RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Plan B - Part IV The Rest of the Story

RV Blog

  |  

RV Sales

  |  

Campgrounds

  |  

RV Parks

  |  

RV Club

  |  

RV Buyers Guide

  |  

Roadside Assistance

  |  

Extended Service Plan

  |  

RV Travel Assistance

  |  

RV Credit Card

  |  

RV Loans

Open Roads Forum Already a member? Login here.   If not, Register Today!  |  Help

Newest  |  Active  |  Popular  |  RVing FAQ Forum Rules  |  Forum Posting Help and Support  |  Contact  

Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Truck Campers

Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Plan B - Part IV The Rest of the Story

This Topic Is Closed  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 3  
Next
Sponsored By:
seldomseensmith

Flagstaff, AZ

Senior Member

Joined: 09/18/2006

View Profile



Posted: 05/16/10 10:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All good things must come to an end, at least until the next good thing comes along. Like many of my trips to Utah, I feel like I'm just scratching the surface and the trip's over. After visiting Muley Point, Natural Bridges, Horseshoe Canyon, and the southern end of the San Rafael Swell, I'm left with only a couple of days.

The weather played a big role in where I chose to go, as wind, snow/rain, and cold temperatures accompanied me for most of the outing. I just finished a long snowy winter in Flagstaff, and foremost in my thoughts was finding a warm sunny place to chase the lingering chill from my bones - guess I should have gone to Mexico.

Leaving the Swell I had gotten a forecast from the radio that mentioned more wind and a chance of rain, but the station was located in Salt Lake City. I knew from experience that weather in the deserts is typically drier and warmer (but often no less windy) so I decided to push my luck and try a road I hadn't driven before, although I was familiar with the neighborhood.

Down Highway 24 west of Hanksville is an area I visit just about every time I'm up this way - Caineville Wash Road. I usually come in from the south where the trail leaves the main highway just past North Caineville Mesa. There are some beautiful landscapes along the way, and the road makes a giant loop through Cathedral Valley, which is part of Capitol Reef National Park.

My map showed a route east of the usual turnoff that circled around Factory Butte and eventually connected with Caineville Wash Road, and late in the day I figured now would be a good time to check it out. Silly me.

Factory Butte is a designated OHV area, with lots of open area for riding. The terrain looks like a moonscape, as the shales and bentonite clays that make up the soil are hostile to plant life. Therefore it was with no small amount of surprise that I witnessed an almost surreal picture of vivid yellow framing a monochromatic landscape.

[image]

[image]

In a usually bleak (but to my eye nonetheless beautiful) setting, millions of tiny yellow and purple flowers carpeted the ground. The pictures here don't do justice to their ephemeral glory, and I'm sorry I wasn't able to capture more (I'm getting ahead of myself here).

[image]

I had been messing around longer than usual, and the day was quickly drawing to a close. I wasn't sure how long it would take to connect with the Caineville Wash trail, but I figured on finding a place to camp before full dark.

[image]

I knew going in that the road bed (and everything around it) was one of those places where you don't ever want to be if it rains. But I also knew that the geology improved to the west as the formations in that direction were primarily sandstone, and in theory the road would lead me there eventually.

[image]

As I drove on I began to question the wisdom of continuing, since the road began to drop deeper and deeper into a no man's land of clay which stretched on for what seemed like forever - but I've come this far, so....

[image]

[image]

I found a place to camp off the main road as darkness descended and the last rays of the setting sun painted the sky. Even in the fading light I could see beautiful country around me - the Caineville Reef, which is a spur running parallel to the very southern tip of the San Rafael. I was looking forward to the next morning and continuing to explore the immediate area.

[image]

So here's where the tale takes a turn. I hit the sack, falling into blissful slumber only to be awakened at 3:00 a.m. by the sound of steady rain drumming on the camper roof.

Bolt upright, immediately in full "oh s**t" mode, I spring into action. I can honestly say the next few moments are a blur, but I believe I set a personal speed record for the fastest time ever to secure the camper and drop the roof. I knew if I didn't get out of there in the next 15 minutes, I wouldn't be leaving anytime soon.

Hubs locked and in four wheel drive, I decide to head further down the road for two reasons - first, I think I am more than halfway to where the roads converge, and not far beyond that point I can find better ground to wait out the storm. Second, to get where I am required descending a couple of short but very steep hills with lots of exposure, and I know that if the road gets too slick sliding off into oblivion is a very real possibility.

I can't see a thing beyond the beam of my headlights but I am determined not to get stuck, so without letting up on the accelerator I go. The clay is sticking to the wheels, and I hear chunks thumping into the wheel wells and watch it being flung into space in front of me. The road is already greasy and the rain is steady, and I curse my stupidity for ignoring what I knew all too well - don't mess with Mother Nature.

