RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Truck Campers: April-Canyonlands NP Needles District near Moab (updated)

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 > April-Canyonlands NP Needles District near Moab (updated)

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btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 05/04/10 10:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

silversand wrote:

Thanks, Don, for the additional info on that map outlet, and clarification of its locale!

After the truck wash in Moab, this was the 2nd place we had frequented when we 1st discovered the town back in '03.

Cheers,
Silver-


Another most important discovery for us was the gas station that also has a septic dump, and water filling spigot. Sometimes people really mess up that dump station for everyone else, but it's nice they have it as a freebie for people - so we always buy our fuel there as a thank you. Nations Towing can also be umm....important [emoticon]

OK, pix coming up shortly of our Elephant Hill/Canyonlands NP day.

btggraphix

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Posted: 05/04/10 11:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A couple more pictures from Lockhart Basin that Don's lovely wife Janet took. I've mixed in some of their pictures for the next couple of posts but I not going to ID each...

Indian Creek crossing that first morning - a whole lot higher than it was the previous time I was here.....it dropped a lot by the day we left.

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These two are the same spot as the post from before (by the section corner post) - but I included them because it helps show what always strikes me out here in canyon country - every direction you look you see something else cool. There never seems to be any 'dead-spots' to the views.

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I think Janet must have walked all the way around us as we were talking and tooks pictures each direction (without at least me noticing...)

btggraphix

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Posted: 05/05/10 12:37am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ok - Here we go again - Friday (second full day) and into Canyonlands we go - to take on the Elephant Hill Trail. Don and Janet offered to let our two ladies to ride in their Jeep....which was greatly appreciated as it was a pretty long tough trail and gave them a chance to try out some serious 4 wheeling. I have to again say what an awesome Jeep they have - and what a great team they make driving these roads.

Ready to take off:

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Jeeps are cool - but I'd rather be riding... [emoticon]
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The trailhead for Elephant Hill, stopping to air down the jeep tires. An older S&S was parked in the lot on the left side and you can see a line of trucks going up including a full sized truck. We had to wait for them to make it up anyway.

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Coming back down the hill to lend our youngest rider a hand. I usually like to be the first rider up, so I get an excuse to ride back down to help out if someone has trouble [emoticon]

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Here comes the Jeep:
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Getting ready to head down the other side, but again having to wait for this other group to work their way down. I see storm clouds out SeldomSeenSmith's way [emoticon]

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Heading down:

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Notice how the NPS has improved the road a bit over the years - it used to be a lot worse (better? [emoticon] ) according to Don. They put in some asphalt here and there to fill in some nasty spots - but it is still pretty tough. At least one other driver told Don that he makes it look too easy. Did I say their Jeep is sweet?

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There is one pair of switchbacks on the way back down where you pull in and then back the next leg because there isn't enough space to turn around:

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After going up and over Elephant Hill itself, the trail ends up splitting into a one-way loop which is nice. Other than on that first hill, we never came across any other 4WD's while actually driving, the rest of the day (on a Friday.) Continuing along the trail.

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Quick break....

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Time to fold in the mirrors:

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Devil's Kitchen Campground. What a cool spot. Not many sites, but they can be used both by motorized campers as well as hikers.

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It was starting to rain a bit here and it was tempting to stop and hang out under some of the ledges for awhile..

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Lunch stop and end of the trail for motorized vehciles. The Joint Trail takes off from here in the background. For some reason a Whazoo Pun of some sort seems to be calling....but I'll avoid it and instead say that a "joint" is a crack in the bedrock that often allows weathering to occur faster then in the rest of the rock. I guess the Joint Trail is incredible....running through these tight little passageways along the joints.

Apologies to SeldomSeen, but the trivia here would be what is the difference between a "joint" and a "fault"? Basically a fault has actual relative motion between the rock on each side whereas a joint does not. In this area of C.N.P. there are a huge number of faults and joints that help cause the amazing erosion features. Go take a look on the satellite photos (e.g. Google maps) and look at this area - is amazing.

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Pretty amazing Cactus:

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I think this is S.O.B. Hill, another one of the bad spots that used to be a lot worse - taking a boatload of back and forths to get turned around.

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This is a picture of one of the many sandy/grassy valleys that run parallel to one another, seperated by bare rock ridges. Each one is called a "Graben" as it is bounded on each side by a fault. Some of these faults has as much as 4 or 500 feet of offset. So the bedrock in the middle of the valley has dropped down relative to the rock on each side. The ridge of rock on each side (which have another graben/valley on the other side) is called a "Horst". There is a whole sequence of these grabens & horsts one after another, all mostly parallel to one another (in this area anyway.) Very very cool...the area is called "The Grabens" on the C.N.P. maps.

This one is specifically called "Devil's lane"
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This next little sequence is from inside the jeep coming down the "Silver Stairs". I especially like the last one, it looks like the jeep is pointing straight down......(on edit, I did a little hacking and made these into a streaming GIF - pretty cool!

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Here's what it looked like from OUTSIDE:

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So at the northern end of the loop, you can do a short spur out towards the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. You hike a short distance (less than a mile) to get to the overlook. Very nice:

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Sheesh! The widest angle I had couldn't take in this whole horseshoe bend:

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This would be looking soutwest towards the Maze District.

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The self-timer actually worked! Ekker Butte off in the background, the whole gang in the foreground and the rivers below:
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This one looked to me like some kind of planet shown on a Star Trek movie. It looked like cities off in the distance or something:
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OK, back up and over Elephant Hill on the way out:

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The Jeep crew after an awesome day of wheelin' and sightseeing! Thanks Don and Janet!

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Back to camp in time to catch the sunset:

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And cook up a big pot of chicken stew in the Dutch Oven.

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Sorry for such a big pile of pictures...but wow, what a great day. Hope you enjoyed them if you made it all the way through!

* This post was last edited 05/07/10 04:52pm by btggraphix *   View edit history

kohldad

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Posted: 05/05/10 04:11am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We will only be sorry if you don't post more. [emoticon]

How does it work timing wise with the bikes and jeep? From my experience as a jeep driver, the bikes tend to be a lot faster than the 4 wheel vehicles. Or is it just that you have more time to enjoy the scenery while waiting on the jeep?


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bka0721

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Posted: 05/05/10 12:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Don't stop now! Please keep posting.

Seeing TC people enjoying the USA, is a wonderful thing.

AKDH

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Posted: 05/05/10 03:38am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Are your bikes considered street-legal? I've been wanting to take quads in Canyonlands, but was told OHVs aren't allowed in the park.

silversand

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Posted: 05/05/10 05:37am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Excellent photos Janet & (on edit) LaDawn! A meter-by-meter account of Elephant Hill and environs. What a way to start the TCing season!!!

This has to be Part II right ?[emoticon]?

Cheers,
Sand & Dunes

* This post was edited 05/06/10 08:35am by silversand *


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~DJ~

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Posted: 05/05/10 07:38am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OH Man Oh Man Oh Man!!!! [emoticon]

Great TR!!!

If I don't go somewhere soon I'm going to POP!!! [emoticon][emoticon]


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DonCurley

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Posted: 05/05/10 08:13am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

kohldad wrote:

How does it work timing wise with the bikes and jeep? From my experience as a jeep driver, the bikes tend to be a lot faster than the 4 wheel vehicles. Or is it just that you have more time to enjoy the scenery while waiting on the jeep?

When Brian invited us on this trip, that was the main thing that concerned me was that our Jeep would likely be holding up the dirt bikes due to the disparity of their faster speed. This was quite evident on the first day when we did a portion of the Lockhart Basin trail and down into Lockhart Canyon to the Colorado River (where there were a lot of relatively flat sections mixed in). I was driving a lot faster than I normally do off-road, but even then, we were getting our rear ends kicked most of the time. However, they would stop here and there and we would periodically catch up, so it wasn't too bad.

However, on day 2 doing the Elephant Hill trail, we were more in our element for rock crawling and in many ways the slower speed, low-geared, more driving wheels on the ground nature of the Jeep did quite well in relation to the bikes.

Beyond that, the real truth is, if you put the two most experienced dirt bike riders (Brian & Chris) up against my best "high-speed" driving effort in my Jeep, I wouldn't even see them for the rest of the day and they would likely cover two or more times the territory I could manage. (But, the very minor consolation here is that I could easily smoke them on the pavement ... not to mention that I have the beer with me). [emoticon]

* This post was edited 05/05/10 08:20am by DonCurley *


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btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Posted: 05/05/10 08:25am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

AKDH wrote:

Are your bikes considered street-legal? I've been wanting to take quads in Canyonlands, but was told OHVs aren't allowed in the park.


You are right on both counts. All of our dirt bikes, with the exception of the little XR100 that Teresa rides are licensed to be on roads. It's pretty easy to take a dirt bike and make it street legal in most of the western states. And OHV's are not allowed in the park - every vehcile must be licensed.

It was also pretty sweet that CNP was actually having a "comp" week of sorts - no entry fees.

kohldad wrote:

We will only be sorry if you don't post more. [emoticon]

How does it work timing wise with the bikes and jeep? From my experience as a jeep driver, the bikes tend to be a lot faster than the 4 wheel vehicles. Or is it just that you have more time to enjoy the scenery while waiting on the jeep?


[emoticon] A little of both I guess. Don was worried about that a bit but it just depends on what the goals are and what group is riding. When our whole gang is riding including the ladies, kids that will sometimes be along, or anyone riding on the little 100 we tend to go pretty similar speed overall as a well-equipped Jeep and good driver. We ride faster but stop more often. On the other hand, when it's just the big boys, we'll sometimes get out on a ride or two ourselves, and end up knocking off what would be a whole day Jeep and be back before lunch. Of course, I wouldn't have time to stop for photos either. Especially while in the national park you want to observe a little different practices and be riding slow & carefully to help not intrude on other peoples enjoyment as well. It's very cool having a national park where you CAN ride/jeep like this so it's important to be responsible with that priveledge.

silversand wrote:

Excellent photos janet! A meter-by-meter account of Elephant Hill and environs. What a way to start the TCing season!!!

This has to be Part II right ?[emoticon]?

Cheers,
Sand & Dunes


LaDawn actually took most of the inside of the Jeep photos - I like seeing the concentration on Don's face in the mirror in some of them. Janet got a few really nice ones from out the window of the jeep and outside becuase it was a bit more of a production to get LaDawn and Teresa out of the back. It was really neat having so many pictures from several different perspectives to be able to document a lot of a trail and people driving/riding it - since so often we just come around a corner, see some cool obstacle and you are past it before you know it - then there's no pictures. The Jeep slowed us down but that's nice in a lot of ways.

As to part I and Part II etc., I've never been sure I like the idea of breaking these TR's into multiple threads. I know others do it, and in some ways it's nice (like people that read the first part might not come back and read the next if there isn't a new thread?), but it also kind of sort of breaks the rules as far as multiple threads going on the same topic (and it also clutters up the TR index page you have going a bit.) But it's also habit for me.....I could be convinced to do it the other way if people would prefer it. But in any case, I know I am addicted to pictures of trips and have a tough time culling photos down to a small number!

The final day ride down up COttonwod Creek, to Cathedral Point and onto the edge of the Abajos will be tonight or tomorrow.
BT

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