Monday, August 5, 2019

Why Go the Mountain Path?

In this age of  "technology rules, brains drool", so many visitors to San Juan County don't have a clue as to why they are even in the area.  There was a time, an ancient time, when one did research on planning out a vacation.  Library for information, travel agents supplying guides, AAA for mapping out a quest.

Now it's Siri or Alexa...which is discrimination against the male sex...whatever happened to Tom-Tom!?!  Anyway, the majority are so busy asking their cellphones, tablets, IPads to plan out their lives for them; well people have stagnant water for brains now.

One question that always annoys me about visitors is, "Is it worth it to me to go (insert destination)?"
Umm, do I know you?  Do I know your likes, dislikes, passions, bucket list, fears, must-dos?"  No, no I do not.  While I can tell you how much it is worth to me, we  are NOT the same person, so stop asking this rather ridiculous question.  Oh, did I offend you?  Good!  Put the cellphone down, stop asking it what to do, open your eyes and start enjoying the vacation!!!  Go everywhere you can, see all you can see, experience wherever you go as if you're a resident.  On old phrase that used to carry a lot of weight with travelers was, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."  In other words, live like you live there.

So, most folks I have met are dead set on going to National Parks and Monuments only; it's all they have heard about, only thing of importance within any state they visit.  Wow, why in the world do these people limit themselves so much?  Canyonlands National Park is located in San Juan County, the entrance to the southern end, Needles, is just north of Monticello on State Highway 211.  Many people go the quickest route, State Highway 191, but forego the one paved mountain road through the Abajos.  Many are thankful when told about this alternate, quite scenic route; while others are, "Why would I want to go that way, it's just mountains and a forest?"  This is another example of limiting one's self; there is so much to see along the way, but you won't know till you go.

I'm going to show you, via photographs, why it's worth it to me.  You will have to be brave, take the journey yourself, and then decide how much worth for yourself.


7 miles up the mountain road is Monticello Lake.

North Creek's rushing waters due to the spring thaw.

9 miles up, Panorama taken at an informational rest area.

 Shay Mountain in the distance; Storms are normal during July and August.

At 10 miles up the paved road, 2 choices; left is to Foy Lake which has camping, fishing, mountain biking trails and the road to Shay Ridge and Shay Mountain.

Right is Harts Draw Road which will lead directly to State Highway 211.

Indian Creek Valley; SH 211 will take you through this area.

La Sal Mountains and Dry Valley

If you don't mind a bit of detouring, a road can be taken from Monticello Lake which will lead to Spring Creek Road.  Lots of scenic views, but you'll end up coming out onto SH 191; or you can simply turn around, head back to Monticello Lake and then continue the journey along the paved mountain road.  Like I keep writing, don't limit yourselves!

Abajo Mountains seen from Spring Creek Road

Spring Creek is full during spring thaw.

Abajo Mountains and Latigo Wind Farm
There is an abundance of natural wonders to be seen: plants, trees, wildlife; I love photographing it all.  Ranchers often have cattle grazing up in the forest too.


Wild Turkeys
Mule Deer

Photoshopped to look like a walking billboard; No cattle were shaved.

Roosters are not allowed in Monticello City limits.  Someone dumped this little guy.  We
couldn't catch him and chances are he ended up a coyote's dinner.

Plant Life

Arrowleaf Balsamroot
Blooming Yucca

Colorado Aspen
Common Globemallow

Golden Pea

Due to the drought the past two years, this plant remained in hibernation.  Winter 2018 - Spring 2019 were very wet seasons, so Milk Vetch could be found in abundance.

Stinking Milk Vetch

Utah State Flower - Sego Lily

There you go, a little landscape and nature tour while traveling up into the Abajo Mountains and then down Harts Draw Road to State Highway 211.  Very worthwhile every moment to me, but for you, well only you  can make that decision.

Life is an adventure, or nothing.  Helen Keller

Mary Cokenour

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