Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Potash Road and Pictographs, Moab, Utah

Potash road is 279; you can see where it begins near the entrance to Arches National Park, but on the other side of the main road as you are going towards Moab. It is clearly marked Potash Road.

 

 

After our long hike, and our fabulous lunch, we took a short nap, then headed out to find ancient petroglyphs and pictographs. (Pictographs are painted on, petroglyphs are incised out.) Potash Road was near the entrance to Arches National park. It looked like an ordinary road, even a farm road. Once again, a road that started out looking and sounding inauspicious turned out to be a lot of fun.

First, the road follows the Colorado River flowing along swiftly, full of rafters and boaters. Then you come to the cliffs about 5 miles in which are used by the climbing and rappelling schools to teach rock climbing, and there must have been fifty separate people working their way up and down the cliffs. This is not for the weak in body; we saw one dazed and damaged young man being loaded into an emergency vehicle for transport back to the hospital. Just past the rock climbers is the first set of petroglyphs, which are really hard to spot, about 20 feet off the ground, but once you get the hang of it, you start spotting them everywhere.

The truth is, I can hardly ever spot them. AdventureMan has sharp eyes, he spots them and shows me where they are. This time, they are about 15 feet, 20 feet above the road. They were incised when the Colorado River, at our backs, was higher, before it eroded the valley more deeply.

 

Can you see any pictographs?

 

 

I can begin to see these; AdventureMan shows me where they are.

These are the cliffs where the rock climbing classes are held and the pictographs co-exist with the rock climbing.

Now, they are beginning to be more clear.

 

 

 

 

 

This is what the casual observer sees:

If you see closely, you can find some petroglyphs.

 

 

This is near the end of Potash Road, looking back into Canyonlands, toward the Dead Horse Point.

 

The Colorado River parallels Potash Road, which is in the foreground.

 

This is the climb up to the dinosaur track. I got this far, and the next part of the hike was straight up. It’s late in the day, my legs are shaky, I am not going to climb straight up and risk falling straight down.

 

This is the dinosaur print.  AdventureMan climbed all the way up!

 

 

 

 

 

Potash Road was a total thrill. It is easy to miss the sign for the Dinosaur Track if you are coming from Moab. We got all the way past the Potash Plant to the beginning of the unpaved, unimproved road before we turned around, and only on the way back did we spot the sign showing where the dinosaur track was. It was not a well marked trail, in fact, it was barely a trail at all, and I thought it was dangerous.

May 26, 2017 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Exercise, Road Trips, Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Denver to Moab: Snow and Ice, Sun and Heat

 

Sometimes an early start might not be the best choice. We loved the easy access to the highway, and the quick Google Earth designated by-way that helped us avoid all but four or five minutes of the Denver morning traffic, but as we headed into the mountains, I had a pit in my stomach seeing a long red stretch between Denver and Glenwood Springs, and not a lot of options.

 

The sights of snow, truckers putting on heavy chains, and then a big sign that tells us the tunnel is blocked due to an accident, none of these are good signs. Our rental car is low to the ground, and not heavy. We watch the temperature drop as we rise higher, and tell ourselves this is the beginning of a great adventure, and every adventure entails a little risk, it adds spice. Right?

We see cars that have slid off the road, and it is starting to snow heavily. The temperature falls below 30 degrees (F) and we watch for ice, and black ice. Fortunately, there are not a lot of people on the road. We are guessing they know better. Worse, many, like us, have California plates, a sign of a Denver rental car.

“No one on the slopes,” AdventureMan observes.

“The snow is too sticky,” I reply, instincts still strong from my Alaska days.

We think we have passed through the worst, when we come to Vail and take a break for a stroll and a cup of coffee. We were enchanted. If we didn’t already have reservations for tonight, we would get a room in one of these very German, very charming hotels.

 

Safe in Glenwood Springs, where we stayed two years ago on our way to Denver, where we took the plunge in the sulphery spring fed pool. We look for the Italian restaurant where we had a great meal, but it is closed. On the other hand, there is a great barbecue place, looking open, looking warm. Smoke is where we are meant to be 🙂

 

 

They have five different kinds of barbecue sauce. We order a starter of onion rings so we can taste test all the sauces.

 

AdventureMan is really cold; he needs tea to warm him up inside and out. He wraps his hands around his hot hot cup of tea.

Very quickly our meals arrived. AdventureMan ordered a barbecued pork sandwich with a side of baked beans. He said it was as good as anything we have eaten in the South, very tasty.

I had the pulled chicken with cole slaw, and there was so much chicken I couldn’t eat it all. I couldn’t even eat the bun at all. So much food, I hate to waste it but we have miles to go, and we are heading into hotter temperatures, so we leave all the left overs behind.

As we leave Smoke, a few snow flakes catch up with us . . .

 

 

Interstate 70 is a piece-of-cake now, snow and ice free, temperatures rising. Very shortly, we come to the turn-off to Moab, and then, the turn off to Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands. AdventureMan says it is one of the best $15 we have ever spent; suddenly we are in a new world, full of natural glory.

 

 

 

 

What is really fun is that the next afternoon, we were down, way far down, in this same canyon, searching out petroglyphs.

 

 

 

 

This reminds me of decades ago, in Tunisia, where villages would be built atop cliffs like this. The rock formations on top look a little like the ghorfas, storage caves, except there are no TV antennas.

 

 

The sun is getting low by the time we are ready to stop hiking around, even so, we keep stopping for one more glorious sight. But now, it is time to check into our hotel, another Fairfield, this one bills itself as “the closest hotel to Arches National Park”. Our room is spacious, and clean, the whole hotel is very very new. The beds are wonderful . . . except once again, they have this crackly plastic cover that makes for sleeping hot.

Moab is a lot of fun, full of energy. There are a lot of athletic looking people going hiking, going boating, going biking, going rafting, going rock climbing. They are all ages, and from all kinds of places. We drive up and down the main drag, looking at other hotels and motels, and really get a laugh at the one TripAdvisor kept telling me was right for us; it is a little dive with tiny rooms and limited parking lot and looks very very noisy.

We had heard the Twisted Sista was our kind of place, and when we got there, we believed it. After our hearty lunch at Smoke, we wanted light. We both ordered French Onion Soup and the Mediterranean (or was it Greek?) Salad, and the soup was fabulous (we did scrape off all the cheese, there was really a lot of cheese) and the salad even better. We had dessert; AdventureMan ordered some chocolate bombe, and I had a puckery lemon sorbet, just what I love! So tart, and just a little sweet.

The Mediterranean Salad

After dinner, we took a drive, figuring out where we wanted to go the next day, and caught the last gleam of light on the hills as the sun went down.

 

 

May 26, 2017 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Eating Out, GoogleEarth, Restaurant, Road Trips, Sunsets, Weather | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment