Monday, September 15, 2014

Bored? Not in San Juan County, or You're Not Really Trying.

Sometimes I have to wonder why; why some people come to our neck of the woods, or desert? They don't want to hike; climb; visit ruins or rock art sites; no fishing or camping for them; ATVs, mountain or dirt bikes out of the question. Truthfully, I believe they threw a dart at the map of the United States and San Juan County, Utah is where it landed.

If you're a devout reader of this travel blog, and why shouldn't you be, I've already written many an enticing article on San Juan County's treasures.  Bored?  Lets go up the mountain road once again, down to Route 211 and have an enjoyable cruise of the area.  Oh yes, I took my dog Jenna with me, and she so loved running through the forest and over the slick rock!

We did a bit of backtracking in the Abajo Mountains on this trip; we got to Monticello Lake (7 miles up), took the side road to Spring Creek Road (CR 103) and that short road (CR 163) to get shots of the Indian Creek Valley in the distance.

Abajo Mountains under storm clouds.

Instead of going back to Monticello Lake, we went back to the CR 163/CR 103 junction and took the fork all the way to the right; this brought us to the 9 mile mark on the mountain road.  One more mile was the turn onto Harts Draw Road, or the short trek to Foy Lake.  There's no written law that you have to stay on the paved road up and over the mountains; well, only the fear of adventure in your own mind.

Foy Lake is the smallest of the three lakes, but it has amazing trails that lead off from it.  Shay Ridge, Aspen Flats, Red Ledges and Robertson Pasture are trails that can be accessed via the road to Foy Lake.  Each trail is just as perfect as the next for hiking, horseback riding, mountain bikes, motorcycling, and ATVs.   Make sure to have plenty of water, healthy snacks and operating cellphones (even though the service is spotty); pick up maps at the Monticello Welcome Center to get more incites to the trails. Camping is allowed up at Foy Lake, but get there early as sites are very limited.

Back to that curve that begins down the mountain road, aka Harts Draw Road, and there are various pull-in points to take further photos of the Indian Creek Valley. 

So, what's so special about the Indian Creek Valley?  Drive Route 211 and answer your own question; if you cannot be awed by its wonders and beauty, then nothing can impress you about nature.  Might as well take that dart you threw at the map and poke your own eyes out.

A classic stopping point is Newspaper Rock where centuries of Native American art was left for future generations to read.  Ignore the 20th-21st century initials and dates left by people who obviously have no respect for any area they visit.

No matter how many times I have driven the roads in this area, I always manage to find something new.  Well, it might have been there all along, but for me, it's a new site.  This set of pinnacles reminds me of the "Three Sisters" down in Monument Valley, or the "Three Gossips" at Arches National Park.

This little jaunt only took two hours to complete; back to Monticello and a well deserved lunch for Jenna and myself.  Poor girl, she didn't even eat; simply jumped up on the bed and went straight into a sound sleep.

Bored?  Really?  Out in San Juan County's wonderlands?  Sucks to be you!!!

Mary Cokenour

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