After a couple of miles of white knuckle driving, the road makes an turn to the north - not what I was expecting. In addition, it's becoming narrower and rougher, and although it has started to climb out of the wash bed the clay shows no sign of disappearing. All of a sudden the road ends without warning, leading to complete confusion. I get out and look for any sign that it continues, and finding none realize I've either missed a turnoff or I've misread my map. Either way, there's only one way out now.... back the way I came.

I don't know how many RV.net members believe in a higher power, but you can believe I was praying as I slewed my way back down that muddy, greasy road. I prayed for the rain to stop falling, I prayed I would stay on the road, I prayed when I got to the steep hills with the sudden dropoffs. I'm not sure how, but some way I made it out.

I reached Highway 24 just as the faint light of day began to lighten the gray skies in the east. And of course not long after that, it stopped raining.... for a little while. I crawled into the back of the camper and tried to catch some sleep, although my nerves were still jumping.

Did I learn any lessons? Maybe. Will I get caught "napping" in the backcountry because I chose to ignore the forecast, or failed to know the route I had chosen? Probably. Life's an adventure (or it should be) and taking chances is o.k., as long as you're prepared to accept the consequences. I got lucky this time. But I am going back there because I want to know if my map is wrong, or if I am.

I'm still cleaning that crud off my truck....

****************************************************************

The next day I am looking for a little less excitement. Just down the road is a pretty place called Capitol Reef National Park, with paved roads and a campground and everything - perfect.

[image]

I'm sure a lot of folks have been there - it's easy enough to get to, and some great country can be viewed from the highway or the scenic drive. It is ideal for me, because even if it does rain more (still in the forecast, which I'm paying attention to now) I won't have to flee in the middle of the night.

[image]

The setting is very pastoral. The Visitor Center is located at the former farming enclave of Fruita, where Mormon pioneer families settled to live near the banks of the Fremont River. Here they planted orchards and crops under towering walls of sandstone, and the Park Service continues to tend the trees as part of the living history of the area.

I pick a spot in the campground under the spreading canopy of mature trees and decide to work off some nervous energy by going for a hike. Conveniently and coincidentally the trailhead for Cohab Canyon begins just outside the campground turnoff.

Cohab Canyon is a "hidden" canyon running parallel to and above Highway 24. The name is a playful stab at the early polygamist history of the LDS church. Reaching it requires a fairly steep but relatively short climb, after which the trail follows the canyon bed.

[image]

[image]

There are a few short, narrow side canyons that invite visitors to explore further.

[image]

At the end of this one I found a beautiful alcove surrounding a cottonwood sapling. If the tree survives, this will be a cool shady refuge from the summer sun.

[image]

Many interesting natural features fill the canyon - the eye is drawn in many different directions at once.

[image]

[image]

The hills have eyes - the canyon walls are pocked with erosion holes of many different sizes and shapes. I almost feel as though I am being watched.

[image]

[image]

About halfway down the canyon there is an intersection of trails. The northern leg climbs out of the canyon and heads for a narrow plateau where some nice views are found. The first is up canyon looking west towards Fruita.

[image]

This one looks east over the highway and Fremont River.

[image]

I head back down and across the canyon bottom and take the southern leg which is the Frying Pan Trail. This leads 4 miles or so to Cassidy Arch and the Grand Wash trail. I'm only going in a couple of miles.

[image]

Do not adjust the horizontal controls on your monitor - the geography here shows the pronounced east to west uplift of the reef.

[image]

[image]

[image]

Black basalt boulders look decidedly out of place amongst the sedimentary rocks of the area - evidence of a volcanic past.

[image]

After a nice walk I head back down to explore the area around the campground. With the arrival of spring, green trees and pastures contrast quite nicely with red and buff sandstone.

[image]

The Fremont River flows out of a rugged canyon past the campground and into the canyon where Highway 24 is situated.

[image]

Two of the largest cottonwood trees I have ever seen grace the picnic area.

[image]

[image]

Many apple trees are in blossom - late in summer the Park Service allows people to pick fruit for a small fee.

[image]

The old schoolhouse, built in the 1920's. I wonder how many children wished for a giant rock to fall from above and set them free from the tiresome chore of readin', writin', and 'rithmatic?

[image]

[image]

[image]

[image]

The blacksmith shop houses a very cool old tractor - the Power Horse. This unique machine was built so the farmer could hitch reins to the controls enabling the use of earlier implements designed for horses.

[image]

[image]

All in all, Capitol Reef has to be one of my favorite National Parks. It's a veritable garden spot (o.k. orchard spot) set amongst some truly amazing scenery.

This trip is over.... and again I feel like I just got started. But it's time to head for the barn and start thinking about my next journey. Now that summer is just around the corner it won't be long before I get back.

[image]

Happy Trails!


