Today we took a ride to Lathrop Canyon.
To get there we drove north out of Moab on Highway 191 about 10 miles
to Highway 313 (the highway to Canyonlands National Park). We followed 313 into the park.
You may recall that when Bob, Patti and I were in Ajo, AZ we had to pay to enter Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument because although we all had Golden Age passes we all had left them home.
When Patti and I were entering the Sunset Crater National Monument I had to pay a $10 entrance fee. I asked the ranger at the gate if I could buy a Golden Age pass and he said that he could sell me one so we did the transaction and I got my new Golden age pass for the $10 entrance fee.
We got to the Canyonlands gate, I showed the ranger my pass and ID and he said “Have a good Day”. No charge. Always have your Pass with you.
Now back to our trip.
Just past the gate we turned left on the Shafer Canyon Road. Shafer Canyon Road is a fun ride as it has a series of switchbacks on the canyon wall.
We passed a ranger coming up the road and he told us to be careful because they were doing some road work and had some heavy equipment going up and down the switchbacks.
We got to the canyons edge where we could see the road in the valley.
This photo is for the benefit Black jeep Dennis. :o)
As soon as I had taken the above picture Patti got away from the edge as fast as she could.
We continued to the switchbacks
and saw a large dump truck coming up the road.
We waited for it to go by and heard another coming so we just waited where we were until it also passed us.
When it was clear we headed down the switchbacks.
We got to the bottom of the switchbacks and stopped at the junction of the White Rim Road and Potash Road. It turned out that the work they were doing was on Potash Road. You can see a grader on Potash Road.
We didn’t know what they were doing on the Potash Road but we would find out later.
We continued out the White Rim road for about 16 miles until we got to the Lathrop Canyon Road.
The ride out the White Rim Road was very scenic.
Here are just a couple of the pictures that we took.
A view of the Colorado River.
A natural amphitheater.
We got to the turnoff to Lathrop Canyon and headed down some steep switchbacks into the canyon.
In the canyon we saw more interesting rock formations.
The road in the canyon was pretty smooth, mostly it ran in a wash.
Eventually we could tell that we were getting close to the river.
A short ways after we went through these trees we came to the end of the trail at the river.
There were some picnic tables and a vault toilet.
One table was in the shade so we decided to have lunch there.
As soon as Patti started making our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the flies attacked.
They were so numerous and so pesky that we ate our sandwiches quickly and left. We decided to have the rest of our lunch away from the river.
Here are a couple of views of the canyon on the way back up it.
When we got to the White Rim Road we turned left and drove around the top end of Lathrop Canyon. We pulled off the road and walked to the edge of the canyon where we finished our lunch and enjoyed the view.
Across from where we sat we could see the switchbacks going into Lathrop canyon.
After we finished our lunch we went back to the jeep and headed east on the White Rim road.
Along the way we came across several groups of mountain bikers
and their support vehicles.
We got back to the junction of the Potash Road and White Rim road.
I didn’t want to do a lot of highway driving so we decided to take the Potash Road back to Moab.
A short distance down the Potash Road we came to a flagger.
Your tax money at work.
A little further down the road we found out what the road work was about. They were replacing a culvert.
We got past the construction site and continued down the road.
We stopped at a view point and took some more pictures of the Colorado River.
We continued along the Potash Road.
Eventually we came to the Potash settling ponds.
Okay here is the deal on Potash. I didn’t know this until I looked it up on this web sight.
The explanation below is copied from the above web site.
The solution mining process:
The first phase of solution mining is to access the potash reserve. This may be completed with a combination of machines and labor. Often, access is provided through an old conventional potash mine, with a mine pit held up by pillars of potash. Solution mining can extract the remaining potash in the pillars and mine walls. In other cases, drill holes are drilled to access the potash containing rock. The next step is to inject a saltwater into the potash bearing rock feeder, whether it’s a drill hole or a cavern. Salt saturated brine is used so only the potash is dissolved and extracted from the existing pillars and surrounding walls. The existing salt is left largely undisturbed in the underground mining works, which will reduce potential surface disturbance and prevent the creation of sink holes. Once the brine is enriched with potash, the brine is pumped out of the cavern. The potash saturated salt solution may be pumped to lined solar evaporation ponds. The water evaporates, leaving behind salt and potash. This “left-over” salt and potash is then removed from the pond and transported to a processing facility where the potash is separated from the salt and refined for sale.
Eventually we came to the paved road that follows the north bank of the Colorado River and ends at highway 191 just north of Moab.