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9,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pics to follow (sorry to do that to you but after I started this I realized I just wasn't ready to upload any pics and you can't delete a thread you started so...)

9,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I gave Moab a miss on the way out, went straight through Green River and down 24 to the Temple Mountain area. Things were pretty empty there as it was a Sunday. The rest of my trip I mostly was around climbers and slot canyoneers (Sandthrax and Indian Creek). Being around climbers is a completely different vibe than the 4 wheelers etc in Moab. A pretty laid back, if scruffy group. OTOH, I did go up on Elephant Hill in Canyonlands for some work shots and met a bunch of cool Jeepers. It was all good.

Going back through Moab was a trip, though. It was overflowing, as usual. I got gas, ducked into the City Market and left as fast as I could up to Fisher Towers.

I have pics to prove it :)

9,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The problem is that I mixed up any shots for you all with my work shots and I have 5000 or more of those to go through, logically and in order. Moab Three was all non-work stuff

I know exactly the ones I want to find and post up here but not yet

OK, OK, these two are from the last card shot maybe yesterday morning. As usual, left click the pics if you can

A doggie in the Fisher Towers campground. He growled at me the first time we met, next time he came up to me all smiles and wagging his little sausage tail

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Last morning there

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Self Appointed Judge&Jury
45,074 Posts

9,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I went to Moab before mountain biking got big there

It was a small bucolic town fo' sho'. So much new building it's incredible.

Talk about crowded: I was down in the Needles area of Canyonlands, specifically up on Elephant Hill. It was pretty typical for this time of year, lines of Jeeps waiting to crawl up and over. I was there working but, hey, I'll take pics of Jeepers having fun!

On the first pic I'm standing in the turn around area. They would go past me, make a short slow u-turn then proceed up to the left. That group got by, I went down a hundred feet and another group of 20 came up. Then another.

I chatted with a few of the drivers. One guy, it was his first time. His Rubicon was shiny clean. I told him he needed to get some dirt on it, come on! He said he just washed it, it only had 3000 miles on it. I said, man, that's Holy Dirt. Don't wash it! When you get home scrape some of that red dirt off, put it in a jar and put it up on your fireplace mantle.

Left click these pics if you can. Much more to follow.

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9,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'll be giving you vignettes completely out of order, but really you wouldn't know

This is maybe Day Three. I've driven from Sandthrax to Hite or the other direction many times and spotted an interesting area off the road but was always speeding to somewhere else. This time my mission was to find this area and get up there with my camera.

A lot of things have to happen in the proper sequence for this geologic oddity to happen. It blows my mind how it even happens. Left click these pics if you can.

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First that grayish granular layer has to be laid down, for god knows how many thousands of years. Then a harder, less permeable layer has to be laid down on top of it.

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So, over again who knows how many hundreds of thousands of years the whole area starts eroding. The gray stuff erodes faster, the layer above not so fast. But, really, who's counting?

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Bizarre sh!t all around. I'm trying not to let my jaw drop too much.

OK, side story: I'd scrambled up this gray stuff which offered great traction going up. I get my shots (many more than you're seeing here), I'm headed make this scary story short, I almost buy it on the way down.

You know that moment when you just KNOW you're going OTB? You're either going to land not so bad or land ugly. If I'd gone down where I could have it would have been real real ugly. But, somehow I managed to regain my balance and pull it off. When I realized I hadn't crashed, I stopped and had a moment of reflection.

Which was: never again am I going to scramble up stuff like this. The shots I don't get, no one's going to know and obviously the risk is too great. I would have broken something or many things. But I didn't.

I repeated to myself for the rest of my trip "Never again" am I going to put myself in jeopardy for my photography. Really, it was a defining moment.

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There were signs all around of hoodoos still standing and hoodoos where time had taken it's toll. Nothing lasts forever.

Finally, still freaked out and heart pumping hard at my near miss, I glanced down and noticed some cool looking stuff on the ground. I always tell myself to keep my eyes out for petrified wood which is all around but you have to look for it. I don't know if this was PW, I was still too freaked to make the call.

