Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sugar Seed, Sugar Loaf and Towards the Canyon Rims.

One day we were driving back from Moab when I noticed a new San Juan County road sign, Sugar Seed (CR 141).  Now when that popped up, I did not know, but here was another adventure in the making.  Looking at my maps, this is listed as Sugar Loaf Road all the way through to North Flats Road (CR 137), but no so anymore.  CR 141 extends to a curve with a small road leading off to the left to a ranch; the beginning of the curve to the right is now CR 140 aka Sugar Loaf Road.  Oh I better get back to the beginning and hope my photos will help you understand.

 Using the Monticello Welcome Center as a starting point; head north (towards Moab) on Route 191 for 17.1 miles; the dirt road will be on the left.  There will be a wood/wire gate across it, but this can be opened; remember to close it again after you move your vehicle through.  There will be a second gate further on; these are meant to keep the ranch's cattle from getting off the open range and onto the highway.  By the way, if you look to your left after first turning onto CR 141, that formation is, depending on which map you use again, Sugar Loaf Mesa or Sugar Loaf Rock.

Sugar Loaf Mesa/Rock.

The scenery along this road is desert, sagebrush, mesa and open range; the cattle have right of way, so watch for them along the road.

I'm not sure how long before the curve to the right as we didn't know that we were now entering a new county road.  However, the total mileage to the North Flats Road (CR 137) junction is 3.9 miles.  Yeah, we were pretty surprised when we got to the junction and saw the sign "Sugar Loaf Road CR 140", when all the time we thought we were still on CR 141.  Confused?  Join the party!
 Landscape just before the CR 140/CR 137 junction.

Landscape across from the junction.
Decision time; do we make a left to go towards Route 211, or right towards CR 133 - Canyon Rims Recreation Area (leads to Needles Overlook. Wind Whistle Campgrounds, Anticline Overlook)?  Amazing what the flip of a coin can do; right towards CR 133 it was!

8/10ths of a mile along, to the left, is Hart Point; pretty scenery, and the thunderhead cloud we saw beyond the valley was pretty impressive too!

At 1.9 miles we came to a split; the left seemed to go towards the mesas and caves in the distance, so we chose this road.  We saw on our map that it would eventually connect with CR 137 again, so weren't too worried about getting lost.  Resetting the odometer to zero, we came upon Mail Station Road (CR 158); the thunderhead was not only closer, but darker, making the decision for us to keep going towards the CR 137 reconnect.  Sometimes it's best to go with the sure thing, than the unknown, especially with an approaching storm, and the possibility of flash flooding.

We reconnected at CR 137 at mile mark 3.6 with Rone Bailey Mesa and Jail Rock in the distance; CR 138 was directly across and is sort of a dead end trail.

Rone Bailey Mesa and Jail Rock

Mile mark 4.6 brought us to CR 1151 and the trail to Jail Rock; 1/10th of a mile in, take the dirt trail to the left to get to the lower end of Jail Rock.  This formation can be climbed without the use of ropes or special gear; the pothole at the top is a whole other story.  We've been here twice, and had water inside both times; I've seen it measured between 14 to 15 feet deep, but that's to the shelf above the water.  At the top, and inside the walls, you can see where ropes (woven or metal, not sure) dug into the sandstone.

The Pothole - approximately 14 to 15 feet to the shelf above the water.

Size Comparison - Roy at the mouth of the Pothole.

 Views from the top of Jail Rock.

Canyon Rims Recreation Area (CR 133) was only 9/10ths of a mile from Jail Rock; being time for lunch we ended to Wind Whistle Campgrounds to use one of the picnic tables there.  This campground is run by the BLM and is surrounded by beautiful sandstone hills.

Roy and I are a very curious pair, so, after heading towards Route 191, when we saw a dirt trail leading off to caves; why yes, we did!

Views from the caves.

As many of my stories go, the plant and wildlife of the area are featured as much as possible.

Hairy Goldenaster (Sunflower family)

Pronghorn Deer aka Antelope

Sagebrush Lizard

At another time, we returned to our ending point, where CR 137 and CR 133 meet, and traveled back towards CR 140 and beyond...to Photograph Gap and ending up on Route 211.  This story is for another day though.

Mary Cokenour

No comments:

Post a Comment