The Road Goes Ever On



2008 F250 SD 4x4 Supercab, Detroit TrueTrac, Hellwig LP 35, 2006 Outfitter Caribou 6.5


weymard

NORMANDY

Senior Member

Joined: 11/07/2008

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 05/17/10 03:37am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very very beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
I will stick the link on the french forum, they will be happy whith your beautiful landscapes


FORD F250 LARIAT 4X4 DIESEL 2008
Lance 815 2007
France, Normandy

shoe777

AR

Senior Member

Joined: 04/10/2004

View Profile



Posted: 05/17/10 06:35am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for sharing! Love to follow along on your journeys! Great pics


DH, Myself
and 5 Fur Balls

silversand

Montreal

Senior Member

Joined: 09/12/2004

View Profile



Posted: 05/17/10 05:54am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Seldom:

Nice "light work" when making those photos!! Stunning!

Cheers,
Sand & Dunes


Silver
2004 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4x4 6.0L Ext/LB Tow Package 4L80E Michelin AT2s| Outfitter Caribou

Klueck

Florida

Senior Member

Joined: 11/15/2008

View Profile


Offline
Posted: 05/17/10 05:59am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very nice photos and you did a great job posting them!

kohldad

Goose Creek, SC

Senior Member

Joined: 07/20/2004

View Profile



Good Sam RV Club Member

Offline
Posted: 05/17/10 06:39am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great photos and truely an exceptional narrow escape story.

While I haven't exeperienced the clay roads in that area, I have experienced the silt/clay roads in SE Wyoming. They do indeed go from dust to "ice" with just a trace of rain in mere seconds. But, they also usually dry out within hours of sunrise, assuming it stops raining. So I have to ask so I may learn, is it the same in that area? Also, if they do, were you in an area you were worried about flash floods and hence part of the reason you took the chance on driving the slick roads at night?

I can only begin to imagine trying to come back up this hill with it wet and night:
[image]


2015 Ram 3500 4x4 Crew Cab SRW 6.4 Hemi LB 3.73 (12.4 hand calc avg mpg after 92,000 miles with camper)
2004 Lance 815 (prev: 2004 FW 35'; 1994 TT 30'; Tents)


seldomseensmith

Flagstaff, AZ

Senior Member

Joined: 09/18/2006

View Profile



Posted: 05/17/10 09:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

kohldad wrote:



While I haven't exeperienced the clay roads in that area, I have experienced the silt/clay roads in SE Wyoming. They do indeed go from dust to "ice" with just a trace of rain in mere seconds. But, they also usually dry out within hours of sunrise, assuming it stops raining. So I have to ask so I may learn, is it the same in that area? Also, if they do, were you in an area you were worried about flash floods and hence part of the reason you took the chance on driving the slick roads at night?


The roads do dry out assuming the rain stops. For me the issue was not knowing if the rain would stop, and it's really hard to get a good long range forecast in the backcountry. I have been stuck for 3 days in a similar situation, and I would not care to repeat the experience (especially since I was due home in two days).

Had this occurred at the beginning of the trip I might not have been so concerned about getting out.

btggraphix

Golden, CO

Senior Member

Joined: 03/08/2005

View Profile



Posted: 05/18/10 05:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

seldomseensmith wrote:



I'm still cleaning that crud off my truck....

****************************************************************


I'm boycotting the rest of this TR until we see pictures of the muddy truck and TC! [emoticon] I actually got to this point in the story and seeing no muddy TC photo, I had to scan all the way down just to check. [emoticon]

Oh well, my heart wasn't in the boycott - I went ahead through the rest. Nice finish to this adventure - thank you for putting it together SSS.

iwon415

Northern California

Senior Member

Joined: 01/27/2007

View Profile






Posted: 05/18/10 05:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fruita is one of our favorites also. Love the orchards and we always stop in at the homestead for some fresh preserves! Glad you made it out safe.

TimH





seldomseensmith

Flagstaff, AZ

Senior Member

Joined: 09/18/2006

View Profile



Posted: 05/18/10 07:01pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

btggraphix wrote:

seldomseensmith wrote:



I'm still cleaning that crud off my truck....

****************************************************************


I'm boycotting the rest of this TR until we see pictures of the muddy truck and TC! [emoticon] I actually got to this point in the story and seeing no muddy TC photo, I had to scan all the way down just to check. [emoticon]


Brian,

Why anyone would want a picture of a dirty truck is beyond me, but here ya go - I took this on the way home (it might have been worse the morning after but I was in no mood to take pictures following the escape). The worst part you don't see - the tons of gray-green mud caked in the wheel wells and undercarriage. I spent an hour with a pressure washer getting what I could see, and another 2 hours this last weekend just washing the exterior. Fun stuff.


[image]

This Topic Is Closed  |  Print Topic  |  Post New Topic  | 
Page of 3  
Next

Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Plan B - Part IV The Rest of the Story
Search:   Advanced Search

Search only in Truck Campers


New posts No new posts
Closed, new posts Closed, no new posts
Moved, new posts Moved, no new posts

Adjust text size:




© 2020 CWI, Inc. © 2020 Good Sam Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved.