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Old 06-04-2012, 09:16 PM
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AxleIke AxleIke is offline
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Default A week with my Brother. Southwest tour.

My brother and I got it in our heads to go on a tour of the southwest, and see some of the cultural sites along the way. Given that I have recently acquired my 99 4runner and run it around the malls, I figured this was a golden opportunity to go out and enjoy the comforts of a relatively modern vehicle (as opposed to the uncomfortable cabin and loud roar of my 87).

We traveled 1800 miles, with about 200 in 4wd (only about 80 in low range), and about 250 total miles of dirt. Took 5.5 days.

Also, just a disclaimer, there were no wiffle ball bats on this trek. Simple camping was all we have, and for all but one night, we slept under the stars on sleeping pads and tent foot prints (one night we had to actually set up a tent due to hoards of mosquitos). Zero rock crawling was done. Just about the only wiffle ball bat I would consider is a fridge, but I can buy a lot of ice/dry ice for 800 bones. However, 100 degree heat really eats through the ice, even in a nice marine cooler.

So, on with the story:

Day 1.

We headed out of Bailey (where I picked up my Brother) and headed south on 285. As we were cruising, we decided to change plans, and, with the help of the smartphone, we contacted the Forest Service, checked road conditions, and headed over Engineer Pass instead of taking the highway, with a stop in Lake City for some delicious Sodas from the Soda Fountain:



Old Dam on the Lake City side:



Views:







This place is for sale. Only access is by bridge:



Wildlife



Top of the pass:





My ugly mug:



The Silverton Side:



We hit pavement again, and a short time later found a place to cook a quick meal before hitting the road again. My brother decided the fastest way to clear the propane hose was to light it. Fawesome.



We Fueled up in Durango, and headed across the border on the highway and into New Mexico. It was coming up on 11:30 as we pulled out of Aztec, NM, and started looking for a place to camp once we'd cleared the Rez.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:42 PM
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Day 2.

We camped in some badlands south of Aztec. We had no idea they were there, but simply started exploring down a public road off the highway. As we continued, the road became rougher, and we began to descend sharply into the canyon. After locating a spot away from the Natural Gas pumps (those things are loud), we set up camp.

In the morning, I took some shots:

Camp:



Views:









From there, we headed to Chaco Canyon Cultural Historic Park, managed by the NPS. A must see if you haven't. It is simply amazing the amount of work that was done to create these structures.

Pictures:

















Climbing up on top of the Mesa:







From there, we headed to the western part of the park, which has several more ruins, accessed by a mild 4wd road:









We headed out from Chaco across the Rez and into Gallup, where we had some mexican for dinner. It wasn't bad, but not as good as I've had in Santa Fe and elsehwere. I'm a mexican food snob.



After this, we found a spot on BLM that looked good at first, but ended up being right near the train tracks. However, we were close to Petrified Forest NP, our next stop. Camping:

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Old 06-04-2012, 09:49 PM
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More Tomorrow.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:51 PM
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Looks like an awesome trip. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:27 PM
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Day 3

We awoke, and headed into Petrified Forest NP. The first part of the loop was the Painted Desert, and I have to say, my camera skills do not do it justice.





We then headed south and into the Petrified wood area. It was beautiful. Amazing Geology for those who like rocks...

Log bridge anyone?







This was made by someone later on, and is not native american. Still cool.





From there, it was back to the Rez, and back to Mountain Daylight Time (that got really fun going from the Navajo Nation, into AZ, and back into UT within 20 minutes, and thinking the BLM at Big Water would still be open, but that is later on).

Cruising.







We headed into Canyon de Chelly NM, and hired a Navajo Guide to drive into the canyons. VERY worth the money. The roads were fun, but the scenery was unreal. Again, the cameraman (me) does not do it justice.



White House Ruin





Spider Rock









Petroglyphs are common in the canyon



The roads were fun. The entrance was a hoot, as it is in DEEP sand, where good tires, the rear locker, and the supercharger made for a FUN ride. Didn't get any shots of it though.





A hogon, there are roughly 1500 Navajo living in the canyon today.




That evening we camped in the campground since we weren't going to make it out of the Navajo Nation by the time we were ready to camp. It was okay, but loud, and there were ants.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:41 PM
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Day 4

Headed North and west to Antelope Canyon. Again, a guided tour, but still very fun. This one you can't drive to yourself, but it would have been fun, as it is deep sand.

