Rising Sun Member Forums  

Go Back   Rising Sun Member Forums > Toyota 4x4 > Trip and Event Reports

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 09-25-2010, 12:46 PM
MountainGoat's Avatar
MountainGoat MountainGoat is offline
Club Treasurer
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Conifer, CO
Posts: 1,070
Default San Rafael Swell 9/18/10 - Day One

Spent last Saturday and Sunday exploring part of the San Rafael Swell with my brother who lives in Grand Junction. It was the first time either of us had been in the swell. It was totally awesome. The magnitude of it along with the lack of people was staggering. We only explored a small portion of it, but we covered a lot of ground nonetheless. I am breaking the trip report into sections so it will be obvious which pictures are from which areas.

First we exited I-70 about 10 miles west of Green River and headed south. We found a route that skirted Shadscale Mesa and then went north through The Squeeze, crossing back under I-70 at the entrance to Black Dragon Canyon.



Westbound on I-70 with the San Rafael Reef in the distance.


Westbound on the south side of Shadscale Mesa. My 85 mini truck (now my brother's) leading.


The trucks, looking north at the mesa.


The eastern edge of the reef.


Copper ore.


Uneva Mine Canyon




Looking south from the canyon trail.



Looking north through The Squeeze, the small white line in the center is a tractor trailer rig on I-70 in the distance.


The route under the interstate.
__________________
Dan Kucera
TLCA# 17536
KDWJO

67 FJ40 LC Tan
94 RN101 PU Pewter
95 FZJ80 LC Red
99 UZJ100 LC Black
00 VZN185 4Runner Highlander Jade
00 VZN185 4Runner SR5 Desert Dune
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-25-2010, 12:47 PM
MountainGoat's Avatar
MountainGoat MountainGoat is offline
Club Treasurer
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Conifer, CO
Posts: 1,070
Default

After crossing back under I-70 we were at the entrance to Black Dragon Canyon.





The canyon entrance is narrow.


There are two routes initially, the road and the riverbed. We thought we were on the road, but found ourselves in the riverbed.


It was blissfully cool in the canyon bottom. We saw a red spotted toad, chipmunks and a gopher snake in there.


After the first squeeze, the canyon opens up a bit.


There are a lot of pictographs in the canyon.


This is the "Black Dragon", which is obviously actually red.


Looking back down the canyon trail.


The "Praying Dog" pictograph.


We found a shady spot for lunch about a third of the way up the canyon.


My brother puts his 25 year old drive train to the test on an obstacle.


Near the top of the canyon.


Exiting the canyon onto Jackass Flat. The plateaus in the background are called Jackass Benches.
__________________
Dan Kucera
TLCA# 17536
KDWJO

67 FJ40 LC Tan
94 RN101 PU Pewter
95 FZJ80 LC Red
99 UZJ100 LC Black
00 VZN185 4Runner Highlander Jade
00 VZN185 4Runner SR5 Desert Dune
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-25-2010, 12:48 PM
MountainGoat's Avatar
MountainGoat MountainGoat is offline
Club Treasurer
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Conifer, CO
Posts: 1,070
Default

Next we headed southwest across Jackass Flat and Rattlesnakes Bench to check out another I-70 underpass. This one went to Cliff Dweller Flat on the south side, but alas, we opted to head north up Cottonwood Draw, past The Sinkhole and Bottleneck Peak toward the San Rafael River.



This is looking southeastward at the Manti La Sal mountains behind Moab.


Jackass Benches in the background (looking northward).


BLM Roadsign.


Looking southward at I-70 across a random stone wall ruin.


Another underpass. This one is for access to Cliff Dweller Flat.


This must have been interesting when outlaws like Butch Cassidy came through at night on the run from Johnny Law.






After traveling north for about 20 minutes we arrived at Bottleneck Peak just in time to get these shots.




Looking northward at the mouth of Buckhorn Wash. The San rafael River travels east and west just in front of those mountains.
__________________
Dan Kucera
TLCA# 17536
KDWJO

67 FJ40 LC Tan
94 RN101 PU Pewter
95 FZJ80 LC Red
99 UZJ100 LC Black
00 VZN185 4Runner Highlander Jade
00 VZN185 4Runner SR5 Desert Dune
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-25-2010, 12:49 PM
MountainGoat's Avatar
MountainGoat MountainGoat is offline
Club Treasurer
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Conifer, CO
Posts: 1,070
Default

Next we encountered the San Rafael River. It was very like an oasis in the desert after the day's travels. We were getting near 6pm by now, so after checking out the river and the old swinging bridge, we began scouting for campsites. There is a fee campground here, but that isn't really our style (even though there was only one camper there). We went about a mile north up Buckhorn Wash but didn't see anything to our liking. Then we headed east down Mexican Mountain Road along the river. There are campsites galore on this stretch between the road and the river. Once again we only encountered people at the very first campsite. There was no one else to be seen. We made camp and had a great night's sleep.



