Friday, July 3, 2015

Recapture Pocket, a Hoodoo Playground East of Bluff, Utah.

Since we'd already found those hoodoos west of Bluff, finding the ones east was a must do!  We found them!!!  Recapture Pocket is very like a smaller version of Goblin Valley State Park, but free. 

Funny story time...I was at the dentist office and telling the hygienist about the hoodoos, so she asked, "Have you ever been to Recapture Pocket?"  I told her I didn't think so, but I'd look it up; online, I found photos of this place and it was where we'd just been!  Yeah, we used that "Around Bluff" pamphlet for directions again, and it didn't even list the name of the area.  That would have been so much easier to look up on a map then.  What my friend, Amy, simply says is, "It's a friend telling a friend telling a friend, who decided to write it down, but couldn't remember all the details or they got changed in the tellings.  Sort of like the child's game of "Telephone", or do kids play that anymore, since they're getting spoiled by receiving their own phones the moment they can talk???

Anyway, here's my telling of our hoodoo hunting east of Bluff.  We're going to start on Route 162, Twin Rocks CafĂ© (great place to eat afterwards) can be seen across west, and Cow Canyon Trading Post is on this corner.  Start at the trading post to be able to get to the 4.9 mile mark, not at the sign that says "Mile 0".

The road you will be making a left on has two names when you look at some maps (CR 2401 and CR 217), and you'll know you're there when you see a yellow "cow sign" with a "cattle crossing" sign underneath it; make the immediate left.  If you pass the second cow and crossing signs, you need to turn around, and then make a right onto CR 2401/CR 217.

So now I'm going to be really nice to all of you, and post a map that I doctored up; it wasn't until we left Recapture Pocket that we stumbled upon an alternate route from Route 191.  The blue line on the map is the first way we went in, following the instructions from the pamphlet; green line is the alternate route in/out; the short red line is also from following the pamphlet instructions and I'll explain that later on.

Here comes a warning, the pamphlet (yeah, I'm not liking it too much) states, "Most of these roads are not marked (this is true), but are passable with a normal automobile."  What it forgets to tell visitors is, that to locals, a normal automobile equals a vehicle with 4 Wheel Drive, High Clearance, maybe a Skid Plate, possibly Independent Suspension; you will definitely need 4WD and high clearance on your vehicle.  By the way, you are going out into desert terrain...bring lots of water and healthy snacks, make sure you have a full tank of gas!!!

Follow the blue line on the map, after the initial left turn, there will be a split at 9/10ths of a mile, take the left hand split and go 4/10ths of a mile.  Make the right onto CR 249 (Bluff Bench) and at the split at 7/10ths of a mile, go left again.  It won't be long before you begin seeing a hoodoo or more here and there, but it's at 1.3 miles that you reach hoodoo central...Recapture Pocket.

Roads are sandy, sometimes steep.

Roads are often rocky, sometimes chopped up.

Hoodoos watching on top a hill.

Recapture Pocket - we had so much fun walking among the hoodoos, sometimes climbing through openings to see what was on the other side.  The area is very sandy, so it feels like being on a beach; all we were missing were beach chairs, oversized umbrellas and a water filled baby pool to stick our feet in.

End of the canyon
Alright now, back to that handy dandy pamphlet which states, "When the road ends, park your car and walk."  which is exactly what we did next.   Getting back into the SUV, we continued down the road to the 2.2 mile mark at which it ended at a turn around circle and a metal post lodged in the ground.  So what do we do now?  Walk where? How far?  Which direction?  We eventually saw that the only way to walk was over this hardened ground that was carved out by rivulets of long past water.  We didn't get too far before we came to a deep dry wash; Roy walked up the hill next to us, but didn't see anything that drew his attention.  We concluded that where we had been was it for the hoodoos, well, except for the few we passed on the way to this dead end.  So that short red line on my map, that is this version of the road.

The actual end of the road is at the 2.2 mile mark.

Now here comes the alternative way in and/or out; we ended up going out this way when we zigged instead of zagged. (follow the green line on the map).  We ended back on CR 217, but heading west, a short distance onto Route 163, before taking CR 216 straight out to Route 191, north of Bluff.  Since we initially believed we were going back the way we came in, taking mileage readings didn't come into play.  It basically takes about the same time though whichever way you take, unless you keep stopping to take photos, like we do.

 ...and of course posting photos of local plant and wild life is a given.  Here is the Birdcage, aka Dune, Primrose which is part of the Evening Primrose family.  It's a delicate looking flower, yet grows throughout the desert regions.

Another site checked off on the "Around Bluff" pamphlet, only four more to go!

Mary Cokenour

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