Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Colorado 141 and Back to Utah 191.

I don't know how many people I've met who pitch an actual fit; I mean a real temper tantrum because the sky is cloudy, or there's rain. They are clueless as to how beautiful the landscapes in the Four Corners area can become with some wetness, or a play of light and shadow from sun and clouds interacting with each other. Nope, many visitors to this area are spoiled rotten, and can't appreciate the little things; only the things that money can buy. Well that's my venting for this post, so let me show you what I mean about the beauty different weather can bring out.

After leaving Gateway, Colorado it's not unusual to see the Dolores and San Miguel Rivers crossing over each other here and there.  The red rock walls on both sides of Route 141 hold secrets; caves, alcoves containing ruins perhaps, or are now the home to mountain lions or nesting birds.  At one point, a twisty, turning ascent begins; the San Miguel winding down below...the Hanging Flume is not far ahead.  The Flume is a remnant of the gold mining era of the 1880s; built to bring water from the San Miguel River which traveled through the Dolores River Canyon.

Cave in the wall?

Now here comes a perfect example of what might happen with rainy weather...waterfalls.  Even though we missed the actual rainfall as we had traveled through John Brown Canyon and into Gateway; we didn't miss the after show.  The rain water fell off the mesas, down the red rock walls as waterfalls; some making pools at the side of the road; some traveling across the road to fall downward to the Hanging Flume.

At the junction of CO 90, this is where we can continue onto Utah; but staying on Route 141 can take you all the way to Dove Creek (Route 491), or to the Route 145 junction which goes towards Telluride and, eventually, Cortez.  It was a long day, so Utah here we come!  CO 90 takes you through the Paradox Basin; this is a beautiful valley of farming and ranching.  After passing through the valley, a climb upward begins and at the top is a grand view of where you just came from.  Along the stretch of CO 90 which soon connects to UT 46, there are closed off mines; used to be able to see them from the roadway, but they've either become overgrown, or cleverly concealed from view.

Formation across from the overlook.
UT 46 mainly travels at the outskirts of the La Sal Mountains and the Manti-LaSal Forest; and, of course, through the towns of Old La Sal and La Sal.  Turning south onto Route 191, we headed on home to Monticello; I could not help but take a photo of Church Rock in the aftermath of a slight sprinkling of rain.
Ascending Peters Hill, we pulled over quickly to take photos of the rainbow which had just formed.

...and I promised Roy to post this photo of him sitting in his pride and joy, a Toyota FJ.  I even sent a copy to Toyota; they thought it was a beautiful shot.
So to those travelers that whine and cry about poor weather conditions; you have a choice: make the best of it and enjoy; or get over yourselves, cause everyone else  already has.
Mary Cokenour

Friday, October 23, 2015

We're Going to Gateway!

Gateway, Colorado that is. Instead of going to the River Road (128) and back to Moab, we made the right turn onto FR 207 to continue on through the La Sal Mountains. This decision turned out to be a very scenic one; the forest was beautiful and serene.

At various points along the road, the forest would open up to the most wonderful views of mesas and valleys.  We'd never gone this way before, so welcomed the new discoveries.
Adobe Mesa, Mary Jane Canyon
Andy Mesa, Fisher Valley

Andy Mesa, Fisher Valley

Even though we had our DeLorme map books, and National Geographic Manti-Lasal (#703) along with us, it was good to see map boards here and there along the road; helped us keep our bearings.

Once we crossed into Colorado, we saw signs indicating mine sites; now while the mines might be closed, be careful walking throughout the forest; never know when you'll step into an open air shaft, or perhaps the wood covering might be rotten enough to give way.  It's best to stay on designated trails.

At one point it opened up to a gorgeous vista of Dolores Point; pretty soon we were winding around and down into John Brown Canyon.  Besides 4 wheel drive vehicles, we passed, were passed, by many an ATV; everyone was having a great time, waving and being quite friendly.

On the way towards John Brown Canyon.

John Brown Canyon is amazing!  We drove through while it was cloudy and the scenery was eye popping; we could only imagine what it would look like in sunlight.  Let my photos do the talking...

John Brown Canyon

Catching sight of The Palisade, as we exited the canyon, we knew we were almost to Gateway.  Gateway is a resort town, but it was pretty dead when we were there.  The warmer tourist season was basically over; there is a general store nearby to provide gas, food, snacks, drinks, etc.  From John Brown Road (which went through the canyon), we made the right turn onto Route 141 which would take us towards Utah. 

The Palisade
Next post will be our travels back to Utah and what we saw, and experienced, along the way.

Mary Cokenour