The Swinging Bridge built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.


The view west along the river.


The trees made it much cooler than out on the benches.


This tree had overgrown the bridge in the past 70+ years.


Here you can get a perspective on the hardware size and cable diameter on the bridge.


The tree branch enveloped the cable.


Our campsite with Mexican Mountain to the north.


Assembly Hall Peak to the southeast.


More views from camp.






So much for day one. We did a lot of moving. All the pictures in this trip report were taken between 10am and 7pm on Saturday the 18th.

Crikey what a long but excellent day. Let me tell you, the cold at camp was delightful.

I will post up Sunday soon. What an incredible place.
__________________
Dan Kucera
TLCA# 17536
KDWJO

67 FJ40 LC Tan
94 RN101 PU Pewter
95 FZJ80 LC Red
99 UZJ100 LC Black
00 VZN185 4Runner Highlander Jade
00 VZN185 4Runner SR5 Desert Dune
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-25-2010, 01:33 PM
bh4rnnr's Avatar
bh4rnnr bh4rnnr is offline
Hard Core 4+
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Littleton
Posts: 3,931
Default

Awesome Dan! It's always a good time in the Swell.

I was going to make a note that after the Castle Gate hold up, Butch and some of the gang used the Black Dragon canyon and relays of Horses to get the stolen money to Robbers Roost, but looks like your already up on the history.

__________________
-Perry Loughridge aka "Skelator" aka KDLDQ
4th gen Coloradoan.
-87 Toyota 4runner. Flat bed by Proffitts Cruisers 5.29 gears, rear locker. 33" mt/r tires. Snackster cooker. Eazi-Awn 1200 RTT and more tube work by the Homegrown Crew . And still more to come


COLORADO: my "Monument in Green"
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-25-2010, 01:39 PM
MountainGoat's Avatar
MountainGoat MountainGoat is offline
Club Treasurer
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Conifer, CO
Posts: 1,070
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bh4rnnr View Post
Awesome Dan! It's always a good time in the Swell.

I was going to make a note that after the Castle Gate hold up, Butch and some of the gang used the Black Dragon canyon and relays of Horses to get the stolen money to Robbers Roost, but looks like your already up on the history.

Yeah, I understand that back in the day Black Dragon was the only route into the swell.
__________________
Dan Kucera
TLCA# 17536
KDWJO

67 FJ40 LC Tan
94 RN101 PU Pewter
95 FZJ80 LC Red
99 UZJ100 LC Black
00 VZN185 4Runner Highlander Jade
00 VZN185 4Runner SR5 Desert Dune
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-25-2010, 09:41 PM
Jacket's Avatar
Jacket Jacket is offline
Rising Sun Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Lafayette
Posts: 4,049
Default

Great trip report and pics Dan. Almost like you're running the CM Overnighter in reverse....

All these Utah desert pics are hurtin' me.
__________________
- Matt
1976 FJ40 - green and mostly stock
1996 FZJ80 - not so stock
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-27-2010, 01:17 AM
nattybumppo's Avatar
nattybumppo nattybumppo is offline
Rising Sun Secretary
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Northwest Denver
Posts: 1,152
Default

Anxiously awaiting day two!
__________________
Sascha Steinway TLCA # 20217
1977 FJ40 "Ripper" (because it shreds!) (What is a "shread"...Steve Crase)
1988 FJ62 "Dino" OME, now in the hands of my daughter
2013 F-150 "Black Ops"
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-27-2010, 06:39 AM
MDH33's Avatar
MDH33 MDH33 is offline
Rising Sun Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Land of Corn
Posts: 5,787
Default

looks like a great time.
__________________
--Martin

'85 FJ60
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-27-2010, 07:22 AM
subzali's Avatar
subzali subzali is offline
Rising Sun member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Denver CO
Posts: 7,562
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacket View Post
[snip]....

All these Utah desert pics are hurtin' me.
x2 Great trip report Dan, and thank you for the maps along with the pics!
__________________
Matt Miller
TLCA# 13684
Rising Sun Bio
1977 FJ40 2F "Brahma" + Lockright, tach, Warn 8274, FJ60 Power Steering, soon to lose the Sanden OBA to go back to factory emissions
1996 FZJ80 1FZ-FE factory lockers + Safari Turbo , CDL switch, cup holder, AATLAS1X leather, heated seats and JDM switches
2000 Tundra Limited TRD 2UZ-FE SOLD
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:03 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.