Southern Utah Excursion: Rockhounding
I'm not a Geologist, but living here inspires one to chase natural wonders in the deserts at ~5K feet and evergreen forests at 7K+ feet.
Translation: Excuses to ride and hike in scenic places I could never take for granted.
And so it goes. At least for a few days. I packed for 2 nights.
Destination: Escalante, UT to serve as base camp.
Some of you will recognize a few gems.
Breakfast of Champions
Followed by attention to the two things I'll miss before I'm 10 miles out.
... and my manic, crackhead dog.
OK. I'm out of here.
Leaving town passing Navajo Lake.
Yes, it's usually this quiet. Easy trout picking, too.
Same lake. Messing with camera settings.
A few miles down the road is another uncrowded fishing spot favored by locals.
And then there is this one off a State highway just enough to be missed by tourists.
Nice place to stretch the legs and burn one.
I was in his bird-bubble and he was giving me the stink eye.
So, I left.
Zipping through Red Canyon toward Bryce. Post Memorial Day traffic was next to nothing and tourists were few.
Normally by this point I'd have seen at least 3 German men wearing capri pants with fanny packs.
Not like there is anything wrong with that.
Finally: Dirt-like terrain. OK. More like groomed gravel, but I'll take it.
The loooong way around Bryce Canyon begins with several miles of this.
A stop a Tropic Reservoir, about 7 miles East of Bryce - a great camping and swimming spot.
Alas, more back roads normally used by ATV riders...
... and deer-a-plenty.
Gas at Tropic, UT, and an indoor Harley Fest. They were riding to eat or eating to ride.
Or something like that.
And there was this girl sweating it out in the back of a Land Rover.
She was wearing the same eye liner as my boy back home.
... through the metropolis of Henrieville...
...where it's easy to return videos.
And finally Escalante, the cultural Mecca of South-Central Utah.
Good deals on used swimsuits if you can get by the cat.
And if you miss the swim suit deal, that's okay. Calm yourself by walking Main Street where the City of Escalante
plants an array of wild plants and shrubs with special recognition given to -that's right- cats.
A roadside chalk board maintained by Mormon kids with a new message daily.
See the chopper welded to the top? File that to memory.
File this one, too.
In fact, if one is off the bike long enough, the metal work can be seen all over town.
Sometimes it's subtle, sometimes not.
So who is behind the artwork?
Introducing The Desert Doctor. The only 24/7 bike rescue/retrieval within ~100 miles.
I can only tell you this:
Doc's house. If seen in person, it probably means you have motorcycle problems.
While he is a nice guy, be careful what you touch.
Heed the signs and you'll feel as though you're entering a Holy place...
...with endless tales of motorcycling...
...from around the world.
Let's not get too deep. Time to unpack.
Welcome to Escalante Outfitters where home is a one-room cabin.
Everything you need, nothing you don't and seriously comfortable.
It's smart to bring a book.
End day one.
Up before the sun. Breakfast.
God bless the makers of Jet Boil because there is no coffee to be had near Main Street, Escalante at this early hour.
It was cold, but a good cold. The kind that wakes you up.
Riding the short "Hogback" section of route 12 is an eye opener as well.
Desert Doc once told me he got a call to "ferry" a rider's bike across this short section in his truck because the rider had issues
with heights and tight curves, and simply would not/could not cross it.
This should look familiar to some.
Burr Trail. More a road now than a trail. I remember the late 80's when it was all dirt.
Still a great ride, though.
Finally at Wolverine Loop Road.
At this point it's wise to either have a SPOT messenger or to have checked in with the local BLM office when riding solo.
Otherwise, it's a long walk back. Longer if you venture off the loop and run into trouble.
Destination: A patch of Earth near Wolverine Canyon.
My rock hound area - excellent terrain for finding unsual rocks, fossils, petrified wood, etc.
Being this remote feels pretty awesome. I didn't see a soul all day.
I didn't have the SPOT with me, but I did let the BLM know I'd be out there.
A hot, harsh environment not without beauty.
Changing elevations at key times throughout the day helps keep the energy up.
After a few hours of picking through rocks, I rode back up to ~8K feet...
... enjoying the shady spots...
A good place to test the waterproofness of relatively new Falco Volt boots.
Glad to report no leaks.
Returning to civilization, it's good to get off the bike and keep the blood pumping with short jaunts up the hills.
FIND THE VSTROM IN THIS PICTURE AND YOU WIN... a sense of satisfaction for having paid attention to details!
Roadside art is easier to spot when it's hit by the late afternoon sun.
Long day. Escalante Outfitters was already closed.
But the cabin was sure inviting.
End of day two.
Last edited by TwoShots; 06-19-2012 at 11:02 AM. Reason: Fixed a link.
wife and I stay in Escalante when we go canyoneering with Excursions of Escalante (a great outfit)
the dining options have been getting better each time
I need to travel down there and around rather than through...
The name of the man is . . .
. . .Terrence Tontlewicz . . .
...if you can believe what you find on the i'net!
L2V -- she's a stocker!...and gone...
2011 MG Stelvio
TwoShots, you have posted some extra nice photographs. The "extra" comes in the form of the text you added to each picture. Your words enhanced each image an "extra" nice amount!
A great story!
Thanks for sharing it!
2007 DL-650 (I gave away in 2012 with 111,000 + miles)
"A word grows to a thought; a thought to an idea; an idea to an act. All the pieces are put together, and the whole is yours."
1942, Beryl Markham: "West With the Night"
"In most men, there lurks a lesser man, and his presence smells in the the sun."
1961, Ernest K. Gann: "Fate Is The Hunter"
On food: Circle D Motel's eatery is getting rave reviews.
Haven't asked again since.
Base Camp's photos reminded me I had forgotten to close this out.
DAY 3 - The Ride Home & Pay Dirt
Leaving Escalante, I woke to old meets new Strombonding.
They were a young couple from FL I'd seen pull in the night before.
Kudos to them.
I admire any couple who can pack out two-up for that length of time and get off the bike still nuts about each other.
Breakfast, of course and I was about Clif Barred out. And the day-old Subway sandwich had passed it's life expectancy.
So I looked for a few locals who would appreciate the bread.
All Ya'all who have ridden SR 12 know this road never gets old. Riding it early
in the day provides a refreshing perspective, though.
On through Panguitch where the locals have time to develop admission-free roadside entertainment.
Yeah. The bleached out, white head on the ground kind of creeped me out, too.
And I spent far too long looking for the message in the mini-sasquatch crossing in front of the motorcycle.
And finally home.
Pay Dirt from this outing: Navajo sandstone, windswept and complete with ripples.
So what does one do with desert floor scatterings?
I give them to my wife who fills up antique dinner plates with the stuff and refers to them as "Fun stuff he finds in the desert!"
We've since started a Geology of The National Parks course to better know what we're looking at.