Today’s plan was to spend a little time in the lower elevations, which was bittersweet. It was so nice being up in the mountains, but a little cold and I was stoked to drive the Moki Dugway and see the VoG.
Moki dugway is hard to show in pictures and hard to describe how legit a road it is.
This might give you some sense. We’re on the road at the top and at the bottom is the continuation of the road and its only 4 miles of road between them.
This may provide some context. I’ve certainly driven steep roads, and more exposed roads, but never while being passed by an RV going the other way. I find out later that we’re lucky its in as good a shape as its in because a week prior it had just been re-graded after being made impassible for weeks by rainstorms. What a crazy place that a major road can be out for weeks because of want of grader.
Right at the bottom there is an odd little bed and breakfast that has a cool roadhouse vibe to it. Its fully isolated and independant. $145 a night is rich for my blood but it would be fun to try.
As for Valley of the Gods road. I have to make a confession - we probably didn’t savour it like we should have. 2 reasons.
1. we were hungry and looking for a place to eat
2. the road was sooooooo fun to drive, it encouraged bad behaviour i hate to admit.
Pictures of the road are spare as a result. It’s not that it wasn’t beautiful but as I said elsewhere you kind of get used to spires and buttes as a local and so the grandeur of the place may have been lost on us a little.
Don’t misunderstand, however, it was lovely and a wonderful place to be
We found our lunch spot and had at it. It really was a nice place once you turned off the hoon brain. Just ask the locals
The thing I think that made it less special was perhaps it was a little too tame. Lots of 2wd traffic and tents. great for people who want a little taste of the backcountry, but a little off for the folk who prefer a little escape from all that.
After that it was a quick pop past and into mexican hat respectively.
Those 35's on nates truck make the rest of us on what I would consider large 33's look puny. The flip side is I can do better than 35 up the hills. Hi nate!
We take a quick pop into the san Jaun river to see what that’s all about. I was planning on bringing inflatable kayaks to float a little of the river before I discovered its permit only. I can see why.
It’s a considerable river and it floats down through the monument and past a lot of native rock art. Its now on my list of things to do. Gassed up and with new treats and Ice for the cooler squad (everyone but me) we head back up the dugway
As soon as we reach the top we turn off on a trail out to muley point. Its another fantastically [likely recently] graded road out to a phenomenal lookout into arizona and monument valley.
You’ll want to zoom in on this one.
Another amazing place within easy reach. We could have easily camped here too as there were many spots available but we wanted to be out of the wind. We were also now officially out of plans for this trip. Well save 1 - the mormon trail.
I’ll save you the details of the history of the trail, but PLEASE check out the impossible journey. It’s straight kookidooks. My forebears came into the valley as the 2nd wave of pioneers to do so, and they were asked to settle a very cold and inhospitable northernmospart of the state that now bears my namesake but these folks make that trek look like a walk in the park.
I’ve driven part of this trek and other parts like the hole in the rock trail are on my list so this one was one I wanted to do. If only I had the iron will of my great grandmother who drove wagon trains across the plains without complaint. There was only 2 problems.
1. I was so tired I couldn’t drive safely. To remedy that we pulled off the trail and no soon that I turned the key had I fallen asleep, still buckled in. I slept there for about 20 minutes, and another 20 minutes in the back. I’m not sure why I was so tired, but I hadn’t been sleeping well before or during the trip and I guess it was catching up. Nap achieved and coke in hand we could have pressed on but
yeah, its my achilles heel. The winds had picked up, the clouds were moving in fast and becoming dark and the rain looked to be a certainty. To compound the troubles in my mind, the road was that Utah clay that turns to sticky soup when wet. It clogs up your wheel wells so you can’t even turn.
I made the unpopular decision that this wasn’t a place to be right now. We retreated back to the highway to look for a better spot. We pulled off one of the MANY side trails that lead off into the wilderness and found a nice little spot and crashed.
We were tired and while the storm constantly threatened it never came, outside of strong wind. There are benefits to sleeping in the car, as the wind hardly bothers me at all. I slept soundly.