Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday, April, 30.

A very nice day, the morning was cool and clear and the day warmed up to the mid 70’s. The wind came up for a while around 2:00 and blew until around 6:00 but now it has calmed a little. There are some high thin clouds right now and the weather forecast is for deteriorating conditions with rain by Saturday. We’ll see.

When we were at the “Twin Rocks Café” I got to talking with the owner and he told me of some ruins that are not on the normal tourist agenda. He gave me directions and said that they were special and not too far from Blanding on Utah 95.
We decided that today we would check them out but we wanted to also take a ride into the Manti-La Sal National forest. After studying the map we found a set of roads that would likely allow us to do both. We stopped to ask for directions of a ranger at a state park on the northeast side of Blanding and she told us that some of the roads that we wanted to go on were closed in the mountains due to snow and showed us some alternatives. So armed with this information we headed out of town. We hadn’t gone more that a couple of miles when, coming around a turn in the road we got our first beautiful view.

All the rest of the day was just great.
After following this road for a while it came to a wide gravel “High Way”.
It wasn’t long before I was getting bored with this road and decided to check the Utah Atlas to see if there wasn’t some other roads that would go farther back into the mountains. After studying the map for a while we found what we were looking for.
Fortunately the roads in this area are all numbered and the numbers actually correspond with those on the map. We found the road we wanted and turned north into the mountains.
It was a beautiful ride.
I think I will just let the pictures speak for them selves with only an occasional comment from me.

In the higher elevations 7 to 8,000+ feet it felt and smelled like we were in the Sierras except that instead grey granite, glacier carved, round bottomed valleys we viewed red and yellow eroded sandstone cliffs.

The road must have been pretty sloppy during the thaw.

We saw several Elk crossing the road here but weren’t fast enough to get pictures.

There was still snow on the ground above 8,000 ft.

We had lunch at Duck Lake.

We stopped to check the map and I happened to look to the side and saw this deer sitting under a tree a few feet away. She seemed unconcerned and was still sitting there as we pulled away.

Here is another of Patty’s Lizard shots.

Eventually we got to highway 95 and found the ruins. They were at the head of a beautiful canyon near a spring.

The complex consisted of a couple of towers on the top of the cliffs, some dwellings on the cliff top and some more under the overhanging cliffs. Unfortunately once again, I was unable to walk enough to get into the valley but we got some pictures from the rim. You are probably sick of seeing pictures of ruins by now so here are just a couple.

If you are in this part of the country and want to check these ruins out for your self they are on the south side of Utah 95 between mile post 102 and 103 in Mule Canyon not far from the Mule Canyon Ruins that we saw yesterday and probably part of the same community. There is a driveway and a gate. The gate is unlocked. You will need high clearance and 4 wheel if you don’t want to walk very far. I drove the jeep to within 50 yards of the cliff but we had to do some slow rock crawling to get there. There is a trail into the canyon from the rim, so if you want to, you can get into the ruins. We were told by some guys that were walking out, that there are more ruins in the canyon than what you can see from the rim.
For you GPS people the Gate is at N37 39’ 05.0” W109 43’ 59.5”
Where I parked is at N37 31’ 34.7” W 109 43’ 57.7”
You can see some of the ruins from where I parked.

Tomorrow we are going to drive through “The Valley of The Gods” at the east end of “Monument Valley“.

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