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9,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A place I bet most of you have driven past on your way to Moab

I think I spotted it while camping up on Top of The World road. It's a house cut into the rock. Well, the ruins of a house. Who knows if it was ever occupied

When you're coming down from Cisco, about to enter the Colorado River canyon, look for a pullout on the right. Left click these pics if you can

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The guy had it wired. He had supports drilled up through the roof to help keep it intact. I think that's the kitchen over there

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As a real estate agent might say "forever views"

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The view out the second story

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This was my second time back there, first was maybe 13 years ago. Looked the same inside except for the hideous graffiti that you don't need to see.

When I got back down a truck hauling ATVs had pulled over and the occupants were out milling about. One was on crutches. "Dude!" I exclaimed. His knee was as swollen as any f'd up knee I'd ever seen. "Did it wrestling around the campfire last night while drunk".

Me, in my inestimable opinion, advised him not to do that again and handed him half a tube of some Arnica ointment I use on my aching body parts. Hope it helped, he was headed back home for possible surgery. No pics of his knee. Just imagine a half a cantaloupe fastened to his knee cap.

2,826 Posts
I think I spotted it while camping up on Top of The World road. It's a house cut into the rock. Well, the ruins of a house. Who knows if it was ever occupied

When you're coming down from Cisco, about to enter the Colorado River canyon, look for a pullout on the right. Left click these pics if you can

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The guy had it wired. He had supports drilled up through the roof to help keep it intact. I think that's the kitchen over there

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As a real estate agent might say "forever views"

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The view out the second story

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This was my second time back there, first was maybe 13 years ago. Looked the same inside except for the hideous graffiti that you don't need to see.

When I got back down a truck hauling ATVs had pulled over and the occupants were out milling about. One was on crutches. "Dude!" I exclaimed. His knee was as swollen as any f'd up knee I'd ever seen. "Did it wrestling around the campfire last night while drunk".

Me, in my inestimable opinion, advised him not to do that again and handed him half a tube of some Arnica ointment I use on my aching body parts. Hope it helped, he was headed back home for possible surgery. No pics of his knee. Just imagine a half a cantaloupe fastened to his knee cap.
That is cool, I've been going to Moab for 30 years and didn't know about that house. There is a hand blasted cave in the rock behind the porta potties at the Dewey Bridge. Last time I was in there there were still old dynamite crates (empty) in there.

There are a lot of weird things around Moab.

- Google "Rockland Ranch". That is cool/weird.

- If you remember the water park in Moab that was called "King's World", it was called that because long ago a guy carved a picture of a king on a camel on the rocks behind there.

- Highway 128 itself, off of which that house is in the rock, was originally a toll road, and there is a rock right on the highway that has "King's Toll Road" carved in it. Hard to see, but it is there.

- A lot of people don't realize that the area where they are digging out the dirt just south of the entrance to Arches NP used to be an *enormous* Uranium Mill employing hundreds. The buildings were still there until the early 90's. They just celebrated the 10th anniversary of beginning to ship that dirt by rail car out to the intersection of Hwy 191 and I-70 where it is being buried. The project was supposed to last ten years, now they say it will be ANOTHER ten years until it is gone.

- The chairlift on the corner of Highway 128 and Highway 191 *never opened*. It was built, but then the co-owners got into some kind of dispute. It has been there over 10 years, but has never carried a single paying passenger.

- There *was* a chairlift on Kane Creek Blvd just before the river that would take you to the top of the Moab Rim. It only ran for about five years, and was dismantled about ten years ago.

- Over the top of Hurrah Pass there used to be a ranch down by the river in Jackson's Hole that had a huge herd of camels. The camels were relocated when the ranch changed hands.

- Down by the turn off to Needles there is a big rock that looks like a beehive on the east side of 191. If you look carefully there is a door blasted into the base of the rock. I have been told that there is a huge room inside of that rock.

- La Sal used to have several hundred people living there when the big Uranium mines were running in that area. It is essentially a ghost town now.

- Just south of the beginning of the Klondike Bluff trail there is (or used to be) an old movie set that looked like a pioneer town.

- Cisco was a viable town before I-70 was built. A lot of people do not realize the the road running thru Cisco used to be the only paved road out there, it was US 6, the equivalent of what is now I-70. It was the location of scenes from two famous movies, "Vanishing Point" and "Thelma and Louise".