We headed in with 50 of our closest friends....

My brother was smart and snagged a camp chair as the others arrived at the staging area. It was a while before we left.





Heading in:





Look close, and you'll see the bear:



More



A heart:



Sandfalls (this is a thing the guides do for you, but still fun)





Fire:



The end:



From Antelope Canyon, we headed from Mountain Daylight time to Mountain Standard time in Page, AZ, and back to Mountain Daylight time in UT, where, because we flubbed up, we missed the BLM office, and a chance at a real map of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM).

So, we picked up their crappy, side of the road map, found a gas station, where, due to the pump sitting in the heat of the sun, I got sprayed pretty bad with gasoline as the gas hit the very hot metal in the end of the nozzle.

As luck would have it, this gas station had a bathroom and a shower! As luck wouldn't have it, this gas station had no hot water in said shower. But, it was 100 degrees, and I was fairly covered in gas, so I took one anyway. Smelling better (in more ways than one), we headed into GSENM. 40 miles in on fast 4wd (we were able to do 30 mph mostly), we set up camp and enjoyed the hot summer evening.

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Last edited by AxleIke; 06-05-2012 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:05 AM
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Day 5.

We continued in low range through Grand Staircase. Lots of miles, but a fun drive.

Lake Powell in the distance:



Roads













We headed onto Hole in the Rock road, and traveled south to Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Canyons. I'd done Spooky before, but we got stopped by too much water and a cold spring day at Peek-a-Boo, so I was excited to hike it.

When we got to the trail head, we found a group of students from UAU, on a picture taking, and art class field trip. One of their group had hiked Peek-a-Boo, but did not want to do Spooky, and went off on his own, with under a liter of water. They had not seen him since, and it had been several hours.

They had sent out search parties, and my brother and I verified that they had set a return time for the search parties, and that there were multiple people in the parties. We then offered them some of our water, which, since most of them were out, having only a bottle or two each, they gladly took. We had many gallons left, and thus were able to share.

We then got a description of their lost group member, and told them that, should their parties return without seeing their friend, a call to BLM and SAR was in order. It was 100 ish on top of the mesa, and no wind in the canyons. Without water, their friend was going to be hurting very soon if he wasn't already. We headed in, but luckily ran into a search party who had located their missing group member, who had gotten lost but had the good sense to stop wandering and stay put. We offered them water, but they had enough, and we set on to the canyons!

Peek-a-Boo:











Dropping into Spooky was tricky, but we managed with a short shimmy down a wall.















Scary? Spooky? Strange for sure!





On the way back, we headed up a side road to view some dinosaur tracks. The BLM sucks at labeling things, so after much searching we were able to find them. Very cool!




From there we were able to bomb at 60ish out Hole in the Rock road thanks to aired down tires, and we made it to escalante for fuel. Got a whopping 11 mpg on the trek from Big water to Escalante, but managed 120 miles of 4wd on the dirt.

The road from Escalante to Boulder UT is stunning. We didn't stop as we were trying to make time, but it is a beautiful drive, especially in late evening.





We left Boulder and headed to the high country were we made camp at about 8000 feet. It was nice to be in some cooler climes, but the mosquitos were nasty, and we had to break out the tent for the first time on the trip. Camp was pretty though.



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Old 06-05-2012, 12:10 AM
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The final day:

No pictures as we were just cruising the highway, but we drove through Capital Reef NP, and took in the scenery.

After CRNP, we hit the road to Hanksville, and after Hanksville, while enjoying the scenery of Goblin Valley to our left, we got popped by a Utah State trooper for doing 76 in a 65. WHOOPS! He wasn't in a great mood, but we were very polite and he was kind enough to give us a warning. We set the cruise at 65, and continued on to I70, and had an uneventful drive back.

All in all, it was a great way to spend a week with my brother, who I haven't seen in over a year as he was in Mali, West Africa. We had a blast, and saw amazing scenery.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:34 AM
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subzali subzali is offline
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Awesome! Can't wait to see the pics from my home computer! I need to do Spooky and Peekaboo sometime! Done Coyote down in the same area several times, need to try something different!
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:37 AM
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Great pics Isaac.
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