
Damn. I think you found the future spot for a pre-Moab gathering. Nice!
It would be an awesome spot to gather. Sometimes the Dolores crossing can be a bit dicey in the spring though.

On with the report:

Thursday 10/18/12 Day 3 – Grand Junction to Moab via Granite Creek, Sheep Creek, Gateway, John Brown Canyon and Castle Valley. The route looks like this:

Headed back out DS Road from GJ into the Triangle. Another beautiful sunny day was on tap and I made good time. Took a few landscape shots on the way:

Before long I was at the intersection of County Road 109 & 350. Right goes to Granite Creek/Steamboat Mesa and left goes back to GJ via Pinion Mesa up the east side of the Triangle (a route I would explore tomorrow).

The road headed southwest towards the La Sal Mountains:

Then it turned southeast toward Gateway:

There is a fork here. If you take the right you go to an old ford on the Dolores which is now closed.

The left fork goes down to the Granite Creek crossing which was dry.

Continuing southeast I passed Steamboat Mesa (on the left) and climbed onto the plateau at the far left.

There were more pinion trees and less desert as I climbed toward the top of Sheep Creek.

When I hit the state line the road became a trail and I went into low range.

It was tight and rockier. Lots of pinions and junipers got friendly with my Cruiser.

When I stopped for lunch I found pinion seeds on my seat.

Shortly after lunch I crested the top and got my first look toward Gateway and the Dolores River far below.

I dropped onto a steep downhill with a switchback at the end, thinking I was at the legendary Sheep Creek switchbacks. Then the trail promptly flattened out and I came to this old cabin.

A little further on I came to the real switchbacks. You can see 7 of them from this spot.

Honestly I was a little worried because the only tracks I’d seen since the trail got tougher were ATV, motorcycle and bicycle tracks. Not exactly confidence inspiring, especially on a solo run! I was checking it out on Google Earth and the trail drops 2000 feet in 1.3 linear miles. It is steep and narrow with a couple of multi point hairpins. I made it through fine though. Once I made it off the scary part and wiped my shorts I got some shots of the cool rock formations and views.

Finally got down to the Dolores and headed a few miles down a dirt road to Gateway.

After making check in calls to my safety net peeps I proceeded up John Brown Canyon toward Moab. It was beautiful but I took no pics so I guess you will have to go see it yourself. Near the top I crossed back into Utah.

The road then entered the Manti-Lasal National Forest and skirted the La Sal mountains on the north. It was awesome to get up close to them. It also got quite chilly.

Finally dropped into Castle Valley northeast of Moab.

It was 8 hours since I’d left Junction that morning and I was beat. So I hightailed it into Moab and got a motel room and some barbecue. Never realized that I was only a few miles away from where Chris Davis was camped out at Onion Creek until I fired up my laptop in Moab and read his posts. Doh!
Dan Kucera
TLCA# 17536

95 FZJ80 LC Red
99 UZJ100 LC Black
00 VZN185 4Runner Highlander Jade

Last edited by MountainGoat; 10-30-2012 at 05:26 PM. Reason: To correct the date.
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