Monday, May 31, 2010

Manti-La Sal National Forest


After a couple of very windy days, the last two have been beautiful, if not a bit cooler than we like. Only got into the 60’s and low 70’s but no wind and sunshine the past two days. We spent the windy days indoors working on trip planning, cleaning, a little shopping, and taking a bag of junk to the thrift store in Monticello. The campground here at Devil’s Canyon has been maybe a third full this weekend, so it has been extremely quiet, just how we like our holiday weekends.

Saturday and Sunday we took a couple drives into the Manti-La Sal National Forest and the nearby Abajo mountains. We were looking for some hiking trails, but had a little trouble finding them. We did check out the three other nearby forest service campgrounds, and there was hardly anyone in them, either. There is still no water at any of the campgrounds, and the others are at higher elevation and shady, so either the cool temps or lack of water may have kept people away.

This is a picture of Dry Wash reservoir, a pretty little lake. The Nizhoni campground is nearby but unfortunately not on the water. We saw a fifth wheel camped on a hill overlooking the lake. What a beautiful, private spot they had. With the lakes and snow still on the mountains this area reminded us of a mini Glacier National Park.


In our trail search yesterday, we climbed to 9,000 ft and found the sign. The problem was the road leading to the trail was dirt, narrow, and rocky. After driving a mile or so down it, we began to think the road was actually the trail we were looking for. Finally found a wide spot where we were barely able to turn around. Luckily we met no other vehicles. Yes, we need a Jeep! In fact, we are thinking of renting one for a day in Moab to see how we like it.

We did find an ATV road and hiked to lovely views of Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point along the way. It sure is hard to breathe and hike at that elevation!

It was too hazy for good pics, as usual.

P1010009  P1010014

Jim got ambitious this weekend and changed the oil in the car. While he was under it, he found a dent in the transmission pan and some other scrapes. Probably came from the couple times we bottomed out on the road to the Wave. Yes, that high clearance vehicle is calling us.

He also decided to check the air filters. The main one is very difficult to get to, and entails removing a big plastic housing to access it. He only broke one of the rubber grommets and scraped a finger. After getting it out, he was able to see that the large fiberglass insulation panel up against the passenger compartment had been chewed away, and a fist sized chunk was wedged against the air filter. When we spent a couple weeks at Organ Pipe Cactus NM in January, we were warned about packrats getting into engine compartments and eating wiring. We  kept our hoods propped open as told, but I’m not sure why that would keep them out. Probably just made it easier for them to get in! We really have no idea when this happened, since we spent a couple more months in the Tucson and Phoenix area desert. We’re just thankful it was only the insulation and not the wiring that they chewed on.

Speaking of critters, other than some birds, this is the extent of our wildlife sightings here.


We aren’t sure what these are but their holes are all over the campground.


Today we’re off to Moab. There is a Chevy dealer there, so we will try to get the replacement parts for the car.

1 comment:

  1. Jim and Gayle:

    Yes, do rent a Jeep in Moab! I did that once and was given a great route to follow. At one point the trail leads to a cliff overlooking the U-turn in the Colorado River at Dead Horse Point. If you've ever been to the Dead Horse Point lookout, this is the tiny-looking trail way down there on the ledge.

    Happy Trails!