Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Coal Bed Canyon, the Upper Section.

Just because I was done with the roads around the Eastland area, does not mean I'm done with finding roads to get into the canyon areas.  Now past CR 312 (Horsehead), heading east on Route 491, were three more county roads to check out.  CR 366 is closed off from the start; CR 314 (North Lockerby) is only 1.5 miles before it reaches CR 339 (East Lockerby); CR 377 is only 1.4 miles in length before CR 339 is again reached. 

At this point I wondered if this was it, I'd reached the "end of the road", so to speak and headed on down CR 339 towards Eastland.  Ah ha!  Another San Juan County road sign, this was CR 341 (Coal Bed) and finding out if it truly went to Coal Bed Canyon pumped up the adrenaline once again.

CR 341(Coal Bed) is only 1.4 miles from the junction of CR 377 and CR 339; at first it looks as if the road goes directly to a pump jack, but simply drive on past.  At 9/10s of a mile is the CR 343 junction; looking at the map of where Coal Bed Canyon was located, guesswork told me go left onto CR 343.  At mile mark 5.4 is when CR 343 goes off towards the left and you can pick up CR 341 once again heading off straight.  One more mile down is the junction for CR 345 which leads to Cedar Point; a settlement established in 1918, it's basically a wilderness area which is watched over by the Dove Creek, Colorado Fire Department. Now to post a map to give you a better idea of what I've been describing directional wise; follow the yellow hi-lighted road.

The strange thing about the road through Coal Bed Canyon is that you're not entirely sure if you're in farmland, shrubland or canyon; it's an ever changing scenery.  Just as you're traveling up a narrow stretch of roadway with canyon off to your left; you get to the top and surprise!, open farmland is now surrounding you.

As you can see from the above photos, the road tends to go down and around, then up and around, then, well you get the picture.  At mile mark 11.8 is when my journey through Coal Bed took a turn, literally!  I came upon the junction for CR 372 - Monument Canyon; Oh! I'd heard about that canyon and had wanted to see it, and here was my chance.  This is why this post is labeled "Coal Bed Canyon, the Upper Section" as there is a lower section that looks to come out at Montezuma Canyon Road; that will be for another day. 

Coal Bed Canyon

Desert Mountain Lilac

Along the road I came to almost a screeching stop when I saw "feathers" being blown by the breeze; they were the flowers of the Desert Mountain Lilac.  The photo doesn't do it justice as it is so much prettier up close and personal.  I would so love to have this in my garden area!
...and that's that for now.  The Monument Canyon adventure will be next and if you thought the road through Coal Bed would be white knuckle driving, you ain't seen nothing yet!
Mary Cokenour

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