- The Dewey Bridge was the only way across the river until the concrete bridge was built in the 1980's. After the new bridge was built, the original Dewey Bridge could still be walked/biked across, but by the late-90s it was pretty dangerous. People raised a bunch of money to refurbish it, and only a few years after the project was completed, a kid burned the bridge down while playing with matches along the bank of the river.

- North of Moab where the Dalton Wells road heads east, was a Japanese internment camp during WWII. Japanese people from California were shipped out there to bake in the sun until the war was over.

- Above Castle Valley, there is still a platted town called Castleton. There are still a few houses clustered along the road there.

- Further south on the Loop Road is the site of the Pinhook Battleground, one of the last bloody battles between indigenous peoples and settlers in the US, in 1881.

- The paved bike path running from the Bar-M trails to town uses the route of what used to be the highway. The highway was widely feared.

- Willow Springs Road used to be the only road into Arches. In "Desert Solitaire". Edward Abbey talks about the surveying of the new road while he was a ranger there, which he accurately predicted would ruin the area. Now there is talk of paving Willow Springs Road to provide a second entrance into Arches since the lines to get into the "new" entrance sometimes back up all the way onto Highway 191. BTW, until about 2000, the entrance was 1/2 mi. further north and was very short. A longer one was not needed. Edward Abbey lived for a few years on the south end of Moab on Spanish Valley Drive, in a house that still looks very much the same. He used to play poker in the old Ranch House just north of downtown that is now a condo complex. One of the regulars was the guy who ran the famous "Tom Tom's", a VW only junkyard, the remnants of which are still on Millcreek Drive south of town .

- The Moab dump on Sand Flats was once named the "Most Scenic Dump In America". It is almost full.

- The area to the north as you head up Sand Flats to the Slickrock Trail has a famous rock fin called "Lion's Back". The area is owned by the state of Utah, and was leased to a guy who built a campground at the base. He had the right to charge $5 to drive your Jeep or ride a motorcycle to the top of Lion's Back. About 15 years ago, he himself was killed in a fall from Lion's Back while riding his motorcycle. The area has been closed ever since, because, yep, the state wants to build hundreds of houses and condos in there.

- This is the saddest of all. Right now, 2019, the state of Utah, which owns most of the land in the valley in San Juan County four miles south of downtown Moab, is working with developers to build "Moab South", a brand new town, with a commercial strip centered along currently rural Spanish Valley Drive (the road to the mountains and Ken's Lake), completely surrounding Ken's Lake and the entire area down there, and it will ultimately have more people living there than the entire existing town of Moab. How far will the traffic jams back up getting out of the area when there are double the number of people in the valley?

Lots of other weird things in Moab. It is a strange place. Too bad it is terminally F&^%$ed up at this point. It now takes 20-30 minutes to get out of town to the north on every Sunday in the Spring and Fall. Those jams had never, ever happened until Memorial Day weekend three years ago, now they happen *every* weekend in March-May. They place is being blown away by incredible growth in tourism, and if the plans for "Moab South" go though, the area will be a clusterfork of epic proportions, which it is approaching already.

9,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Those two chairlifts: the one at the entrance to Moab, well, the builder wanted to sell food at the top but the city refused the proper licenses. Then the city demanded the builder put up a bond for the full amount to completely dismantle the chairlift and restore the area to its former "pristine" condition if the chairlift went out of business. It was pretty clear Moab didn't want the chairlift to operate at all.

The one on Kane Creek: they refused to sell one-way tickets which cut out my business.

I was up on Amasa Back one day, overlooking some scenic view. A couple of locals were up there. I mentioned I was a contractor and that set them off. They were ranting how developers were ruining Moab yada yada on and on, causing the prices to skyrocket "I can't even afford a house here because of the likes of you!" ranted one guy, who worked at a bike shop (this was way before prices had ever "skyrocketed"). I said "well, I'm thinking of building a chairlift to the top of Amasa Back, whaddayathink, good idea?" They both stormed off on their bikes.

9,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm finally plowing through thousaneds of pics from the start

Work pics, that is. Occasionally I'll find one I can't use for work and set it aside. Still skipping around, time wise, for the ones I put up here. Left click these pics if you can

Day one I'd worked my way down to the San Rafael Swell. Got my old parking place, overlooking the trail to Wild Horse Window

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Day two, I'm at Sandthrax. It was pretty empty compared to last time

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The stream bed across the highway. Real low at the moment, evidence of flooding up to 6 feet deep bank to bank in the past

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Compressing time with just a click of my mouse, now I'm nearing Lake Powell

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I stopped at an overlook. There really is no Lake Powell at this point whereas in the past, well, check out the logs washed up on a previous shoreline (to the left). The water level, which is more a river now, is at least 100' lower in elevation

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9,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Here's some from Indian Creek

First things first: one of the two kinds of beers I brought with me, Odell Rupture

Left click these pics if you can

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I'd get back to my camp spot at Creek Pasture CG either before, during or after sunset. A quick beer, set up for the night and I'm gone asleep

In the Indian Creek area there is an untold number of climbing routes. It's not just at the main parking lot like I've shown you. As I'm driving I'd see gates blocking sandy roads disappearing off to the cliffs with signs on them

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All this time I figured the signs said Keep Out but, no, these two signs were advising about route closures due to raptor nesting, just like up in the Flatirons. Oh, and "close the gate behind you"

So I parked at this particular gate and strolled in. It wasn't really a non-work day but I figured I'd get back there and check out the sights

Before I went down the road I went cross country over to the rim of those car-sized boulders I showed you in the Moab Three thread. I love walking along rims like that. Came up on this guy

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I don't see any wildlife except the Ravens...and of course the cows. This weathered lizard looked like he'd seen it all. He was the big dog in his area and he didn't flinch as I tip-toed through the sand up to him

Around the corner were more hoodoos. There's a lot going on here, layers upon layers. Check out the mini-hoodoo in front

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I had no idea where the road went but it looked interesting

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Climbers were heading to the cliffs to the right. I kept going to the left

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and came up on another group. They were all gone to wherever they were climbing. I headed variously up washes and trails

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Again, I could have kept walking forever but I had to turn around sometime. I looked up and took a shot of a cliff looming in front of me and thought I could see a group of climbers at the base

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I turned around and met up with a group that'd just driven in and were headed to an area called "The Selfish Wall". The lady had her dad with her, a guy who'd been climbing for over 50 years

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Back at my campsite, a little earlier this time (always a treat) and the other brand of beers I brought awaiting me, Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing

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9,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
It hadn't flooded recently so I could venture out on side roads

the whole time wishing I had my long-sold Tacoma. Me and my Element intrepidly headed off on various dirt roads, all of our fingers crossed

OTOH, heading south on Hwy 24 I came upon an unsigned paved road (!) which headed who knows where. I've passed that turnoff many times but this time I started heading east on it

And I didn't take any pics I can use here. Google Earth "Old State Route 24" and you can follow its path till it intersects I-70 to the east. You'd think driving on pavement would inspire confidence but all it meant to me was it was an unmaintained spur in the middle of nowhere. I'll go back next time and explore

Left click these pics if you can

South of the Temple Mountain area where I spent the first night you drive up to this

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I'd always driven past this but that day I stopped. Nobody else did, they were all storming past doing 100 on their way to Hanksville.

Looking west from here you can see leftover hoodoos standing forlornly in the desert. OK, just picture all the erosion that had to take place to expose these. Notice the capstones on each hoodoo. All this was a series of laid down material with the capstone laid down last. Then time took it's toll and this is what's left

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I was sort of in a hurry because there was all day rain in the forecast and I was keen to go out on a road I couldn't last trip, the road where I came up on a sign said "Flooded Area" and the first drainage crossing was washed out. Now was my best chance

I crossed the newly repaired drainage and slowly drove onward. One word came to mind "DESOLATE". I mean, lunar landscape desolate. Surface of Mars desolate. In fact, there is a training center near here to simulate surviving on the surface of Mars for budding space travelers. Good luck guys

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The rocks had this tortured look, like somebody had taken a monstrous sledge hammer to them then scorched them with a monstrous acetylene torch. Desolate, did I say that?

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The wind was howling, rocks were bouncing up under my felt like driving on some highway in the Sahara

And, yes, there were exposed seams of coal out there

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There is a ton of interesting stuff out there (google "Glass Mountain Utah") but not today for this boy and his Element

I headed out of there, through Capital Reef on my way to Escalante but that's another post. I did get to drive over the hogback near Calf Creek

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9,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The road to Escalante

First I went through Capital Reef--it's crazy that there's this state highway that cuts right through the park. If you're headed to Torrey or points west you just go right through a National Park

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Ultra-scenic as usual. Not as crowded this time

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Fast forward to Torrey, a scenic almost upscale Utah town in the middle of nowhere. Then south on 12 to the mountains and the snow. There was still a forecast of all day rain which would translate to snow up high but I pressed on

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The higher I got the deeper the snow got. I peaked out at 9600'. I'd been on roads down there with no winter maintenance, I'd get halfway to where I was going and there'd be a tall snowdrift across the road and that was it. Didn't happen this time

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And finally approaching the hogback. This is a very cool experience, going over this thing. You eventually go where the road thins to two lanes, no shoulders, straight down either side

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It was all I could do to just maintain focus on the road, not look at the scenery. Finally you start going down towards the Calf Creek Falls area

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You cross the Escalante River. Great multi-day hiking here

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And on and on. My neck was getting whiplash from checking out the scenery through all windows. And, yes, there is a Boulder/Boulder Creek you go through on your way to Escalante

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The plan was to get to Escalante, go south on the Hole in The Rock Road (which is in the Grand Staircase Natl' Park), camp there for a few days for some photography, but the lady at the park headquarters confirmed all day rain coming any minute and that the road turns impassable with 1/4" of rain...and I'm thinking that the mountains I just came over were going to get snowed on bigtime...change of plans.

I had time so I turned around, drove back up over the mountains with the storm bearing down on me and, incredibly, wound up at Sandthrax for the night. It was an interesting diversion but what a day of driving

Back in familiar territory. Sandthrax in the evening

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9,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
While driving on Hwy 211 down to the Needles section of Canyonlands and Indian Creek

a trip I've done a gazillion times, there was some unfinished business

First, just before you start the descent down into the Indian Creek area (where Newspaper Rock is), on the north side of the highway is a set of buildings. I can't remember if there was any activity there way back when I first started going to Needles but there sure isn't now

Left click the pics if you can

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I had the time so I stopped and checked it out close, something I hadn't done...ever

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So who was Vinnie? (actually, it could be "Marie's Place"). Was this some way station back when traffic was sparse and maybe somebody needed a room for the night? Just a homestead for some recluse to make his/her final stand?

edit: now that I Google "Marie's Place" it turns out Marie was a spiritualist back in the '30s and and this was her "Home of Truth". It pretty much went downhill a long time ago but some stragglers stayed on till the late '70s. Now I know

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It looked about as handmade as it could. The only activity there now is the "No trespassing" sign on the gate

OK, now I'm traveling the other way, from Indian Creek to the main north/south highway up to Moab. Up on the right, look, are those Indian ruins up in that alcove?

This trip I actually stopped to stumble cross country through the sand to check it out

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Well, no. It had the makings of a sheltering overhang in which to build some homes but, no, I didn't see any evidence of past buildings. For one thing, there is no close water source

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Pretty steep entry

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This guy was keeping watch over the place

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Forever views, as a real estate agent might say

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9,553 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Creek Pasture Campground

I stumbled upon this CG last year. There was no one there, it was $5 a night. Not scenic like Sandthrax is scenic but still in a really cool area

Left click these pics if you can

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There's another organized CG across the road called Superbowl. Last year I drove around both CGs and chose Creek Pasture as it's a little more sheltered. Both were completely packed this trip. Price now is $15/night.

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A map of the Indian Creek area, all along 211 which goes from the N-S highway between Monticello and Moab to the Needles section of Canyonlands (which is another thread)

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It's a different vibe in a CG like this. You know for a fact that everyone there is here for the climbing (except me, of course, I'm here to take pics of them!). They get up early, they're out all day in the weather climbing, no slackers, all business.

Same with Sandthrax, only there it's the slot canyoneering.

A view from my favorite campsite. Can't believe it was the ONLY site open when I drove in. I was there four nights

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The road that encircles the CG, surprisingly quiet. People are gone early and get back late to rest up for the next days climbing

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Sunset as I'm getting back late

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Sunrise as I'm getting ready for that day's photography

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